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Recently my uncle passed away. Prior to his passing I had the honor of being able to talk to him about our family, his life and what he wanted his legacy to be. Dictionary.com defines legacy as: Anything handed down from the past. With the exciting crossroads that F.I.A.T.M. is facing now, it's beneficial and imperative to look back in order to go forward. I like to share that what brought you here, won't take you there. However, the past has wisdom, experience, character challenging and building elements that are necessary for building courage, determination and grit. As I sat with my uncle during his final stages on this dimension I was inspired by some of his answers and began to see a parallel between his mindset and the leadership of F.I.A.T.M.. My first question to my uncle was, "Do you have any regrets"? His response was no. He shared that the opportunities he missed caused him to speak encouraging words to his family. Having grown up as the youngest of six children and a pretty wide gap between the eldest (my dad) and him spoiled him. You see, everyone catered to him. Looking back he shared he regretted his birth order which obviously he had no say in. If you were to ask F.I.A.T.M. as an entity if there are any regrets? You'd be met with a resounding yes! The only regret would be to not have let more people know in a more effective way about what we are doing and why. Now, let's embrace what iconic author and activist, Maya Angelou would say in this instance: "When you know better, you do better". This is precisely what we are doing right now.
I asked my uncle his feelings on the importance of role models and mentoring in our society. He trailed off for a moment causing me to think he was no longer lucid or that the meds had kicked in. Fortunately, that was not the case. Even though his breathing became labored I saw a sharpness of determination in his eyes. He looked at me with a steel stare that I wasn't accustomed to seeing from him. I waited for what felt like minutes for him to formulate what seemed of great importance to him. He began very slowly and deliberately to share with me about his first mentor, my dad. He shared that his big brother took his role very seriously especially after their father died. You see, he didn't have the same timeframe nor quality of time with their father that my dad did. He paused and then continued that our legacy of intention is as important as our actualized legacy. The reason being that sometimes the way something starts with one person at the helm becomes even more confirmed by the second or third string that join in to add to the intended outcome. In my families case my dad joining the military, moving from Florida to New York and ultimately California caused my uncle to migrate to California from Florida. As a matter of fact, he lived with us upon arriving to California until he got on his feet. In F.I.A.T.M.'s case, there has been a steady ebb and flow of talented, passionate and heart centric individuals and organizations that have lent their treasures to F.I.A.T.M. which has made it as robust and relevant as it is today and going forward.
If you feel compelled to add making a positive impact in others lives part of your legacy, feel comfortable responding here or send me a quick email at: email@example.com. We'd love to hear from you.
Until next week,
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