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Building Community Through Better Relationships

A Legacy Has No Deadline

There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. ~Oscar Wilde. In a world of voices combatting for attention, certain people manage to push bold agendas above the fray. Often it is not the smartest people, nor the most popular people. We tend to talk about people who are most passionate in promoting their opinions and drawing attention to themselves. They want to establish enduring influence. In short, they strive to create a legacy!

A legacy represents an ongoing objective that an individual or institution initiates expecting it to outlive them. It differs from a task, job, or career because it is more enduring. But, how does an individual create a legacy that perpetuates across generations? How do you assemble accomplishments that people continue talking about?

The Task
For people to talk about you, you probably need to do something worth talking about. Many people go to work because they have job. Other people follow a calling, then build their labor or daily activities around that. In both cases value-based activities are based on tasks. Individuals choose to provide goods, services, or labor based on the tasks’ completion. Occasionally, individuals find happiness and fulfillment through these activities. But eventually, regardless of the level of accomplishment, the individual is replaced. The problem with tasks, regardless of how successful or profitable, is that a replacement emerges to continue the contribution. The activity drives the long-term value.

The Contributor
In other cases, an individual contribution is so outstanding that the talent becomes transferrable. A great professor can dominate a campus, then decide to teach at another institution. The classes that the professor taught will remain at the previously university. But, the excellence and prominence associated with this scholar is not fully recouped. The contributor continues delivering excellence and benefit to society as a result of developed talent. Then, the associated accolades travel with her wherever she chooses to demonstrate her excellence in her field. The contributor becomes the key to creating ongoing value.

The Transcendent Cause
However, enduring value results from a commitment to an objective greater than job fulfillment, or demonstrating one superior performer’s skill. A legacy’s value is determined by the created long-term, cross-generational benefit. Legacies are not evaluated by quarterly performance. They do not end with a career of accomplishments, innovations and intellectual breakthroughs. A legacy depends on a transcendent cause that captures the imagination of multiple individuals and subsequent groups. It has no deadline! A successful legacy’s energy requires ideas and execution beyond one person’s capacity. Legacies require continuous progress where each individual contributor adds toward a monumental, enduring destiny.

A legacy may start with an individual, but perpetuates through a movement! Participating in building a legacy exceeds a calling. Its success fundamentally merges into every contributor’s purpose. A legacy has no deadline because it evolves into a series of ongoing ideas and activities. So, if you have a job, perform it with excellence. Reap the rewards. Contribute your skills and talents in multiple environments, if that fulfills your personal goals. But, to change people’s behavior for future generations, identify the transcendent cause that inspires you to push yourself to your personal limits. Then, pursue the legacy that you want to achieve. Don’t worry about its final completion, nor its deadline, just be sure that others are prepared to continue the legacy once your portion is done.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond

December 15, 2014 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , | 3 Comments

No Journey, No Treasure

If you have a treasure map, which is more important: the journey or the treasure? As a trainer and educator, this debate looks like the conflict between academic and practical education. Learning wrestles with this ongoing tension. Ultimately, people learn in order to improve their quality of life. Whether the objective is a degree, intellectual curiosity, or new skills the process determines the success. But which one takes priority?

Unsurprisingly, several processes, techniques and approaches are available for better learning. However, the motivation for self-improvement is more limited, and is definitely individualized. Success results from prioritizing a specific objective, identifying the path to achieve it and valuing the accomplishment. So focusing on value, is it the journey or the treasure?

The Journey
When pursuing new knowledge a map is helpful. It leads to the treasure. The map has value in itself. Pirate movies famously show heroic battles for treasure maps. But, the map is not the treasure! A class, webinar, or lecture may deliver critical information. The investment of time and money can provide a return so that the student becomes more productive or better compensated. Nevertheless, realizing full value requires additional steps. Even when learning for personal curiosity, the true value comes in applying or sharing the new knowledge. Indeed, the education journey can be exciting. But applying newly learned knowledge often results in maximizing value.

The Treasure
In other cases learning yields direct results. Completing a training program may immediately result in higher compensation for a professional. Or in the example of passing the bar, enduring academic processes and subsequent testing satisfy a life goal that leads to more prestige. If pursuing knowledge means securing wealth, the motivation is clear. The map has a clear purpose, and the learner is ready to endure even more pain beyond acquiring the map. However, the learner must be certain that the riches will be worth the sacrifice required to achieve them. Being properly motivated is great. But being properly rewarded has to follow.

The Objective
Eventually, it all comes down to “why”. Learning for curiosity is noble. Studying for personal reward has clear motivation. However, acquiring knowledge to achieve a clear objective is enduring! With a transcendent purpose behind the learning, the student will be driven and persistent in pursuing the end result. When learners approach acquiring knowledge from a growth perspective, the drive, the curiosity, the reward all come together. Ultimately learning with a clear objective yields the best results. Satisfaction is there for the taking.

The best value for any educational investment results from a clear focus on a specific life enhancing outcome. Successfully attaining more knowledge goes beyond just keeping score. GPA’s are important, but they are not the final judgment. Acquire and apply new facts and insights. Enjoy growth through new knowledge. Too often, individuals accomplish goals and feel empty. Brilliant people engaging in self-destructive behaviors are a cliché. But, by constantly seeking and growing, the next adventure will yield new surprises and experiences. “You don’t stop playing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop playing.” Pursue life and learning with a youthful exuberance!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond

December 8, 2014 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today’s New Verb Is Thrift

To Thrift. This verb can also be expressed as an action, “thrifting”. Thrifting means shopping for ultra-cool outfits in a second-hand store. While buying someone else’s tossed out clothes reeks of desperation, unearthing fabulous pieces in unlikely retail outlets is part power-shopping and part treasure hunting. Ironically, I was first introduced to a variation of thrifting 20 years ago.

When my older brother’s adult daughter was a teenager, he complained that she rummaged through his closet grabbing his old clothes, matched them with new pieces, then go to school at the peak of stylishness. While complaining about not finding a particular shirt, he told me: “Watch out, the same thing will happen to you!” Three daughters later, my last teenage daughter rifles through my closet discovering the last of my outdated college gear. Clearly, I have been cursed by the sins of the older brother. Or have, I?

What if this is a trend? Ironically, a new client has brought me into thrifting in an online environment. And, my client, their friends, their community, and their customers get incredibly excited about it! They find new fashion statements among “gently used” clothing and bring them to market. But, how does this trend positively impact how professionals contribute to a better world?

Trash or Treasure
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In today’s hyper-fast world, styles change faster than clothing wears out. While it may be easy to toss out used clothing, a sense of sustainability and philanthropy, has made it fashionable to donate clothes to the less fortunate. However, the less fortunate are not limited to people of lesser economic means. Less fortunate can be another fashionista who appreciates someone’s fashion sense only after an item has been used. Style is as much about the inner person as the outer wear. And, anyone who boldly states their style using someone else’s fashion choices demonstrate confidence and individuality. Those attributes need to be treasured.

Value in All Things
The brand on the package that carries your latest purchase can have value. But an individual’s imprint results when the item meets their personality. Pre-loved clothing selections reflect someone stylishly doing more with less. These pieces illustrate respecting the old while expressing the new. Individual confidence grows from expressing one’s individual values. Furthermore, creating value from previously owned clothing proclaims the new wearers’ personalized style. What better way to state that it is about me, not my clothes, than to assemble other people’s hand-me-downs and express yourself confidently, uniquely and stylishly?

Birds of a Feather
Thrifting clearly demonstrates that even inside of uniqueness is community. Realizing that shopping with friends is like an action sport, thrifting is best done in groups. It may be an individual’s style, but there is still comfort in group acceptance. Nothing validates your style more than a good friend recognizing your fashion choices with a simple, “that’s cute”. Thrifting is a communal activity wrapped in self-expression. If one friend looks great in her dad’s dress shirt, then the other friend’s dad’s sport coat is next! Fashion says that we are individuals together!

The lesson in thrifting is that we all must do all we can with what we have. Whether the practice is driven by budget constraints or the desire for individuality, the end product is a personal statement. Thrifting reinforces that we can all identify with a community that embraces and values us. By progressing beyond being clones, our valuable, individual attributes emerge. Consequently, the best way to contribute to any community is for each member to bring their individual attributes for everyone’s benefit. And, if you can contribute stylishly, then that is all the better.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond

December 1, 2014 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person, Better World | , , , , | 1 Comment