What People Will Remember About You
by Scott McClellan
I’m 32, and to be honest, retirement feels a long way away. You know, like four decades away. The other day I couldn’t even wrap my mind around the concept when our staff gathered to celebrate a retiring coworker.
As we honored Joe and everything he means to us, I found myself thinking about what the end of my career story might look like. As people shared their favorite Joe memories, I realized I had it all wrong.
I get so caught up in what I’m trying to accomplish that I forget who I’m trying become.
And that’s a mistake.
At Joe’s retirement partly, nobody focused on the things he accomplished in 18 years of faithful service.
Do you know what they talked about? Do you know what they remembered?
They remembered that he was always kind to them in a thousand small ways, hidden from the view of the crowd. He treated them with warmth and dignity and grace. As they shared stories of his gentleness, patience, and generosity.
My out-of-whack priorities almost made me blush.
I’ve allowed myself to belief that living a good story is about accomplishing something grandiose. And that’s partly true — dreams and goals are meant to be pursued, I suppose. But let us not forget that people are meant to be loved and relationships are meant to be cultivated. None of this is integrated into our project management software, but it’s true nonetheless.
Look, you will achieve wonderful things over the course of your story.
Of this I am sure.
Buildings will be built, children will be taught, records will be broken, and books will be published. Please do those things — because the world needs them — but remember that those things won’t matter most to the people who matter most to you.
At the end of your story, strangers will celebrate you for what you’ve done. Your friends and family will celebrate you for who you are.
This is a post by Scott McClellan, one of the Storyline Contributors. Scott is the Communications Pastor at Irving Bible Church and the author of Tell Me a Story: Finding God (and Ourselves) Through Narrative. Scott writes about and teaches on topics such as communication strategy, social media, and living a better story. He lives in the Dallas area with his wife, Annie, and their two daughters, Elise and Maggie. You can find out more about him on his website and make sure to follow along on Twitter(@ScottMcClellan) for regular updates.