Episode 27: Fuel for Growth: Values
with Keith & Sara

Have you ever taken the time to consider what your life’s legacy will be? Have you put down on paper the values that are important to you and been honest with yourself about how well you are living into them?  

In this episode, the fourth and final in our ‘Fuel for Growth’ summer series, Keith & Sara continue the conversation about unpacking the power and importance of being intentional in naming your values and using them as the True North on your journey toward growing into the person you want to be.  

Episode transcript

Keith: Welcome back, everyone, to the Growing as Grown-Ups podcast. Sara and I are with you again. This is Episode 27 and what we forgot to mention last time is Episode 26 marked a year of doing this.  

Sara: Can you believe it?  

Keith: Uh-huh.  

Sara: We have done a year's worth of podcasts.  

Keith: Yeah, and it's interesting, you know, as we talk about this episode and values and, I guess, it ties in kind of why we've done this whole thing and a lot of ways.  

Sara: Yeah. We didn't start a podcast to get rich.  

Keith: And as it turns out, we have not gotten rich from doing the podcast, but we hope that the audience that we have gained out there, that this has been meaningful. We'd love to hear from you, actually, how it's been meaningful. We'd even love to, you know, tell your story on air. It's kind of -- that's an episode that we're doing.  

Sara: Oh, that would be so fun.  

Keith: Yeah. Hey, folks, today we're going to talk about values and legacy. We want to talk about, you know, we came out of this kind of four-session series that we decided to do to kind of finish out the summer and get us into a fall and the school year to bring guests back in and things like that, and there has been a lot of kind of "how-to-grow-yourself-as-a-grown-up" kind of things in there. We spent a lot of time on the last one about moving from wrangling responsibility, to the personality, to the feedback. But, you know, as we take these steps, we are hopefully taking steps in a direction, right, that we're not just taking random steps in growth, but that our growth is focusing in a direction and for most people, there is a kind of a natural focus that takes place around the values that they hold, the things that are important to them, but we want to take this episode and really make that process overt. It's - we've talked about the themes that just come up in interview after interview after interview of all these people who've had such a significant impact in the worlds where they have influence and this is a chance, I think, to really be overt about how deciding on, putting into words, and making memorable what your True North is can be a guidepost for you or it's -- we're not going to play a clip from this particular part of the interview, but tell them a little bit about John Ramstead, who was a pilot in the military, right?  

Sara: Yeah, Top Gun --  

Keith: And he talked about planes that I forget what the stat was.  

Sara: Yeah, so he told me that airplanes, any airplane that you're on a commercial flight -- you know, he flew Top Gun jets -- but this was just any flight is only on course 3% of the time. That from wind to weather to somebody getting up to go to the bathroom, any of those little things will knock the plane just slightly, one way or the other, off course and that's just stuck with me so much because I think, how true that must be of our lives, right? Sometimes I think 3% seems pretty generous for me on am I on the course that I want to be on, but how many little things -- Literally, the weather can knock me off course. This morning, letting the dogs out in muddy, wet backyard set me off in a mood or, you know, just any little thing can knock me off course where if I don't know my True North or my destination, if I don't have that point set and something bumps me off course and then I just keep going with that kind of new status quo, there's no guarantee where I'm going to end up but it's guaranteed that it's not going to be kind of that ideal destination that I would have set for myself on purpose, so.  

Keith: Yeah, and, I mean, this seems so obvious and we don't want this to seem like this really restrictive set of guardrails either, right? I mean, we don't want this to be like, "Oh, gosh, the straight and narrow. They're going to talk about the straight and narrow." We're not talking about straight narrow. We're talking about a True North that's 20, 30, 50 years out on your horizon that you're using, because people, honestly, people go sometimes years early in their lives, they really go decades. I cannot tell you how many people in their mid-thirties to early forties that we've had come through our programs that got out of college, got a job, set the alarm on day one, hit the snooze button twice, got up, did drive time radio, went to work, did their work day, exhausted at the end of the workday, come home, have dinner, have a glass of wine, watch TV to get your mind off of things, go to bed, set the alarm, rinse and repeat the next day, and then wake up and they're 35.  

Sara: Yeah.  

Keith: Right, and it's just like circumstances in life sort of takes you in a direction -- anybody who's been a parent knows that there are seasons of life where you don't have a lot of control over your True North. I mean, you do in one sense, but in another way, it's like, man, you're just on a journey and you're just in survival mode. So this is not about being on the straight and narrow. This is about having an evaluative state -- having an evaluative standard for your development as you try and take steps, as you think to yourself, as you said in the last episode, "What's the story I want to tell? Who do I want to be in the middle of these circumstances? What is that guidepost that's out there?" because, you know, we use this metaphor of actually the journey from Atlanta to Disney World and assuming that Disney World would be your ultimate destination. It's about a 500 mile journey and if you're one degree off course over the course of that 500 miles, you're only 7 miles away. It's like a short little walk to get over there if you're 15 degrees off course, which a lot of people vary 15 degrees, but if you do that over the course of that whole journey, you're about 125 miles away and that's not that hard to overcome. If you're 90 degrees off course, you're better off standing still because at the same amount of time, geometrically, you are 600 and some miles off course, not to mention 180 degrees where every step you take your doubling your distance. And I say this in sessions that we run all the time, but I've never met anyone who had given thought to even put words to kind of their legacy statement, their TrueNorth that was ever more than a few degrees off course, but I've met a lot of people -- I mean, people have achieved some pretty amazing things by a lot of standards who have been 90 degrees or 180 degrees off course because they never defined what it was they were really targeting. They just let life and their career determine all those directions for them and a lot of times their relationships with children, ex-wives, ex-spouses, the bridges that can't be rebuilt, right, and the damage has been done. So wherever you are in your journey, today is about legacy. It's about thinking through "how do I really define my True North and how do I let that begin speaking into my story?"  

Sara: Yeah, and I think sitting for a minute with ‘what is a legacy’ I think is an important place, because I hear that used a lot in a lot of different situations where the legacy -- you know, people have these goals in life. "I want to climb Mt. Everest." "I want to run a marathon." "I want to achieve these things." Right, we think about the legacy athletes leave is how many championships they won or, you know, but for us, the legacy is not tied to what you do as much as it's tied to who you are. It's about the impact that you want to have in the world and I think we'll play this quote from John Ramstead again from Episode 18, because this was such an important part of his story and what his book is about, but this definition of legacy is, it's the ultimate version of what is the story that you want told of your life, and sometimes we give the instruction to people to think about your retirement party or think about your funeral, what you would want to be told, and John had this experience in his life early in his career where he almost died, and he tells this -- this is in the context of him saying -- it starts with saying, "I was convinced that next weekend was my funeral." The doctors were all saying, "you're about to die," and while he's laying in this hospital bed, he has this reflection of his legacy. So let's play this clip.  Keith: It's pretty dramatic.  Sara: And we'll keep talking about this on the other side.  

Keith: Perfect. Here's John Ramstead.  

** Ramstead Clip**  

Keith: OK, Sara, I mean, there are two -- John does a lot of quotable stuff. He's kind of like Mohamed in that way a little bit, but this idea that an inheritance is what we leave to people, but legacy is what we leave in people, just, I just love the stickiness of that quote. But also the way he finished that quote, which is, "Leaving a legacy that I would absolutely be proud of," and I think that resonates more with where you were going prior to us playing the quote what this is, it's not what you do and it's really cool to do great things. It's cool if you could climb Everest or Kilimanjaro or do these big things but I think the way we're thinking about legacy is it's really about what you're leaving in people, right? It's about what are you going to be proud of and it's great to be a proud of accomplishments, but we've been doing this with, I mean, literally probably thousands of people at this point over the years and we've only had one person that really came up with a legacy that was like, "I want to do three triathlons by the time I die," right, and I'm thinking, "Yeah, that's a little bit too much about you for what we're thinking. I don't know what you were listening to before this," but we want we want you to be thinking about legacy in terms of really what people would say about you, right? When your life and your influence has ended, you know?  

Sara: I think to tie it back to what you were saying a few minutes ago about our risk of getting off course, right? This 97% of our life, if we're not careful, we can we can get knocked off course. I think the reason identifying this legacy, identifying who you want to be in your life is such an important part of our work, because it is this marker, this decision point to help you take the steps that you need to take in life, to make decisions that you want to make, and we played this quote in the in the last episode, so I'm not going to play it again, but CJ, when talking about going through this process of learning how much he was pretending to be somebody he wasn't and coming to terms with who he really was, like, it was hard for me to decide, does that clip go in, learning to take ownership or identifying your legacy because they're so intertwined, right? You can't own who you are if you don't know who you are and who you are, should be based on values. But he made the statement, like, once I knew my mission, and that was the language he used to describe kind of his legacy statement, “it is what gave me direction on who to talk to and who not to talk to, what to say yes to what to say no to, always saying yes to assignments, but no to invitations, giving me the freedom of not having to waste my time and energy being places I didn't want to be” and  I just I think that's so true and I hear other people who are very clear about what matters most to them so that you can make a decision of saying "yes" to something that is not in line with who you want to be. That's essentially saying no to other opportunities.  

Keith: Yeah, and especially, folks, as we talked about last time, if you're in this place on your journey, that's sort of in between level three and level four, it is, I mean, that's what -- that was the value is that when C.J. really determined what this mission was, he didn't have to be the actor, the pretender, the person who was trying to do these things. It's like all of a sudden these are the things I need to let go of and take ownership of. So that's tying that back to that last episode, but it does. It becomes a standard and, you know, you and I have both -- it's hard to teach about authoring legacy statements if you haven't authored one and, folks, for both of us, this was not like a vision that we had during the middle of the night and woke up and read it. It's like you have to work to get this into a place where it is just something that clicks off of you and so, I mean, I remember I went through a process. Sort of on the heels of a beloved grandfather passing away, and he was -- we're lucky enough that he lived to be 94 and was with us the whole time. I mean, he was just an amazing human being, Earnest Martin, my mom's dad, and just a spectacular human being and at his passing, you know, I spoke at the funeral. I did, a couple of the grandkids did, and there was, for some reason, I was at the point in my life where there was almost no avoiding the, "Wow, I wonder if I live to be 94 what kind of influence that I might have on the me's of --" Right? My grandkids, whatever, and so I actually went through a process using Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life book. I didn't even finish the book, but I went -- it's like I got what I needed out of it with the with the legacy statement piece, and I remember that I went through all of these steps and we'll talk about those steps a little bit later in the podcast, but I determined in a way that is way bigger than the sentence I'm about to give you because it has so many points of impact and again, I'll get to that later, but I decided what I wanted to be about at my core, what I wanted my True North to be, was about facilitating the development of others to become everything they're meant to be. To facilitate the development of people to become everything they're meant to be, and I was one of those people that I included in that, but also, obviously family, friends, people had an impact on. But, Sara, in a way, you know, us taking this last year and doing this podcast is a little bit a part, for me at least, of facilitating the development of others to become everything they're meant to be, even though this turns out not to be a get-rich-quick scheme. I'm totally kidding about that, but it is funny because it's like this thing is a fair amount of work to pull off.  

Sara: Yeah, it is hard but because it connects to your legacy, it's worth it.  

Keith: That's exactly right.  

Sara: Right, and the stories that we hear from people who reach out to us or we run into and they say, "Love your podcast, here's what it's got me thinking about," it's like, OK. You are growing and becoming everything you were meant to be through something that one of our guests said or, you know, just --  

Keith: For you, what was it like when you began to walk down the road of deciding what you wanted your legacy to be, to have this kind of True North that you have defined, that you have memorized, that you can put to use in the ways that we're talking about?  

Sara: Like we tell our clients, it's a process where this thing is kind of already in you.  

Keith: Right.  

Sara: Right? If you're having to make it up from scratch, then it's probably not really deeply rooted in your values and so, for me, in a way I knew what it was for a long time, but I started to work really intentionally to put words to it when I started working here. And over the years, it's been revised in wording, but not in intent, right?  

Keith: Love that, love that.  

Sara: Where mine is now, a tiny little phrase, that means an enormous amount that almost, it's like, I feel like almost maybe it's too short, but my micro legacy statement to me is or is to "be an Easter person".  

Keith: Yeah.  

Sara: Right, and there's so much in there and it's really grounded in my personal faith but what it boils down to when I kind of unpack the essence of it that's been a part of everything along the years, is being loving, gracious, and humble so that I can be a part of the story of redemption and restoration in the world.  

Keith: Oh, man.  

Sara: So it's in how I treat people and myself: loving, gracious, and humble and then is the work that I'm doing bringing about redemption and restoration, making things more the way they were intended to be?  

Keith: Yeah.  

Sara: But making them better than when I found them. Versus --  

Keith: Oh, my gosh!  

Sara: Going about things and, at worst, making things worse, right? Like hurting somebody or contributing to the brokenness or leaving, I mean, I remember just even when I used to volunteer, they taught us, like, the choice to leave trash on the ground is choosing to leave something broken, right? It's like, "Oh, I can't leave trash on the ground, I want to make it better," right? So.  

Keith: Yeah. Do you know what I love? Because mine is you know, I can shorten it to kind of as a reminder to facilitating development, the thing that I love about "Easter person" is it is like a two words. That it's like, "Oh, crap, that wasn’t an Easter person."  

Sara: Oh, yeah, that's the 97% -- !  

Keith: 97% off course, not 97 degrees off course, it's just of course and sometimes it's like, "Ooh, that was way too far off course. This needs a major correction," right?  

Sara: Right, right, but that's why I love this idea of it being named - I used to have it printed in my office on a whiteboard and it got erased but I need to print it again, but having this -- we tell people, "Keep it in front of you," like, literally in front of you, as -  

Keith: Yeah, dashboard, dash mirror --  

Sara: A reminder, and that's -- I have another story I want to share, if that's OK.  

Keith: You do it, do it.  

Sara: Gosh, I don't even know how many years ago --  

Keith: Seven or eight, I bet.  

Sara: Before the podcast project I tried writing a blog for the Lyceum and in the process of that, interviewed a couple of our former clients and one of them was this woman named Darby, and she gave me permission to share her story on the blog, so I'm going to hope that it's OK that I share the story on the podcast as well, but she had been through our program and she had her legacy statement - for our participants, we give them a plaque of sorts in a frame, their legacy statement, and encourage them - literally keep this in front of you, put it on your desk, put it on your dresser.. somewhere. And her legacy statement was to "focus on family enrichment while showing an appreciation of my blessings by giving back," and for her, that was a lot about really wanting to invest in their kids and giving them a really healthy worldview, making their vacation choices so that their kids were not just sitting on the beach having fun, but seeing different parts of the world, meeting different cultures, all these different things. Well, it got to the season in which I met Darby and they were getting ready to buy a new house and they had looked at a bunch of options, they had found a really nice house with a lot of land. It had a pool and they thought, "We could do a lot of great things to bring our family together and have parties at our house," and it was going to be really great and they were, I think, pretty close to making an offer on this house and she's at her computer emailing her husband and looks up and sees her legacy statement.  Keith: Right next to her computer screen?  Sara: In her little frame that we gave her, that said to "Focus on family enrichment while showing an appreciation of my blessings by giving back," and she recognized that mortgage payment on this house was going to be so much that it would restrict her ability to give back as much as she wanted and reduce their vacation budget, right? Their mortgage budget would go up, so they would not then be able to take their family on the types of vacations they had dreamed of that were important for the legacy they wanted to leave in their kids, and that -- having that True North set and in front of her, that she had agreed upon, that her husband was on board with - emailed him and said, "We can't buy this house." Right? There was nothing wrong with the house!  

Keith: Right.  

Sara: There was nothing wrong with having a pool, there's nothing wrong with having a nice house. And for people that love hosting and entertaining and gathering community, that would be a great thing in line with their legacy statement. But she just said like this, having this thing in front of her, she says, "Now, when I'm faced with the decision, I have to ask myself, 'Does this align with my legacy, and if not, then why am I doing it?'"  

Keith: Yeah.  

Sara: And I'm like, "Man, I need to do that all the time."  

Keith: Such a poignant story.  

Sara: Right, and so, like, I just think it's so important that people do this work and, guys, like I said, this is in you already. You just have to create the space to let it come out, right? So giving yourself a couple hours at a coffee shop or, you know, going on a walk and thinking through it and processing it, but it doesn't happen in the busyness of life, right?  

Keith: No, it doesn't.  

Sara: You've got to create space to do that and so, do you want to move towards helping people figure out space to do this?  

Keith: Yeah, and then we'll talk a little bit about the impact of a couple other guests and some of the things that they've said about the difference this has made for them, but, you know, this is one of these times that, again, we've been doing this for 15 years, probably, and we've evolved kind of the way that we've done it over time, and we've gotten this down to a surprisingly short process that when we're really efficient with it, it takes about 18 minutes -- which cracks me up to think about that -- that we're going to try and pull out of someone in 18 minutes something that may endure for them for the rest of their lives.  

Sara: Yeah.  

Keith: And I think this goes back to we're not really helping somebody invent something from scratch, we're creating space for someone to give words in a more structured way to something that was already inside of them, and so, again, we're not going to try and guide you to invent something that we want you to invent, we're going to try and get you to a place where you're giving words to something that you've already done, and if you've done an exercise like this at a retreat or something like that, you know, think through it again. Think if there are any changes to how -- think through refinement of it.  

Sara: Deepening of it.  

Keith: Yeah, but at the premise of this, and I think the thing that works the best for most people - there's lots of things you can think about sort of goals, ambitiously, what you would want people to say about you in the future. I think one of the most powerful things is -- and again, Sara, Starbucks may be the place for someone, a walk in the woods, going on a run - I don't know what you're doing, but you might even want to hit pause as we're going through this. We're not going to pause, but you might want to hit pause and take about three minutes per section to just think through, and I think it's really helpful if you can write it down, because what we're going to ask you to do after you think through each one of these sections is we're going to ask you to go back and look for the value themes that run through that, and then that's what you capture and can get down to a phrase like "facilitating the development of others" or "an Easter person", right? It's just like, "Boom! This captures for me all of that stuff." Anything else you want to say before I just jump into the instructions? So what we asked folks to do and, again, I think one of the best things to do is kind of picture yourself as a fly on the wall at your own funeral, and you are actually getting to listen to what people are saying in reflection of the impact that you've had on their life -- which that's the kind of legacy we're talking about, the impact that you're going to have IN someone's life -- and, but the thing that we're changing in this is they're not authoring it, you are authoring it for them.  

Sara: What do you hope they would say?  

Keith: What do you hope that they would say? What would you want them to say, and so with your family and friends, what would you hope they would say about the impact that you had in their life, about the legacy that you have left in their lives? And this is where you want to you would hit pause and you would take about three minutes to think through, and don't let it go on for 15 or 20. I think the big stuff comes out early so, you know, if you're on an elliptical right now, if you're out on a run, if you're out on a walk. I don't know, maybe open the notes tab on your phone and just speak into it, you'll be able to decipher it later, but do something if you can to kind of capture this. So with family and friends, what would you want them to say?   All right, now you're back. With people at work, right? Different, different environment, but you're still being in it. So with people at work, what would you want them to say if you had a representative person from work get up and say about the impact that you had on them during their time with you? Then we would pause again, three minutes or so in that area. What about in your career? What kind of difference do you want to have made in your career? So now we're allowing in a little bit of the kind of accomplishment that you may want to have. Let's integrate that in, because, again, these aren't going to be the final words. These are getting us to values. So in your career, what kind of legacy do you want to leave? We've already talked about the people at work, but in the work that you do, what do you want that work to say about the person that you are?  

Sara: I want to inject a little challenge in this area because this is where sometimes I find people going more towards accomplishments and I ask them, like, what's the value of that accomplishment, right? So you wrote a book, Keith.  

Keith: Yeah.  

Sara: Right, like, in your career, is your goal to be a bestselling author or is your goal to do work that has a greater reach?  

Keith: Yeah, I mean, and so again --  

Sara: Same book.  

Keith: I want to even take this just into the career. In the way I think about legacy in terms of the career that I've chosen, is that if I want to be about facilitating the development of people to become everything, they're meant to be, right? You know, there are a lot of people who do what we do, one-on-one with people. They charge handsome sums to work with that one individual, and they're limited to the number of people that they can do. The reason I wrote the book, the reason we run the Lyceum the way that we do, the reason we're doing this podcast is because how can we keep pushing this down where this is affordable to everybody, right? I mean, the book is 25 bucks -- 20 bucks, maybe. The podcast, I don't think you have to pay anything for it, right?  

Sara: No. Free.  

Keith: It's just, it's here. We have scaled the work that we did to groups so that it comes down within most corporate budgets for individual development for people, right, and so in my career, I wanted to have as much impact as we were able to have with people to facilitate their development for them to become everything they're meant to be. So that's an extension, I think, of what you're saying, right? Versus, "I want to do four books."  

Sara: Right.  

Keith: Yeah, really good. Thanks for jumping in on that.   This next area that we'd like you to think through is in your interests, and what Sara and I were talking before we did the podcast, this is like for you - who do you want to be for you, right? And I think about interest, your faith, education, continuing education, health, fitness, hobbies, all of these kinds of things -- balance, maybe, in your life? What are the kinds of things that you want to have given your time to, and why is that important to you? Anything you want to add in on that, because that last add-in was so good!  

Sara: Oh, I don't have anything that profound this time --  

Keith: OK.  

Sara: I like the, "who do you want to be for you?"  

Keith: Yeah, who do you want to be for you? All right. If you hit pause again, you're back with us now. What about in difficult circumstances?  

Sara: We added these two questions because these are the moments when you're most likely to be pushed off-course.  

Keith: Yeah, I mean, this is the truth telling thing. So in difficult circumstances, what's the legacy you want to leave? What someone else is getting up to say, "I saw Sara go through "X" and, oh my gosh, this is my take away from her," right? So that's one, then -- if you're actually doing the pausing and reflecting, you're back with us now -- and the final one -- and this is my favorite one, and I like to set this one up a little bit. So I want you to picture your own funeral, and people have gotten up and all the way through all these categories, they have said everything that you wanted them to say, right, and then everybody's got a person in their life that it's just hard for them, don't they? I do. Not many, honestly, but I got a couple that are just hard for me and I don't think -- I think they know it, and I don't think they like me, you know, and it's like -- and there's not much I can do about that dynamic, but I want you to get that person in your head for a minute and I want you to picture them standing up after the benediction and saying, "You know what, before we leave, I have one thing I want to say."  

Sara: Yikes.  

Keith: What do you want them to say?  

Sara: I mean, talk about conviction, Keith.  

Keith: Yeah!  

Sara: I mean, that's the -- I have to remind myself in those moments, "Who do I want to be right now?" because it's so easy to be somebody I want to be.  

Keith: And that's -- it's a fun one to write, guys. This gets at the core of what you want to be about, so.  

Sara: Yeah. I mean, those last two are the even in bad weather. Who am I going to be?  

Keith: Even in bad --.  

Sara: Right? It's really easy on a sunny day to say who I want to be with my friends and family and in my job. The last two are, "And when the storm hit, who do you want to be?"  

Keith: Yeah, so the idea is not to write a book here. When we do this in our sessions, we give people 3 minutes per section for each one of those 6 sections -- that's the 18 minutes -- because what we are trying to get you to is a recognition that there is a value thread or a values thread that runs through more than likely every one of these sections for you, right? It may be about compassion. It may be about redemption. It may be about growth. It may be about generosity. It may be about improvement. It may be about joy. It may be about fun, right? It may be about -- I don't know what it's about for you, but I bet there's a theme of values that runs through there.  

Sara: And I think one other tool that we use in our facility that we can't really do so well over a podcast, but you can Google, is we give people a deck of cards with value words on them, right? I was helping somebody work through some value exercises the other day, and he just -- he couldn't put words to them that easily and if you just Google value words, you know, there's lists out there that can help you and, you know, the ones that exist that are -- I mean, the ones that we use most often are, exist in the public domain there -- it's called a "personal values card store" it is from the University of New Mexico, but there's words in there like --  

Keith: And they give you a PDF, by the way, that you can literally cut up in the little cards.  

Sara: Yeah. So family, contribution, duty, faithfulness, hope, honesty. I mean, there's even things in here like attractiveness and wealth, and, you know, there's a whole spectrum -- I think we have 80-something in ours -- mindfulness, realism -- I'm just picking random words -- tolerance, growth. Find lists like that if you're having trouble putting words to it, but then what we want you to do is once you've sat with kind of the core essence of what came out through those six reflections, is just putting them into a simple sentence or even a phrase, right? "I want to be a person who facilitates the development of others to be everything they were meant to be. I want to be an Easter person. I want to be -- " You know, whatever. "I want my life to be about this," just put it down in a sentence and sit with it, right. I've reworked mine a couple of times, I don't know if Keith has had to wordsmith his, but find the words that kind of resonate deeply in your core that feels so true of the you that you want to be, that you can use those as decision-makers and any decision in line with that, you're going to feel proud of and a decision that goes against it is going to be uncomfortable for you.  

Keith: Yeah, that's really good.  

Sara: And I think, well, anything else you want to say about the legacy statement before I -- ?  

Keith: Yeah, I want to say because you said, "I don't know if you've re-wordsmithed yours over the years," I have not, but the meaning of those same 13 words has changed a number of -- It hasn't changed, it's grown, right? So initially it was like, how do you get, you know, education, hobbies, health into facilitating the development of others? For me, that theme played out in so many different areas that I knew that I needed to even pay attention to the way I was engaging in things that were just fun for me. In ways that we're still honoring who I wanted to be about, and so that has it's grown as I changed, it's grown as I've seen points of application. You know, I tell people all the time that this went from -- the first point of application for me was in my career and I actually changed the focus of what I was doing for a living -- and that was scary! -- and it was a couple of years later that I thought, "I don't really do this with my wife, Leigh," and I thought, "So what's that mean?" because I'm not her facilitator, right? And -- but if I want to be about that, how do I need to be different? And then my kids became a point of application as they started getting a little bit older, and then my father in his aging years, it became, "What does it mean in that relationship?" So the words never changed, but the meaning around the words grew and the reason I just belabored that point for so long is because the set of words that you choose, is not as important as what the set of words that you do choose means to you.  Sara: Yeah.  Keith: Right? It can be bigger and that's why you can get it down to two words that mean paragraphs. Chapters. Volumes. Right, and so don't get wrapped up in "oh my gosh, I don't know that I can get the right word." You know what that word that you've put down means to you. So now let's shift to some of our favorite people who have just talked about how this has guided them during difficult times.  

Sara: Yeah, I mean, you had two really great interviews with leaders that we just both adore, Kyle Marrero in Episode 11 and Dale Jones in Episode 9, who are just -- you can't be around them and not feel their values oozing through everything they do, right?  

Keith: I know. Yeah, and the way that plays into their effectiveness is undeniable. Keep going, though.  

Sara: Yeah, and I want to -- maybe we'll start with Dale, and Dale wasn't overt as much as Kyle in how he talked about it, but it was so clear and I wish I would have gotten the word count, but he talked about in everything he did, it was about making a difference and when I did a word search in the transcript of his interview of "make a difference," because I knew that was his phrase, I mean, 20 times, maybe it came up? Just naturally because it was just, "I just want to make a difference in this. I want to make a difference in this," and I love that for Dale, his values are set, they're non-negotiable, they never change no matter what situation he's in and so, you want to play it?  

Keith: Yeah, let's play it. Let's play that quote because it's so good. Plus, I want to hear his voice.  

Sara: know, I love Dale. All right, so let's hear Dale quote and, again, pay attention to as he's talking about kind of the journey of his career, how that underlying value is in all of it.  

Keith: Yeah. Perfect. Here's Dale.  

** Dale Clip**  

Sara: Yeah. All right, how great was that? I mean, whether you are working for clean water in Africa or the CEO of a corporate organization, it doesn't matter. You can still live your values, and I love that because I think sometimes people feel like when you write this really inspirational legacy statement, you can't then just go about boring work, right? And it's like, no, even when I'm washing dishes, I can be an Easter person. Even when I'm, you know, we've been doing a lot of proofreading around here lately an it's like, I hate this work, but it's a way for how do I do it within my values, right? And so with Dale's story, it's just so beautiful that no matter what context even, making a difference --  

Keith: How do I make a difference in the work that I've been called to do for the season I'm in?  

Sara: Yeah, I love it.  

Keith: Yeah, so good.  

Sara: Right, and then we have Kyle. Kyle, again, who just oozes values. I mean, it's like -- I don't know that I've met a leader who is more value- oriented than Dr. Kyle Marrero.  

Keith: No, it just drives everything he does and, you know what? I would also, if you don't mind, I'd like us to play this clip. Is that OK, if we just let this clip run and then we'll talk about it? Because you can even hear his values in the intensity of his voice on this clip, so let's run this Kyle Marrero clip and then we'll debrief it for a second and then we're going to bring this episode to a close shortly.  

** Kyle Clip**  

Keith: All right, folks, again, Kyle Marrero -- the thing that I don't want to overplay too much in this episode, because this is not what it's about -- it's about how effective people are who own, not only if they moved to level four or are moving in a level five kind of territory, but how effective they are in the work that they do, and so Kyle is always exuding personally who he's being as a husband, as a father, as a mentor to students, as a leader of faculty, and he's obviously in this one talking a little bit more about the mission and values of the institution, which are -- is a natural extension just for the way he kind of is as a person, but the way he allows this to guide so many decisions that he makes -- and I love that he overtly calls out that, you know, in higher education, but this is in business, this is in so many organizations, in most organizational life, that we look to outcomes. We measure outcomes, we drive to outcomes, and then he says, "But you have to lead from your values," right, and if you dispense of those values, you lost at all, right? And so, you know, as we're going through this episode from, "Hey, this is important to identify your True North," to "How do you get to your True North," to this is the outcome that starts to happen as you do this. We started to hear it in Dale's, we're hearing it in Kyle's. I think, as we bring this episode to a close. Karl Kuhnert, our beloved colleague. Hello, Karl, I know you listen to these. Karl actually overtly and intentionally reminds himself before he goes in to meetings that he wants to be about his values, and he defined in his interview that we did with him in Episode 5 that cooperation, cohesiveness, and altruism is not something that you have, it's something that you are, right?  

Sara: Yeah.  

Keith: And so he says -- we're not going to play Karl's actual quote in this -- but he says, "Actually, you know, this is a practice for me. I'm in a lot of meetings and I'm engaged in discussions and debates where I often find myself in the minority," right? He wants to be about cooperation, cohesiveness, and altruism and he says, "I actually will do this before I go into a meeting and I'll ask myself the question "Am I willing to be cooperative here? Pre-deciding, 'Am I going to live into my True North? Am I going to live to what I say I want to be about?'" and so I just love the intentionality of that.  

Sara: I mean, I think that going back to this legacy exercise, right? With difficult people and with difficult circumstances, right, I know when I'm going to be around a difficult person, if I can say beforehand, "All right, I am a loving, gracious, and humble person. That's who I'm going to be in this interaction," it's way easier to be that person than I just go in and don't think about it at all.  

Keith: Yeah. Do you know, Sara, I am two years, a little less than two years away -- a year and a half away, exactly -- from having raised four children completely through their teenage years. So in a year and a half, Ansley turns 20. Is that right? Did I say that right? Yeah, in a year and a half she turns 20. She's gonna -- 18, 19, then she'll be 20 -- Whew. The -- you talk about difficult people,  

Sara: Teenagers?

Keith: Teenagers!  

Sara: Not Ansley in general, just teenagers!  

Keith: But, do you know, some of my proudest moments as a parent have been when I have pre-decided to a conversation that I needed to have with them, not have a conversation that was based on my emotions, to have a conversation based on who we are going to be as a family, but when I decided I was going to go into that conversation, decided, "What does it mean for me to facilitate their development to become everything they meant to be?" Right, and that's my version of Karl in that environment. It's like pre-deciding and how much different do we govern our behavior and don't allow the circumstances, the weather of emotions to blow me into a place that I don't want to be? Right, and by the way, even when I haven't lived in to my best self, when I've decided I need to rectify the storm that I have created, how much better have I rectified that storm when I've decided who do I want to be?  

Sara: Because then you're taking ownership of what you did and can go and apologize instead of making excuses for it. Finding the reason that it was justified is just so much easier.  

Keith: Yeah. If you want to know if it really works out, ask my wife, and it may be that I've been blowing smoke this whole time, but I don't think so.  

Sara: Ooh, that'd be a fun episode to get our spouses on here?  

Keith: That's be really good.  

Sara: That would be a terrible idea.  

Keith: All right, Sara, wrap this one up.  

Sara: Man, guys, I hope this was helpful to you. We would love it if you would take some time and think about what legacy that you want to leave in people in the world around you, what values support that, and how that is impacting your life today, not just waiting for the end, right? So create space for that. Find time. Block it off in your calendar. Ask -- invite a good friend to do this with you and share that.  

Keith: Great idea.  

Sara: Right? Like, have someone to hold you accountable, have someone to share that with, to celebrate. If you're married, if you have a partner, sharing that together is a really great bonding experience and helps you kind of align how you're going to live your lives together. Sharing them at work can be really powerful, but do it if you, I mean, it would be -- we would love it so much if you would share that with us. Share kind of what has come out of you thinking of your legacy statements. Again, our address is We're on Facebook and Twitter.  

Keith: You can find us.  

Sara: You know where to find us, but we'd love to hear, kind of, you know, a collection of legacy statements. We love seeing that, but --  

Keith: Folks, if you didn't have a chance to, during the episode, if you were just lying in bed trying to go to sleep, which is what I do with my podcasts a lot of times, I would also encourage you if you have not authored a legacy statement that can become a True North for you that has this meaning assigned around it, I would so encourage you to go back. Fast-forward probably through the first 15 minutes of the podcast find -- we'll try and put in the show notes, maybe, is that possible? -- where to go in the podcast to get through the six topics, to think through, three minutes a piece.  

Sara: Or we could just put the six topics in the show notes.  

Keith: Oh, that's what we'll do. Even better, we'll put the six topics in the show notes and, you know, go through that. We want this for you really badly.  

Sara: It's so powerful.  

Keith: So we will look forward -- do you have something else you want to say?  

Sara: I do! I had something and I lost it so I guess that's the end.  

Keith: Yep, that's the end. We will see you on the next episode.