Three rules for my legacy

Be Honest.
Be Grateful.
Be Present.

When I was a kid, I was told to always tell the truth even if it was hard. My mom made me understand that sentiment very quickly. I remember not telling the truth about doing a chore and she helped me to understand that if I lie, it is a LOT harder to handle than if I would just tell the truth. It is a sentiment that rings true in every aspect of life.

The day I hated the most when I was a coach was cut day. Looking a kid in the eye and telling them they didn’t make the team. I hated every second of it. But what I realized was that telling them the truth and showing that I respected them more than just hanging a piece of paper with names on it on the locker room door, meant something. To both of us. They put in the hard work to hopefully make the team. They deserved me looking them in the eye to let them know why they didn’t.

I will never say that was easy, but I could sleep at night knowing I did what was right.

And that to me, is where it all begins. I speak so often about character. About doing the right thing and being the right person. When that gets called into question, that  becomes a personal attack on all I hold dear. I have been down that road and had to look in the mirror to make sure I was still being the right person. Of course, we all have our moments where we try to take the easy way out. But for me, as I have gotten older, that isn’t ever actually the easier way.

In matters of relationships, building the connections between people… truth does not always come easily, but it comes because it is necessary. The conversations can be tough at times, but I have found that when I have erred on the side of truth, It’s always easier in the end.

Gratitude is something I have built a living on. I teach it, I try to practice it daily, and I hope that it’s a part of the legacy I leave.

I remember going through hard times and remembering that even when times are hard I have a lot to be thankful for.
I started a gratitude journal. I used to keep it every day. Even the days that got hard, really hard. I just simply wrote the words “thank you.”

We get so wrapped up in the moments and the days that get away from us. We often forget to be thankful for what we have. Even in the worst moment, you can always find something to be thankful for. Gratitude will always refocus us when we feel lost. By starting every morning with “Thank you” it’s amazing what follows behind.

Living in the present is something we all hear, but how many of us really are that good at it? I strayed off track a few times just in the few minutes I was writing this article. A phone call, email, or something else that pops up to get our attention. And then we remember that we were doing something else. And not much gets done in a timely manner because we are always moving around trying to remember what we were doing.
Being present is like pausing for a deep breath and doing nothing else in that second. Just breathing. We usually only do that when we think about doing it purposefully.

Usually we are breathing without stopping to think about it, while we are trying to do all those other things at the same time.
Yesterday, I was in the grocery store. I was just buying a few things for dinner and really wanted to hurry home to catch the game that already started. The woman cashier stopped scanning and started talking about my cardinal tattoo. My first instinct was to be annoyed at her inability to scan and talk at the same time. The bagger then got involved and he started talking about a cardinal that used to visit him. Again, I was wondering why they couldn’t do the simple task at hand and talk at the same time. I was annoyed.

And then I caught myself. And I realized what a wonderful conversation I was missing out on because I was in a hurry to see a game on TV. I stopped and took a breath. And realized that I was in that moment for a reason. The two of them were there to connect with me and bring me back to the present. And if I didn’t stop and breathe I would have missed it.

Be Honest, Be Grateful, Be Present. I decided yesterday that I am still a work in progress and that moments to practice all three will be handed to me even in moments I don’t want them.

And I accept them with a grateful heart.

For this is the legacy I want to leave.

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