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What is your legacy?

Unfortunately, I was called out of town recently to visit a family member who has terminal cancer.  When the end was near and it was time to say goodbye, it trumped anything I had going on in my business life.

To get a few minutes distraction from tense family matters, I went to a local donut shop to take advantage of the Wi-Fi and hot coffee. When I arrived, the place was busy with mostly retirees. It was a social scene where politics, health, and weather filled the conversation. It made me think about what these folks did earlier in life that got them to this point. What were the series of personal and professional decisions that led them to a coffee shop in Delray Beach? Did they make significant contributions to society, family, and business?

Because of my difficult family crisis, I paused and ask myself, what is my legacy going to be? How will my children and former business associates describe me?

Of course, first and foremost, I want to be a devoted husband and a loving, supportive father. (So far I think I have that one covered!) However, in my business life, my legacy is probably still being defined. I feel I haven’t yet done my best work. What does that mean? I define it as helping others achieve their personal and professional goals. That includes employees, clients, and people I don’t even know. Hopefully, our work through the ADVANTAGE brand will make a positive impact on others. If I do my job right, I don’t think the results can be measured.

It goes beyond a paycheck. It’s the feeling that what I do matters. As my aunt prepares to leave this world, I am reminded of her legacy: mother, caregiver, and businesswoman. A mother of two, my aunt came to the United States from Cuba to escape a ruthless dictator just coming into power. She was just a scared young girl who was forced to leave the comforts of home in the safe shelter of Mom and Dad. She boarded a plane with strangers and was dropped off in an unfamiliar land, where people spoke an unfamiliar language. She would never see her parents again.

My aunt summoned the courage to control her own destiny, getting married and raising a family. I remember, as a young boy, she was my second mother and had a profound impact on me. To give her life additional purpose, she taught herself sewing. As a kid, I had the coolest Halloween costumes, completely handmade, and the envy of my grade school.

Sewing wasn’t a hobby, however, it was her business. Custom, one-of-a-kind dresses and alterations were her niche. Well into her eighties, my aunt would work twelve-hour days creating masterpieces. Her influence extended to my daughter, as well. When walking through a craft store recently, my daughter started talking about how she was inspired by “Tia” and wanted to make her own creations.

So, I said goodbye to Tia today. She lived a great life and I will remember her legacy contribution well.

I’m inspired by her to keep working on my legacy… and I’m not done yet.

Until next time,

Brian Barquilla