I admit the subject of legacy haunts me. It preoccupies me, probably to a fault. I know it impacts my daily behavior because I know that my daily behavior, each 24-hour period, has a profound long-term impact on who I am and how I will be perceived to those that care. I know that will be my epitaph. That notion, the perception of what that might be, drives me, scares me, makes me fearful that in the end I could be one of those who came and went without leaving a guiding, forward thinking, positive legacy; one that leaves the temporal world a better place, one that eases the transition through life for those that follow. Painfully, that fear of failure always whispers in my ear. This predicament, when the negative is the underlying force of the positive is distressing. It is an impediment to dealing with some of the biggest reasons we often opt out from doing what is in the best interest of all, opting, instead, for behavior that is generally in the interest of oneself. Even more disconcerting, this phenomenon is not a requisite human behavior. It is manmade. This is why, for me, the opportunity to work with the Greater Impact Foundation is redeeming.
I have been lucky my entire life. I grew up in a stable home. I had opportunities to do things most just dream of doing. I have been blessed to work for great companies with quality people. My health is good. My family seems to be thriving. Even my Mother-in-Law loves me! My wife is my best friend, the only one I can argue with knowing she will still be there after she has proved me wrong. My children are turning out to be terrific, warm-hearted young men. Yes, I am lucky. The good life has fallen into my lap. Yet, nagging in the back of my mind there has always been that voice whispering, “Ken, that is just not enough. Yes, you have a responsibility to your family, but what about the others, those in greatest need, those that are not as lucky as you? What are you going to do about that?” Then the Greater Impact Foundation gave me the most important gift of all. It has given me that opportunity to do something that voice in the back of my head has been imploring me to do my entire life. Help others. Enable them to live a sustainable life; one with dignity. Give them the opportunity in their own way to be as lucky as me.
The world is a difficult place for those at the bottom of the pyramid, particularly for those at the bottom of the bottom of the pyramid. Life at the margin of existence can be brutal and relentlessly unforgiving. It is hard to envision just how brutal it can be without experiencing it. Intellectualizing it is of value, but inadequate. Talking about it is important, but specious. Even experiencing it knowing that you can always return to the comfort of your own home when it all becomes just a little too overwhelming feels hollow. But, actually working with other likeminded people to create opportunities to fundamentally change life for those in greatest need has been one of the most rewarding endeavors I have ever undertaken in my life.
I have been told that I can be stubborn. Stubbornly, I know this is true. That voice in my head has been imploring me for decades to do the right thing. Now I have that opportunity. I intend to make up for lost time.