I have a pal named Gregory. He’s a cherished work colleague who, over the last decades, has become chosen family. A while back we were given an opportunity to do a dead easy project together that involved promoting posh villas and estates around the globe that were for sale. We were meant to present ourselves as the imagined new owners of said property, delighting at the fun we’d have slipping out of our Swiss mountain chalet to ski, or overlooking the Mediterranean castle to our yacht below. You get the picture. For this sybaritic duty promoting lifestyles of the rich if not famous, we’d be compensated with a pretty penny. Discussions on this upcoming project were boiling along when Gregory called to say he had to bow out. I was stunned. Why on earth would anybody turn down so light hearted and well paying a globe trotting gig? He explained that he was at a legacy point in his life and that everything he did had to align with his core values.
What an imperative. I suppose he would allow himself the occasional piece of chocolate cake but work, friendships, expenditure of time, etc. needed to strike notes that were in concert with the true north of what mattered to him. He continued, saying that he no longer believed in big expensive houses, not their environmental footprint nor their statement that sprawling castles of indulgent glees held any key to happiness. Having sold his family pile and acreage, living now with one potted citrus tree he and his wife had discovered that they fretted over and had just as much joy from that lone tree as they had had from the acres of lemon trees. Simpler, not more, was better.
This meant ofcourse that I could no longer do the project. Oh sure…Gregory could have been replaced but how would I have felt doing the gig knowing I was facing east into the sunrise of greed? I had to pass too and hope that I would grow up to be a better person for Gregory having led the way.
That was awhile ago now and I’m thrilled to say I have no regrets for having turned the job down. What I didn’t know at the time however was how big a tool Gregory’s example would become. His ‘legacy litmus test’ now simplifies my decision making process in most dilemmas. It brilliantly allows you to correct, re-set and not get hung up on past patterns.
I do allow myself the piece or three of chocolate cake but I’d like to think I’m doing a better job of holding to my own true North, a direction more important for all of us now than ever before. Thank you Gregory. Lead on.