At the end of the 20th Anniversary Global Best Practices Conference, this is the word that stayed ringing in my ears.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of other ideas, insights and thoughts sparked throughout this experience. But, the concept of “legacy” seemed present throughout the event.

The word was used and implied in a lot of ways. Here are the observations that stuck with me.

  • Legacy means different things to different people. Leaders at this event talked about legacy as something you manifest when your intention, action and impact converge. Too many define legacy as something you leave behind. Great leaders view legacy as something you create.
  • It is never too early to start thinking about your legacy. Granted, the audience at this event is skewed towards those in the latter half of their careers, but these inspiring leaders have been carving out their legacy for decades.
  • The most important part of legacy (and maybe the only part that really matters) is the impact you make on others. It is overwhelming how committed the executives and organizations who are a part of the Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) community are to making a positive impact on people: their employees, customers, communities and even their competitors. Legacy creation in action. It’s a side of the restaurant business I wish more could see.
  • Celebration of legacy should happen along the journey of creating it. Wally and Joni Doolin have a legacy of service, impact, mentorship, caring, performance, courage and more. And, while I have no doubt their legacy will continue to grow exponentially in the future, the most powerful part of this year’s event for me was to witness the celebration of their existing legacy. Too often, we don’t celebrate legacy until those who created it are gone. At the same time, those creating the most powerful legacies often don’t (or won’t) stop to be recognized because they are so committed to their purpose and journey.

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I am glad I was there to participate in the celebration of a legacy. While it was clear to me that Joni and Wally would have preferred to spend their time celebrating others, it was an important and rare moment where those who have been impacted by another’s legacy had the opportunity to recognize those who created it.

I left the Global Best Practices Conference inspired and called to greater action in my own life to reflect upon the legacy I’m creating and the impact I’m making on others. I’m also compelled to look around in my life to call out and celebrate the legacy of those who have had an impact on my life and my community.

How about you? What legacy are you building? And whose legacy in your life needs to be celebrated?