When It Ends

When you pack your office and look back for the last time, what will you think?  What will you feel?  What did you leave behind? What do you want to take with you? What will you miss? What part of yourself will you leave behind?  Which will you take with you?  Who will be part of you forever?  How will you say your last goodbyes?  What will you thoughts be when you look back at your office and the building you worked in for so many years and when you inadvertently start the next day habitually going back there until you stop yourself?  What expression will you be wearing as you reflect on the places and times you invested so much in?  Will it be one of fulfillment and satisfaction or will it be bittersweet?

All of us will most certainly experience this at a certain point in our lives. Why not start to vision that day today.  How would you choreograph your last day at work?  How can you live your life today and manage your thoughts and actions in line with that vision?

Start by paying attention to those things now.  If you will miss someone terribly after you leave, start spending quality time with them.  Get to know them and let them fulfill their role in your life.  If you want to be remembered for the culture of your workplace, start to personify it through your actions.   If you want your legacy to be that of a leader who thought about the organization first, make the difficult decisions now.  If you are not sure how you are being perceived or what others think of you, start asking them.  Then you will know what you have to do.

Are you taking time to think about these questions?  If you are not, towards what purpose are you expending your time and energy?  Time is the most precious commodity.  On average, you are spending 75% to 80% of your lives at work. What are you chasing?

The room is full and your colleagues have just toasted you.  What would you want to hear?  How genuine will it sound?  What will you say in your last speech?  Will it bring tears of genuine love? Or will they clap their hands politely?

And what of your home life?  When that day comes, will start to spend more time at home with your spouse?  Are you building the foundation for that today?   Or will your spouse feel intruded on and wanting to create space away from you?  Do you look forward to that day when you can spend more time with her/him, or are you thinking of ways to devote yourself to other ventures that will avoid that possibility?

How are you leading at home? Does your family respect you and look up to you? Or do they tolerate you or are nice to you because you provide financial security?  It is never too late to own up and ask them to help you be the kind of person that your spouse thought you were when she/he committed to share her/his life with you.  And your children want a mom/dad who is present.  Who knows the names of their friends? Who hears them with empathy and care and exudes the feeling of “I got your back and will be there for you…” Your family wants you to remember the special days and family rituals and lower your stance to be at eye level with them (literally and figuratively).

I think you can answers many of these questions.  If you think that there are gaps in your vision, commit and make time today to address them.

My hope and wish for you is that you make mindful and reflective decisions now – before the opportunities vanish and you have to face that bittersweet last day.

Questions for Online Conversation

  1. What are the three most important things you want to be remembered for at work and by your family?
  2. How close are you to that vision?
  3. What is missing? What can you do?

About Kaveh Naficy
Kaveh is the leader of Heidrick and Struggles executive coaching practice in North America. Kaveh focuses on working with leaders placed to make transformational and creative changes in their organizations. Kaveh has a proven record of success in harnessing the strengths of these leaders to achieve accelerated business solutions. He is able to create significant insights through reflective thinking, presence, and disciplined follow-through. Executives who have worked with Kaveh say that his strengths are his deep insights into the realities of the current and future business world, accelerated scanning of the environment and competition; creative out of the box thinking, and leveraging the collective intelligence of their teams and creating the organizational culture to support and foster the appropriate organizational design and strategies. They also point their deep trust and personal connectivity with Kaveh, his coaching approach, and style.

4 Responses to When It Ends

  1. Kathi Love says:

    Oh Kaveh, As you know I have experienced this. Your questions are certainly important ones and ones we should all be aware of as we go through our lives. But these are poignant questions and to ask them in the abstract leaves me wanting more connection. Maybe sharing your own experiences with this might connect to something even deeper in your readers. Thank you.

    • Kaveh Naficy says:

      Thank you Kathi. Great points
      My hope is for the site to create cross reader conversation and not focus on me
      Having said that I will keep your advice in mind and happy to talk offline

      Happy to talk

  2. Kathi Love says:

    I would very much like to talk. You have my email address. Why don’t you send me yours and we can figure out a convenient time.

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