Few things in life tell a story as clearly as your money and your time. To what we give our money and our time tells the world who we are and what we value the most.
Most people live each day not realizing the message they are communicating to those around them, and some people just don’t care, but the story we write with our money and our time will be the legacy we leave.
I realized this when I was a 15-year-old boy living with my father in a one bedroom apartment. He slept on a bed in the bedroom, and I slept on the couch.
All of my other friends had their own rooms with a bed and furniture, and they had their rooms decorated with posters and Lego sets they had built over the years. I had a coffee table and a lamp next to the couch to call my own.
One day, after a trip to the store, I looked at the receipt. Cigarettes, $20. Beer, $10. I started doing the math, and I realized that my dad spent $200-$300 every month on cigarettes and beer, and the story was crystal clear. Rather than provide a room and a bed for his 15-year-old son, he chose instead to make himself feel better.
On the contrary, my high school basketball coach made it clear that his family and his players were most important in his life. When my basketball shoes ripped midway through the season, he drove me to Jerry’s Sporting Goods to buy new shoes. When my car wouldn’t start one morning, he came over to my house and fixed it. And when I thought I would have to quit basketball midway through my senior year to start working in order to help my mom pay for braces I had to have, he found donors who were willing to help with the cost so I could keep playing ball. With his money and his time, he told me that I was important and that he cared about me.
To those around him, he was a legend, the winningest basketball coach in the state of Missouri. To me, he was family.
Some people spend a lot of money on junk food, or new cars, or golf (guilty). Others spend their time serving the homeless, coaching their daughter’s softball team, or helping others lose weight or manage their finances better.
Each person, whether they realize it or not, is telling the world what they value most and leaving their mark on this world.
It’s inevitable that you and I will be remembered for something. The question is, “For what will you be remembered?” What mark will you leave? What will your legacy be? What story will your life tell?
The good news is that, regardless of what you’ve done up to this point, today is a new day. You can change your mark, you can begin a new legacy, you can spend your money and your time differently today than you did yesterday. It’s not too late. It’s never to late to change.