Legacy. It’s a word that conjures up awards, accolades and even…obituaries. It’s used most often when talking about what is passed on from someone who is no longer with us. But what if, instead of waiting for someone else to decide your legacy, you had the power to determine now what you wanted your legacy to be? Jason Allen, a member of the team at AutoTrader.com (ATC) and one of our alumni, discovered firsthand that unexpected things could happen when he decided what he wanted his legacy to be.
A radio host was pleading with his listeners—a family on vacation was hit by a car going 70mph being driven by a teenager who had been huffing aerosol propellant. One of their children died, and the 3 others were badly hurt. Little Owen’s spinal cord was severed, leaving him paralyzed for life and at risk of suffocating. He needed to get from Florida to Ohio for a life saving operation, but the family didn’t have the means. Due to the nature of his condition, he couldn’t be transported using Angel Flight. A request was being made for listeners to help in any way possible.
Jason was driving to work listening to the host’s plea, and in that moment, something stirred in him. He remembered the legacy statement he had written on Values Day, a commitment ”to positively impact the lives of others through giving and growing.” He realized that this commitment wasn’t just about work and he considered, “If I want my life to positively impact the lives of others, how can I help this little boy?”
Upon entering the building, Jason saw a friend who worked in Community Relations with ATC (a Cox Enterprises company), and asked if the Cox corporate jet had ever been used for charity. He shared the situation and was encouraged to contact the Chairman of Board for AutoTrader Group, which he did immediately. To Jason’s surprise, he received a quick response from the Chairman indicating that he was traveling but would look into it and be in touch. Later that evening, Jason received a note—the Cox jet would fly Owen to Ohio for his surgery thanks to his request and actions of several others in the Cox organization.
Jason realized that his desire to leave a legacy of positively impacting the lives of others was big, but he could really live it. He had acted on the giving part and now he wanted to do something about the growing part. He petitioned for budget and sponsored his team through an experience with The Leaders Lyceum similar to his own.
After seeing a change in himself, he wanted to inspire change in others. The willingness to share his legacy values with his team, as well as encouraging them to identify and pursue theirs, had extended influence. In the coming weeks, you’ll hear how his commitment to growing also had unexpected impact on the lives of others.
When you clarify the legacy you want for your life, along with commitment to live it today, unexpected things may happen tomorrow. Why wait?