Imagine walking into a restaurant in your hometown. As the host takes you to your seat, you run into a family you know from your childhood. This family shares the classic comments that we hear growing up around how they used to work with your dad and were childhood friends with your mom. They talk about how they remember you as a young child growing up and have been following along with your life through your parents.
These conversations are common in hometowns and highlight something about each of us: your name carries a reputation. Your last name means something to people.
What does it mean to be a ____ (Fill in the blank with your last name)? What does it mean to be a Peters, Smith, Morgan, etc.?
Are people impressed by your last name?
Is it respected in your community?
You may have a great reputation that has been passed on from your parents or grandparents. It is now your responsibility to carry that forward and make it even better. I’m fortunate that Peters has a strong reputation in my hometown and that presented opportunities or networks that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
You may not be proud of your last name. This is your opportunity to change the narrative. Your family’s past doesn’t have to define you. Today is your chance to change your family’s reputation.
You may be living in a new city where no one knows you or your family. This is your chance to build a strong reputation in your community. You don’t have the luxury of leaning heavily on what your family has built for you. I’m living in Atlanta while my entire family has grown up in central Illinois. I have the responsibility to represent my name well for my family back home and for my family in the future.
No matter which area you fall under, you can make the change for generations of your family. What persisted in the past doesn’t have to continue in the future. The way you carry yourself and show up will carry forward for your children and grandchildren.
This concept goes beyond family. What does in mean to work at your company, live in your neighborhood, or play your sport? The perception in people’s minds starts with you. It may take a long time to overcome past mistakes or hiccups, but you can help shift it.
Generations to come can be treated with respect and honor because of you.
What does it mean to be a ______?
What do you want it to mean to be a _______?
Let’s work towards that today.
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I appreciate you.