Every family has its cherished family stories. In yours, maybe it’s the story about how grandma and grandpa first met at the county fair by the hot dog stand. Or the story about how uncle Bob got caught shoplifting as a kid and had to publicly apologize to the whole grocery store.
In the Hyatt family, we treasure the story of grandpa Elijah Hyatt. He ran a small-town bank in the Midwest. When the banks collapsed during the Great Depression of 1929, millions of people lost the entirety of their life savings. Grandpa pledged, “That will not happen to my customers. Not on my watch. I will do whatever it takes to make sure they’re okay.”
He used his personal savings to make sure his customers had enough money to survive.
He didn’t have to do that. He chose to. Because that’s the kind of man he wanted to be.
His actions changed people’s lives. His inspiring decision still impacts people to this day. Look at me, 91 years after it happened, still talking about what he did back in ’29. That’s what it means to leave a legacy. It means being the kind of person who leaves a mark on the world. A mark so powerful, it’s still felt even decades after you’re gone.
When facing challenging decisions, I often ask, “What would grandpa Elijah Hyatt do?”
What will you do?
In challenging times, and in sweet, easy times?
How will you live?
What stories will your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren tell about you?
Will they tell the story of how, during the Pandemic of 2020, you pivoted and adapted quickly to keep your business running…you maintained a resilient mindset…you took care of your employees and friends…you rallied to support fellow business owners, too…and the story of how, while quarantined, you and your kids reached out to others, sewed and funded face masks for healthcare workers, sent surprise donut deliveries to loved ones, checked in on the elderly? Decide what kind of story you want them to tell about you.
Start living that story.