If You Want to Leave a Footprint Don’t Drag Your Feet
I came across today’s theme by accident when I was looking for some other information about leaving a legacy that I spoke about last week.
If you want to leave a footprint don’t drag your feet.—Arnot L. Sheppard
This quote just stuck with me, so much so that I couldn’t shake it to work on something else. There is just something about the phrase that makes me stop and think…probably because I am very mindful that we will all leave a legacy of some sort, but in addition to that, the thought of leaving a lasting legacy that has an element of time and strength and power of lifetime memories is at play with these simple words.
If you want to leave a footprint don’t drag your feet.
So, since I couldn’t shake the thought, and since this is my Mother’s Day show, let’s spend a few minutes on this thought and how it can be a blessing and a memory that will last a lifetime.
I’m sure you were told 100 times not to drag your feet, to get going and stop wasting time, when you were younger (and, for some, maybe even today). Although that is part of the equation, the bigger thought is that decisive action is long remembered and many times more appreciated than slow, meandering steps that take a while to arrive to the final destination.
I see this in the lives of friends and family. Sometimes, making a quick decision that is well thought out may be painful at the moment, but over time it is the best decision, especially if you want to move forward in a job, a relationship or with personal issues that you are dealing with. Taking positive, forward-moving action in a timely manner might be the best direction you can take.
The overall idea is that you should consider taking decisive action, so that you will leave a recognizable footprint, instead of a slight mark or a smudge on the sands of life that will be washed away with the first wave of trouble, pain or loss.
The reality is, no one is overly impressed when you half-heartedly show up. It gives the impression that you really don’t care, or you don’t want to be there. You know, the old line is true: if you’re going to show up, then show up with all of you, because nobody appreciates a half-hearted effort. Goodness, if it’s that painful, then don’t go at all and save the rest of us from your bad attitude.
Being half-hearted is frankly giving the least of you, barely enough to get by, and certainly not enough to be remembered by, so if that is how you want to show up, more power to you, but you instinctively know it’s not a good impression or a legacy of any remembrance.
I would surmise that your friends and family deserve more than that, and I’ll go out on a limb here for Mothers Day, and say that your mother deserves more than your annual cheapest-you-can-find-drugstore-card and that box of Whitman chocolates or, dare I say, the all-you-can eat buffet for her one day a year.
Come on kids! Show dear Mom with a decisive action your love and appreciation. Even if you have a strained relationship, at this age, let it go and grow up and do the right thing. Even if Mom isn’t all you had hoped for, remember, she’s all you’ve got, so for one weekend day can you show a little kindness?
Okay. That’s my pitch for Mothers day. Please, just remember to be nice. By the way, I will add that this older generation is quite scared these days. With all the unrest they see on TV, the fear of reduced Social Security and the insecurity of Medicare and Medicaid, growing old is not easy.
Now, back to you and the footprints you are leaving in the lives of those around you.
Let me discuss three reasons why it is important that you leave discernible footprints for others to follow:
First, if you consider yourself a leader or would like to be, it stands to reason that you’re a leader if you have followers. Frankly, the best way to have followers is to have some sort of guide for them to follow.
When you study the lives of military generals you will quickly discover that one of the strongest traits they have and look for in those they lead is the ability to take decisive action, because for many, lives could be at stake and there is precious little time to waver.
But where do they learn the art of action? I believe for some it is recognition that time is of the essence, and waiting for something to happen could be the end of the situation. No one is safe, if they just sit and wait and wait and wait, no, someone needs to step up, review the plan and then take action for the safety of the whole.
I have always said that leadership is about making a decision and sticking with it. A good leader will assess the situation and then do what is best for those in their care. This is not a time for self-aggrandizement. True leadership shows the way for others to follow to safety. Leadership is leaving a recognizable footprint for others to follow. So if you want to leave a footprint, don’t drag your feet.
Second, it’s important that you leave a discernible footprint for others to follow is that, one day, all that we will remember about you is what you’ve left behind. Your words, your actions, your legacy are the memories we’ll take with us ‘till the end of our days.
You have a choice in life—you can lead or be led. And I am sure many today adhere to the line of Lead, follow or get out of the way. I am a fan of the famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt,
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
To be fair, in reality, sometimes you will go down in defeat, but be assured at least you made a difference fighting the good fight and no longer live in the gray twilight that does nothing, because doing nothing leaves nothing but a shallow smudge on the beach, leaving no discernible footprint for others to follow. Remember, If you want to leave a footprint don’t drag your feet.
My third thought for today is this. Some of you have become very comfortable dragging your feet in your life, and I am here to tell you that you’re wasting valuable time due to your laziness. Yes, I use the word “lazy” because I’m guessing (whether you’re at your home or at the office), without a doubt, there is a pile of work you need to finish, or the taxes you need to work on that still are not done from last year, or the writing of your will and arrangements for your life’s end that you’ve been putting off for who knows why.
Let me dig deeper and ask why you’ve let your personal life get so messed up with your social drinking that has now gotten out of hand; or the pain pills that are now an addiction; or the hours you spend online looking at sites you know you’re not supposed to be into, because there is no good ending of what you’ve been watching–it only leads to the destruction of your marriage and alienation of your friends and family who, when they find out, will lose all respect for you.
Friend, today is the day to pick up your feet and start running away from the impending fire that is about to burn down your life. These hidden habits will reduce you to nothing but ashes, and then your life won’t leave a footprint or even a smudge, and I can’t think of anything sadder than your amazing life being wasted.
I believe that, if you want to, you can leave a footprint for others to follow, but for that to happen you’ve got to stop dragging your feet. Let today be the day you get up and go, because it all comes down to choices, friends, and your choice today is this, If you want to leave a footprint don’t drag your feet.