As we go through life, we leave a wake behind us in the results we produced and the lives we touched. I first heard this concept during a conference with Henry Cloud, and it has left its mark on me. Depending on your attitude about yourself, you may imagine your wake to be entirely positive, or entirely negative. In reality, it is probably a mixture of both.

In my opinion, the wake we leave with people is more important, and more lasting, than the wake we leave in tasks or results. Rarely do we remember people who delivered a particular project on time and how that changed our lives. Although I think working hard to deliver results is key to our success and fulfillment, changing lives is much more satisfying to me. The challenge is that it is very hard to know when you have done it.

Love Letter

I discussed that problem a bit in my post about being Defeated. In that post, I also mentioned keeping a file of “love letters” to help you remember you are doing a good job. I got one of those letters today, and it made my day.

Hi Dave
I recently transferred to [city] as the Training Team Lead directing a small team of 4 individuals to develop and design training programs and curriculum for operations and maintenance for [Company]. It is a very exciting time in my career development and I really feel our team will make an positive impact on the development of personnel. I’m not sure that this would have been possible without the interaction with RMG and in particular yourself. I felt I learned much from you in the short time we worked together on the incident management process. Hope everything is well with you and your family and thanks again for the part you played in my personal development.

We could talk all day about how to improve the wake we leave. However, this post is really about letting people know you benefitted from their wake.

Your Next Move

Have you been affected by someone in an amazing way? Write them a quick note and let them know. You will make their day, and improve your wake at the same time.