Legacy and tipping points

By Dave Henning / July 6, 2023

“Legacy is not what you accomplish.  Legacy is what others accomplish because of you.  It’s growing fruit on other people’s trees, and it often starts with please, sorry, or thanks.  It’s being bold enough to offer help.  It’s being humble enough to accept help.  Those are the moments that turn into tipping points.”- Mark Batterson

“If you succeed without suffering, someone else did.  If you suffer without succeeding, someone else will.”- Joel Schmidgall

In Chapter 2 (“Open Sesame”) of Please Sorry Thanks, Mark Batterson underscores that for every success story, there is a backstory.  Actor Sidney Portier serves as a case in point.  In 1964, Portier became the first Black person to win an Academy Award for Best Actor (“Lilies of the Field”).

Above all, long before Queen Elizabeht knighted Sidney in 1974, his mother taught him an important lesson.  To always say please and thank you.  Many times, those words opened doors for Sidney.

However, as a teenager, Portier failed an audition at the prestigious American Negro Theatre in Harlem.  Because he couldn’t read the script.  So, Sidney started working as a dishwasher.  An elderly Jewish waiter found out about Portier’s reading problem.  So, he patiently mentored Sidney for many weeks.  Years later, Portier received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.  Sidney took time to pay tribute to that elderly Jewish waiter: “A little bit of him is in everything I do.”

Hence, Pastor Batterson concludes, the genealogy of success includes people the world never finds out about.  But you wouldn’t be who you are without those people.  Yet, their sacrifices set up your success.

As a result, Mark exhorts:

“Again, every success story has a backstory.  There are people who are looking over our shoulders, people on whose shoulders we stand. . . .  Who is your cloud of witnesses?  Whose portraits hang on the walls of your soul?  Who believed in you when you doubted yourself?”

Today’s question: What do you see as your legacy?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A ray of sunlight – pretty please”

About the author

Dave Henning

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