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You are searching the world for treasures but the real treasure is yourself – Rumi
In today’s society, it is very easy to think that estate planning or succession planning is only about your immediate nuclear family. However, as Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us:
“If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.”
With Seven Generation Thinking, the goal is to take a long term perspective of where you want your family and business to be in 150 years. Obviously, chances of you, or any of your immediate generation family members, surviving this full cycle are slim. However, it must be said that with new scientific breakthroughs occurring on a daily basis, the previous statement on longevity may dramatically change in a few years. Therefore, your objective with Seven Generation Thinking is to plant the seeds of success and significance today for future generations..
The best way to visualize Seven Generation Thinking is to follow these seven processes and principles to manifest it:
1) Respecting Traditions: Keep alive the memories and stories of past generations, along with the important values and traditions that you and your family are currently following and respect.
2) Utilizing, Documenting, and Preserving Best Practices: Every member of your family has unique abilities and gifts that contribute to your family’s success. It is important that you develop a process to properly utilize, capture, and preserve those gifts for the current and future generations. It is folly to presume that your family will have those unique strengths easily available within the next generation.
3) Finding Common Ground: In order to bring together your current family, and keep future generations unified, it is critical to find common ground that everyone is willing to support. Becoming a significant inter-generational family requires a higher purpose that all family members are willing to work towards.
4) The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts: Too often families confuse material success with true wealth. Just because one particular family member earns more money, or accumulates more material wealth, than other family members, it is important to remember that material wealth cannot be taken with you once you pass on. True wealth involves creating a pooled resource for the family, also known as the family’s culture, that captures each family member’s unique abilities, the various family life stories, intellectual capital, financial capital, experiential capital, relationship capital, and spiritual capital.
5) Life is the Ultimate Gift: Unfortunately one of the biggest crises of our time is that human life is being devalued in relationship to material wealth. In reality, every living being is already a trillionaire, at least in the living cells that create your body. It is important to remember that your treasure is meant to support your time and talent so you can fulfill your life purpose. Unfortunately, too many families have fallen into the trap of using their time and talents to solely accumulate worldly treasures.
6) Focus on the value of the Legacy you will leave behind versus the value of what you own: Whether or not a family member focuses on their legacy is irrelevant since everyone leaves behind a legacy. How do you want to be remembered by your loved ones, your community, and future generations? Live each day as if it were your last, doing the things that will make a difference, since one day you will be right!
7) Make a Choice and move Onward and Upward: Seize the day! Live with passion. Make each decision count regardless of the outcome. Every second that ticks by in your life s a second that will never return and has been spent forever. Make a difference in the world each day and fulfill your life purpose by sharing your gifts with others.
I hope that you too will join the movement of Seven Generation Thinking that Lugen Family Office supports with all its resources.
Your Family’s True Wealth is all-inclusive. If we were building your Family’s actual “Life Net Worth”, your assets would include the aggregate of the following for each family member:
1) Personal Capacities: What do you think, feel, and do wth your life and time? What are you doing about your health?
2) Relational Capacities: Who are the most important relationships in your life? What are you doing to nourish them? Who is in your World – family, friends, colleagues, professionals, community, church, country, etc.
3) Material and Lifestyle Capacities: What do you have in your life? Do you match your cash flow to your values? What are you attracting into your life and does it help you fulfill your life purpose? Are you living the life of your dreams? Are you being true to yourself or are you building assets for the sake of having the assets or to impress people you do not really care about?
4) Experiential Capacity: What are your core values? What meanings have you attached to your life experiences? What are you passionate about? Do you have a Bucket List of the most important things you want to experience while you are alive?
5) Spiritual Capacity: Are you a human being trying to develop your notion of a spiritual life OR are you a spiritual being living a values based human life? Are you a steward of God’s Will? Do you believe in a cause greater than yourself for the benefit of others?
Marian Wright Edelman says, “Service is the rent we pay for living. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time.” Richard Leider, in his book, “The Power of Purpose,” describes the following advice that Cancer Therapists Carl and Stephanie Simonton tell their patients,
“You must stop and reassess your priorities and values. You must be willing to be yourself, not what people want you to be because you think that is the only way you can get love. You can no longer be dishonest. You are now at a point where, if you truly live, you have to be who you are.”
This is something all of us should remember each day since one day will truly be our last. Leave your World a better place rather than leaving it with regrets.