Byron's Babbles

“What On Earth Am I Here For?”


Thomas Jefferson’s tombstone mentions several of his accomplishments but not that he was president.

It is important, especially as one ages, to think about the purpose of one’s life. The title of this post was a quote from Rick Warren during a keynote address at the Drucker School Alumni Alumni and Friends (Maciariello, 2014). Drucker (2014) believed it was important to ask yourself, “What do you want to be remembered for?” Honestly, in my view the thing that has the most worth of being remembered for is the difference one makes in the lives of people. Drucker believed that organizations should develop people and that the most durable ones do (Maciariello, 2014). Thus, why I am such a believer, as a leader, that we must strategically spend resources and time on developing our staff. I have personally committed a portion of my time to this with our new Focused Leader Academy.

IMG_0640-0As we age and mature we focus away from ourselves toward the contribution we would like to make in the lives of others. I have heard others ask it this way: “What would you want your tombstone to read?” When I think of this I am always struck by Thomas Jefferson’s tombstone. You would think he would have had President of the United States on it. But he did not want that because it was a personal accomplishment. Authoring the Declaration of Independence and founding the University of Virginia were accomplishments that contributed to countless lives at the times and now millions of lives since, including my own as a proud U.S. citizen.

So, I thought a little about my own tombstone. As of today, I would like for it to read: “14,030.” Leave it to me to have something off the wall like that. Let me explain. In 1963, the year I was born the average milk production per cow in the U.S. was 8,670 pounds per year. Now, 52 years later, the average per cow production is 22,700 pounds. This is a 14,030 pound increase in average per cow milk production in the last 52 years. As an guy who taught agriculture science for 26 years and marvel at the advances in genetics, management, and nutrition, I am in awe of a 14,030 pound increase in average milk production. Therefore, it is my hope that when my life here is over that it can be that I improved, lifted up, and made a difference in the number of lives (former students, staff, teachers, family, and acquaintances) that would be comparable to a 14,030 pound increase in milk production. I would say if others can say that, then my life will have been worth something.

What on earth am I here for? To improve and develop the lives of others.


Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.


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