There’s nothing like coaching a dragon boat clinic and getting some family time. It was great, and was my agenda recently during a visit to a breast cancer survivor team I’ve coached in clinics for about three years now. For this most recent clinic, the team asked me in advance to come up with some team building exercises as well. After giving it some thought and building on some of my experiences, I arranged the following for the team:

In the morning, we gathered and some paddlers shared what pieces of the stroke they’d like to improve. Then, just before we loaded the boats for the first session, I told everyone that at lunch we would “build our team” by each of us sharing what we’d like our legacy to be, what do we want to be remembered for in this life. I shared in personal detail what my legacy is, and why. In a word, my legacy is giving and all the experiences I’ve had in life brings me back to that. The work I do in producing and managing dragon boat races also raises a lot of money for charities (so far nearly $250,000). I told everyone to think about what their legacy should be while we paddled in the morning session, and then we would share at lunch.

After the sharing started, I was surprised to hear how many women had never given that much thought about their legacy, especially considering I was in a room full of breast cancer survivors. It was amazing and refreshing to see how many women wept through their legacy presentations. It was equally as touching to see women standing beside them make a move to hold and comfort their teammate. A number of the women said the dragon boat club had given them something to live for, and in ways they’d never before imagined. Most of them said they wanted to give in some form – whether it be to help someone, to be a friend or to be a great family member. It was an amazing exercise in why and will – the why of what we do every day of our lives and the will to carry on, for whatever reason. We all leave a legacy. Make yours count to someone.