Looking out my window in this stately British manor house in the outskirts of London this Monday morning has me reflecting on the long view … what endures over time … what legacies do we leave when our time is up… what really matters in the end?While this could be a heavy reflection, I’m in a lighter, springtime frame of mind, pondering how this amazingly beautiful place has evolved over the centuries from its humble 18th century beginnings.
So, let’s think about our lifetimes … what might we hope to accomplish, what mark might we leave, what might be our legacy?These questions occur to all of us, at times more than others; they’re part of being conscious beings, they’re rooted in our humanity.
And the lifetime of this stately home … the first buildings were built in the 1730s, the current one in the 1890s.It served as a family home for many years, a convent school, before its current iteration as a golf club, resort and conference center.I can only imagine the tensions and tribulations of the transitions between identities – the losses felt by the family as they realized they could no longer keep their home, the hopes of the FCJ sisters as they opened their convent school and their tribulations as they became aware that the school was no longer viable and that it was time to move on.The excitement of those who saw the possibility of a world class golf club and conference … Many iterations, many foundations, constant care and dedication with an overriding theme of inevitable change.
While each owner manifested a different vision, each also made decisions that laid the foundation for the next.From choosing a beautiful location, to cultivating the grounds, building a solid and beautiful house and expanding it in architecturally sound ways, each steward tended the property, preparing it for the unknown next chapter.Judging by the majestic hundred year old trees and legacy gardens, I imagine each did what was right for themselves and for the property and in the process, provided a beautiful legacy.They no doubt thrived in their own day while preparing for a yet to be revealed future.
As we witness the bursting forth of Spring, let’s take some time to reflect on the foundations we’re building and the gardens we’re tending.As leaders, how are our lives, our teams and organizations thriving today and how are we creating in ways that build for an unknown future, a future beyond our own time, a future to which we’re inextricably connected.