Muddy Boots 2.0

Waer Muddy Boots 

Muddy Boots 2.0 Blog


Posted on March 26, 2023 at 12:05 AM



An amount of money or property left to someone in a will.


Denoting or relating to software or hardware that has been superseded but is difficult to replace because of its wide use.


I have a different definition.


I have been starting to think a bit more about legacy. Earlier this week, I spoke for the 15th year in a row to the senior engineering class at Rutgers. The professor there is an old friend who asked me to deliver my talk on leadership attributes based on my Muddy Boots philosophy, for which this blog is named. Later this year, I will speak once again to the final class of Leadership Inc with the same talk. Over the years, I have received more than a few letters and emails in response to an exercise I learned in a YPO presentation that I used in my talk.


It goes something like this. You have not been feeling well. You go to the doctor after going through a series of tests. The doctor sits you down and tells you the news is not good. In fact, he can't let you drive home because of your condition and bluntly tells you that you only have a few days left. He suggests you reach out, call or record your words to individuals you want to say goodbye to.

My question to you is whom you would call, what would you say, and what regrets would you have for things not accomplished? Lest you think this is an absurd exercise, listen to the 911 calls from the airplanes that crashed that day.


The good news is that you are not in the doctor's office or on that plane. But you have given yourself the gift of insight. The greater gift is if you are honest with your answers, you have the time to act on this insight. Some letters have been about reconnections, some about switching jobs, some about doing something new they had longed to try, and some about getting straight or sober. All have been about the intentional use of time, of action, after a period of reflection. I would suggest that going outside your comfort zone is the best way to learn. By doing the uncomfortable, we often learn the most, and it is rarely fatal. Scar tissue is often the best teacher.


I suggest you consider the exercise as time is a finite resource. It is also something you control. In the context of your legacy, it may be a most powerful act to impact your own. In a world filled with challenges and demands, it will be the time you consider well spent that will shape your legacy and deliver impact on and for others.


The five points I cover and what I think demonstrates leadership and creates legacy are:


1. Wear Muddy Boots. Go into the field in your boots and ask two questions. How are we doing? What can we do better? Then act on the information.

2. Be intentional with the use of your time. See the above.

3. Make it safe for your team to name the elephants in the room. Honest feedback and exchange are powerful fuels for an organization. Make sure one of the elephants is yourself.

4. Be consistent with your brand. What do you stand for, and whom do you stand with? People will follow the 4C's. People who care, people who are calm, consistent, and coach rather than tell.

5. Balance. We all need balance and self-care in our lives. It would help if you modeled that for yourself, your family, and the people you work with. It also helps with perspective, energy, and learning.


So, if today were your last day, who would you call, what regrets would you have, how would you have spent your time differently, and what risks would you have taken that you did not? Write them down and act on them with courage, capacity, and will. Act on them because you have the gift of time, and you have the gift of choice. Do not take that choice for granted.


And if you are so called, you might make that gift of choice available for others.


That, my friends, is how you build a legacy.



Dave Griffith is the Executive Director and Head Coach of Episcopal Community Services and the author of The Wear Muddy Boots blog.


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