Here at Leadership Wired, we talk a lot about leadership and success in business. But as I’m sure you know, there is so much more to life than work. And with Father’s Day coming on June 15, I find myself thinking about the wonderful experiences I’ve had with my family – as a son, a father, and now a grandpa. There’s nothing I enjoy more than making memories with my grandkids.
Margaret and I just recently took our two oldest grandchildren, Maddie and Hannah, on a trip to celebrate their 13th birthdays. Our time together was wonderful, and we were very intentional about creating a memorable experience for the girls.
You can create positive memories with your loved ones, too. But they don’t usually happen by accident. Here are seven things you can do to make a memory that lasts a lifetime:
1. Initiative – Make Something Happen
As Lewis Carroll once said, “It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backward.” Life isn’t lived in reverse, yet many people focus more time and energy on the past than on the memories they can create today. Take initiative by doing fun activities, starting new traditions, and scheduling time together. Don’t let time just pass without making the most of it.
2. Time – Set Aside Time to Make It Happen
If we aren’t careful, the humdrum routine of life crowds out joyous moments with the ones we love. For most of my working life, I’ve made sure to put time with my loved ones on my calendar. We schedule our fun just as we schedule our work. Guard your calendar so that work never overruns your relationships with friends or family.
3. Planning – Plan For Something to Happen
Most people don’t lead their lives; they accept their lives. Consciously choose to live a life worthy of remembrance. Once you’ve scheduled your time together, plan it. You don’t need to overplan, but you do need to have an idea of what you’ll do and where you’ll go together.
4. Creativity – Find a Way to Make Something Happen
Sure, you could plan to sit indoors and watch a football game together. But where’s the fun in that? Be creative about what you do together. Last fall, we spent Thanksgiving week in New York City. This allowed us to visit the area where they inflate all the giant balloons for the Macy’s Parade, something that few people get to experience. Even though it was freezing outside, we made wonderful, warm memories with the family. Take your travels and fun times up a notch with creativity.
5. Shared Experiences – Make Something Happen Together
Memories are always better when you can share them with someone you love. Think of what your friends or family members would most enjoy, and spoil them by making it happen. Whether you build something, visit a favorite restaurant, or enjoy a concert, do it together to multiply the memories.
6. Mementos – Show That Something Happened
“Almost anything you do today will be forgotten in just a few weeks,” says John McCrone. “The ability to retrieve a memory decreases exponentially unless boosted by artificial aids such as diaries and photographs.” Take pictures, write in a journal, and buy souvenirs so that you have keepsakes to keep the memory alive. These physical reminders evoke the emotions of pleasant times spent with friends and family.
7. Relive the Memory – Talk About What Happened
In conversations, revisit your memories. Share stories and recall the humor in past events. Talking about your memories brings them to life and allows you to reconnect with the magical moments, as well as the not-so-magical ones. In our family, we’ve always asked the kids – and now the grandkids – after any experience together, “What’s one thing you loved?” and “What’s one thing you learned?” These questions have led to some great conversations that enriched the memories even more.
Have you ever considered the value that shared memories bring to relationships? Memories are meaningful because they are the exclusive territory of those who took part in creating them. There’s a sense of intimacy that comes from a shared experience, since only those involved have access to the memory of it.
Don’t miss the opportunity to make significant memories with those you love. Jobs and experiences come and go, but shared memories last a lifetime. They keep us connected in a special way. Take advantage of that blessing every day.