Furthering a Father’s Legacy

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster

Leo Driessen portrait

Sometimes life hands you circumstances so precious, powerful, and synchronous that they’re hard to contain, much less express. I will try.

My dear father, age 96, died on Feb. 15. He found a way to leave this world about as well as anyone could: quietly, peacefully, in the home in which he was born, surrounded by family and friends. I feel immensely grateful.

Among his countless gifts: living life with a significant curiosity about the world, and with a contagious love of lifelong learning. He talked and wrote often about what he was doing to avoid boredom—-whether in WWII, in retirement, or at a droning business meeting. Clearly, his example helped inspire my career path.

I began uncovering that path exactly 25 years ago while reading the book What Color is your Parachute, about finding your right livelihood. It helped me realize how my desire to promote lifelong learning could be aligned with the world of work. I soon found a position in adult education, designing learning experiences for adults, and recruiting local and national speakers to teach them.

grouse mt sunset
That same year (April 1989), I visited Seattle and Vancouver BC for the first time. Part of the journey took me to Grouse Mountain just outside Vancouver. I vividly remember that night: the radiant sunset, and crying at the unspeakable beauty of Vancouver laid out before us. In those moments, I literally fell in love with the Pacific Northwest, knew in my bones I needed to call it home, and moved to Seattle 6 years later and launched this business in 1999.

Now, every day I run my business, I aim in part to bring my father’s example into the world of work to help you and your audiences learn what’s needed to be more effective, creative, and ready for what’s next.ted active logoFast forward to 2014, and next week, my career path will take me back to Vancouver and Whistler, BC to attend TEDActive. An affiliate of TED itself, the event and the TED brand are dedicated to giving the world “ideas with spreading.” TED is revered worldwide for showcasing the power of meetings, curiosity and indeed, lifelong learning at its best. As fate would have it, part of the event will take place on Grouse Mountain.

I look forward to standing again on that place high above Vancouver, gazing out onto the gorgeous Pacific Northwest, and feeling the literal and figurative distance I’ve traveled. I see myself grabbing hold of the power and breadth of what my Dad gave and inspired in me, and continuing to share his legacy with the world now that he’s here in spirit.

It may sound odd—-that it’s his example in his life—-and not the pain of his death—that brings tears to my eyes.

In my Dad’s memory, I am full of both *possibility* and *responsibility* to carry on his legacy.

This is my idea worth spreading. What’s yours?