Belonging Impact Kindness Purpose Vision

Walk of Life

Leaders care about and work carefully on their image. They don’t have seventy years to build their legacy and often have to do so within a few years.

The Queen of England has died.

I wrote this piece the morning after her death was announced.

Seventy years she devoted her life to serving her country.

Suddenly I’m reminded of a song by Dire Straits called ‘Walk of Life.’

The tune enters my head. 

“Dedication. Devotion.”

A ninety-six years’ Walk of Life’ of which seventy years were dedicated and devoted to being the Queen of England.

Broadly covered and reported on all possible news outlets and social media around the globe. 

Here’s a quote from one of the English newspapers this morning.

“Our hearts are broken: It just seems unimaginable. That wisest and most steadfast of women, our guiding light in the darkest of nights, has gone.”

The Daily Mail
It must be unimaginable. 

9 out of 10 people on this globe only have known the Queen as the monarch of the British Commonwealth. 

When you’ve never been exposed to another person in a role, it will feel weird when someone else takes over.

I grew up with two Queens (I mean two women who were the Queen) in my country, the Netherlands, until a few years ago when we got a king.

I’m still not used to it. He’s my generation; he’s a bit clumsy and doesn’t come across as very warm. 

I’m afraid King Charles III will await a similar faith. But who knows?

How can you succeed someone that has been forever your Queen?

The Queen was known for her dedication, integrity, respect, and compassion.

Those were the words I read most from people who knew her.

She’s also characterized as friendly and someone with an excellent capability to read and understand people.

On a side note, I wonder what she thought of Boris Johnson or Donald Trump.

To me, she always came across as a bit distant and cold. 

I never witnessed a lot of emotion. Not when Diana died, not when her husband Philip died, not when some of her grandchildren or great-grandchildren were born. 

It probably comes with the job.

You’re supposed to be steadfast and at all times demonstrate you’re the country’s ‘real’ leader. But it also makes you come across as insensitive.

As stated above, she was not. 

I also wonder how much time she spent thinking through how she wanted to be perceived.

She was 26 when she became Queen.

Did she think through the words she wanted people to say about her when she would no longer be Queen or die?

I don’t think so, but still, she’s leaving a legacy behind.

But how much of that legacy is because she’s the Queen en how much because she’s Elizabeth?

I wonder what will happen to Charles now he is the new King. Will his image improve suddenly? 

Speaking of image, I would love to know what Boris Johnson thinks now. 

He’s only three days out of office, and his successor inherits a huge opportunity to work on her image as the leader of the British government.

Of course, it’s opportunistic of me to think this way, but this is the way of the world these days.

Leaders care about and work carefully on their image. They don’t have seventy years to build their legacy and often have to do so within a few years.

It matters to think through what you want to be known for, your purpose in life, and your legacy.

You probably won’t have 96 years on this planet, and for sure, you won’t hold one job for 70 years.

God save the Queen!

Your turn: What do you want to be known for?

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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