Saturday, March 31, 2012

How to Write Your Eulogy




Imagine this: you are in a funeral home surrounded by your friends, family and other familiar faces. It's decorated with your favorite flowers. The photo on display at the center of the room is your own. The program has your name on it. You died last week.

This exercise is from the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey. 

Covey asks the reader to picture themselves at their own funeral and asks:
  • What are they saying at your eulogy?
  • How are they describing you?
  • What kind of impact did you have on them?

Covey makes an interesting point: There are various roles we lead in life, and many relationships that we choose to foster. Do you want to be a loving parent, a prolific artist, a constructive community member, an effective activist, or a passionate  careerist? 


Keeping the end in mind might help us set our priorities today.

Covey says the next step is to take that list and actually make it real by blocking out time on the weekly calendar. How many hours, days, weeks, months, years will we put toward it? This is the true art of scheduling. 

When I did this exercise I learned that self-discovery isn't easy. It takes effort to articulate values and life goals—but they are definitely there, sometimes hidden in the subconscious. I sat down with pen and paper one day and thought long and hard about Covey's words. 

It took some time, but I pulled a few things to the surface and found the spots in my schedule to make it happen. That's why I volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters—and during my busy months when I can't devote as much time to them, I can at least spread the word,** which is just as valuable.


It's a deep question to sit with, but I'm glad I did. I straight up asked myself:

What do you want in life? And what do you plan to do about it?


**There are 600 littles on the waiting list hoping for a mentor...just in Puget Sound alone. 
Most of these children are boys who don't have a strong father figure in their lives, but there just aren't enough male volunteers. If you know someone who might be a great mentor, let them know. It doesn't take much, but it makes a huge impact. 


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