WHAT??? This sounds so morbid… It’s not, I promise you. In fact, it’s just the opposite!
I was listening to a Tony Robbins Podcast yesterday afternoon on my way to BJJ and I was reminded of this exercise. While it obviously sounds terrible, it’s the type of exercise, that if done correctly and intently, can potentially have life-changing effects.
Hopefully most, if not all of you, are familiar with Stephen Covey’s magnum opus “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” If you haven’t read it, stop reading this right now and go order it. You’ll be glad you did. No, really. Click the link, spend $20, and it’ll be at your door in two days.
Ok, now that you’ve read this book, you know that one of the habits, habit number 2, is to “Begin with the end in mind.” This means that before you start doing anything, you need to think about how you want it to look. How many of you have started a project full of amazing ideas and thoughts and energy only to stop about 30% through and say…”this is NOT what I thought it would be.” Well, usually that’s because we don’t take the time to visualize how we want it to look, act, feel or turn out. We don’t create the idea fully in our head before starting.
Do you want this to happen to your life? Do you want to wake up one day and realize you’ve been living a life with no purpose, connection or real relationships?
Of course not! Insert the Funeral Exercise.
1 | Begin with the end in mind!
Imagine that you’ve lived the best life you could possibly live. You accomplished all of your goals, helped millions of people, made millions of dollars, was an amazing partner to your friends and husband/wife, amazing father/mother to your kids, etc. etc. etc. Imagine that life is your life!
2 | Plan your funeral!
Now, it’s time for your funeral. As your friends, family, or colleagues get up and speak, what words would you want them to say? What exact words do you want them to say? How do you want to be remembered? Loving, Kind, Humble, Serious, Wealthy, Brave, Stubborn, Gullible, Selfish? As you’re listening to these people talk, write down all the words that come to mind.
3 | Now plan your life!
The qualities that you listed above are the ones that are important to you. Take those down and live your life with purpose to push you closer to those values. If you aren’t currently moving towards those values, you need to make some changes. Here are some questions to ponder while making this life plan.
What will be my legacy?
What habits are needed to lead me towards that legacy?
What habits need to be dropped that are moving me further away?
Who/what is shaping my life? Who do I give the time to? Who do I need to give my time to?
In the end, how do you want to be remembered? What do you need to change to make that happen?
Once you have the core values you want to have in your life, now you just need to make a plan on how to get there. Want to be more fit? Set a new workout regimen. Want to be more generous? Set a time each month to donate time to a shelter. Want to be a more loving person? GIVE MORE LOVE! Set your purpose that encompasses the values that you hold in high regard.
4 | Live this Plan!
Plan your work and work you plan. Now that you have an idea of who you want to be when you grow up, how you get there isn’t quite as important.
I recently just did this again and, man, did I realize that many things I was doing were not leading me in the right direction. Watching too much TV, sleeping in later than I am supposed to, procrastinating my planning, not saving enough money, going to dinner too often, etc. I actually wrote the last blog post titled “Falling off the Horse” shortly after completing this exercise because it’d allowed me to gain so much clarity in what I was doing wrong.