What will the most significant people in your life say about you when you are gone? This question may seem daunting or even shocking, but taking some time to explore it can have a deep impact on how you live your life over the years. It can also help you to be inspired and motivated to achieve the goals you set out to because it adds depth to your purpose. Suddenly it’s not only about you and your immediate family... suddenly it’s about the impact you have on every life you ever cross paths with and what kind of impact you have on the people you interact with.
How does this help you with your mission of mindfully setting goals for next year? Well, for one thing, it gets you thinking about the big picture. It also gets you into a headspace where you’re thinking about how other people perceive you and how you impact the lives of everyone you come across, from business associates to immediate family, extended family to closest friends, and any other community of people you might be a part of.
In his book The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber talks about this very exercise and has a great opening scenario I’d like to include here so that you can visualize the scene and get into your best mindset for imagining how it will play out.
“I’d like you to imagine that you are about to attend one of the most important occasions of your life.
It will be held in a room sufficiently large to seat all of your friends, your family, your business associates—anyone and everyone to whom you are important and who is important to you.
Can you see it?
The walls are draped with deep golden tapestries. The lighting is subdued, soft, casting a warm glow on the faces of your expectant guests. The chairs are handsomely upholstered in a golden fabric that matches the tapestries. The golden carpeting is deeply piled.
At the front of the room is a dais, and on the dais a large, beautifully decorated table with candles burning at either end.
On the table, in the center, is the object of everyone’s attention. A large, shining, ornate box. And in the box is … you! Stiff as the proverbial board.
Do you see yourself lying in the box, not a dry eye in the room?
Now, listen.” (p. 137)
Once you’re well on your way to imagining your funeral, take some time to listen to what each significant person in your life says about you. One or two paragraphs are fine for each person “speaking.” Some of the questions you may want to imagine each person’s answers to are:
· How did you impact their life?
· What did they love most about you?
· How did they perceive your life?
· What have they lost now that you’re gone?
One important aspect to this exercise is to imagine honestly. Be truthful with yourself about what might be said if you continue living your life the way you are right now. Are you happy with the outcome? Are you happy with how you’ve affected people’s lives? If not, what changes can you make now that will alter how this scenario plays out in your mind in a year, two years, five years, and so on?
Take note about how people see you, your achievements, your relationships, and your impact. You can use this powerful information to better create your mindful goals and your action plan to achieve those goals. Allow yourself to go deep; you may experience some emotional effects, but this means you’re on the right track. Let those emotions flow through you without judgment and learn from how you feel. If you notice any negative feelings about the way people remember you during this exercise, use those to gauge the things you’re doing that may need to change.
I know this is a pretty heavy topic, but your future self will thank you for taking the time to thoroughly evaluate who you are, where you’re going, what you’re doing, and how you’re doing it. As you begin planning for the upcoming year, this information could prove to be pivotal and essential for creating your best possible life.
As always, continue leading and learning mindfully as this year comes to a close and the door to next year’s opportunities opens. You’ll never know how epic your life might turn out unless you put your plans into action with the guidance of your goals!
For more mindfulness techniques, training, coaching, and executive insights, please visit www.ExecutiveCoachingUniversity.com.