Here’s a creepy, but well-worth-the-read key to success. Allow me to take you to a special place of imagination. Think of this as envisioning, if you will. Again, it’s a creepy sort of envisioning, but it will likely end up being a key to success for you in both your life and career.
Since you’re reading this, I cannot ask you to close your eyes, but I will ask that you read slowly…stopping ever so often to allow the scene I’m about to describe to become vivid in your mind. So, don’t just read what I’m about to say. Feel it. Touch it. See it.
You enter a large room unnoticed. You’re not sure why you are there; you just know you are supposed to be present.
The first thing that strikes you is the room is overflowing with people. It’s packed. Wall-to-wall.
You also notice it’s a formal occasion, and you begin to sense a mixture of gratitude and joy along with sadness and sorrow. It feels sort of strange—celebratory, yet heartrending.
There are seats in the room, and they are arranged in such a way that you realize there is going to be a presentation. Additionally, you notice a large, strange box, along with a microphone, at the front.
You continue to be amazed with the “feel” of this place. Smiles and hugs mixed with tears. It’s the people present that make the room feel so warm, comforting, and thankful; yet, again…sad.
The formal ceremony starts and you still go unnoticed, sitting in the shadows in the back of the room. One by one people stand and speak about a person—as if each is introducing this individual to those in attendance…yet not. Each presenter tells stories that reveal this person as being someone of outstanding character who has a passion for life and has impacted others. They describe an individual who seems heroic and, at times, larger than life…yet very much human and authentic.
What’s even more amazing is that the people speaking are not star-struck fans who view this person from a distance. They represent those closest to this person. The first speaker is a son. The second a daughter. Then a neighbor shares, along with a friend from church. Soon a co-worker says a few words, followed by a community leader. Finally, the spouse speaks. Each person shares stories and insights from their perspective, and while each perspective is different, each ends up communicating the same basic things about this person.
The love in the room is so rich you can feel it. The respect and appreciation so thick you can reach out and touch it. Again, there is sadness, but the sadness is bested by admiration, gratitude, and indebtedness.
As the ceremony ends, most people linger, continuing to share stories with one another. Still unnoticed, you wander to the front of the room to examine what the odd shaped box is all about. As you approach, you stop and stare.
It’s a coffin!
You decide to move closer so you can see the person inside. To your amazement, you know this person. In fact, you know this person very well.
The person is you!
I started Live It Forward LLC several years ago. At the root of everything this company does is one idea—helping people experience real success by empowering them to live it forward in the most important roles of their lives.
So how can people live it forward in the most important roles of their lives? How do they decide what they truly value and then live accordingly? How do can they practically guarantee their own success?
In my mind, one key to success in living it forward is to metaphorically attend your own funeral. Think deeply with me for a moment…
- What do you want your son or daughter to say about you at your funeral? Answer that question and then live accordingly.
- What do you want your neighbors and friends to say about you at your funeral? Decide now and live that way.
- How about co-workers, business associates, and clients? Live accordingly.
- What about your spouse? Live it!
Bottom-line: Truly successful people live and lead their lives from the inside out. What this means is that a key to success for each of us it to decide today what character qualities we want mentioned at our funerals, along with what contributions and achievements we hope will be highlighted, then “live it forward” so that these are the things that are said about us at our funeral.
I’m up for it! How about you?
(NOTE: I was originally introduced to the “attend your own funeral” concept reading the work of Stephen Covey. His book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People , has a similar story in a chapter entitled Begin with the End in Mind. This book is in my top three most impacting books I have ever read and has been a major key to success for me. If you want to live it forward in the most important roles of your life, READ THIS BOOK!)