Have you ever thought about writing your obituary? It may sound morbid, but this unusual exercise can offer a powerful perspective shift. Believe it or not, a mistaken obituary once led to the creation of one of the world’s most prestigious prizes!
Recently, on the Goals Do Come True podcast, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christine McCarron, an entrepreneur, realtor, and Queen Bee of the Beehive Coworking Community. During our conversation, she shared how thinking about her future legacy helped to crystallise her goals and priorities.
In this blog, we’ll find out why thinking about your death can make you live a richer life with clear goals.
You can listen to our full conversation here.
Visualising your funeral
Christine: “One thing that helped me visualise my future was writing my obituary and thinking about how I want to be remembered. I thought about what I would want people to say about me and then started working backwards from that.
It’s all about thinking: who do I have to be today to have someone say that about me when I’m gone? And that really helped me crystallise what kinds of things were important to me in life and the things I really enjoyed. I also started prioritising things like giving back to the community – donating money and so on.”
I don’t particularly like the thought of writing my own obituary but the logic is compelling. Take Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, for example. When his brother Ludwig passed away, a newspaper mix-up led to Alfred reading his own obituary instead. The article condemned him as the “merchant of death”, highlighting the destruction his invention had caused.
Shaken, Nobel realised this was not how he wanted to be remembered. This grim episode is widely believed to have prompted him to establish the Nobel Prize.
Just like Nobel, envisioning our own legacy can be a jarring but clarifying experience. The good news, however, is that there’ll most likely be time between when you write it and when someone else actually reads it!
Reconnecting with your goals
One of the benefits of having this moment of clarity is that it often allows you to reconnect with any goals you may have abandoned along the way. At the age of 50, Christine realised that she could do so much more with her life.
Christine: “When I was 50, I had this moment when I thought that I hadn’t accomplished anything. And then, I attended my aunt’s 100th birthday party and realised that I still had about 50 more years to get it right. And I don’t think I’m alone. I’ve heard a lot of people in their 40s say that it’s too late to achieve something or get on with their goals.
That’s why you need to help people reconnect with the goals they had when they were younger and help them realise that the world is still at their feet. Because goals are what keep you going. They make life fun, exciting, and worth living.”
I used to believe that 80 years was the benchmark for my life. But after living through a prostate cancer scare, surviving a near death experience in a motorbike accident, and hearing Christine’s refreshing perspective, I realised I had to change my thinking.
I’m now aiming to live up to a hundred years, which leaves me with about 40 per cent of my life to do the things I truly love.
Writing down your big, hairy, audacious goals
As always, I believe in the power of not just setting big, hairy, audacious goals but writing them down and reviewing them from time to time. When you write your goals down, you’re telling your subconscious that it’s possible.
More importantly, you’re empowering yourself to acquire everything you need to move closer towards that goal. The data that you need to achieve your goals is already out there. You just haven’t instructed your brain to find it.
I was curious to find out if Christine followed a similar approach to goal setting. As it turns out, she has a unique perspective on what BHAG’s mean to her.
Taking out the “big” in big, hairy, audacious goals
Christine: “I like to think of my goals as a logical next step rather than something big. If I think it’s big, then it’s probably going to be hard for me. But when I think of it as a logical next step, it happens!”
Do you agree?
It’s worth noting that even after you’ve written your obituary and fired up some new goals, there may be transition periods. Periods where you’re juggling a few bits and pieces, and you still feel like you’re not making any real headway.
In cases like this, there’s no need to put yourself under pressure for viable results. Cut yourself some slack and simply keep your eyes on the prize. It will happen sooner than you think!
Has this blog inspired you to think about the future or legacy you want to leave?
I’d love to hear about it! Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows, I just might get around to writing that obituary. And if you’d like an extra dose of weekly inspiration, join The Wealth Tribe today.