See yourself going to a funeral. You walk inside the building to see friends, family and you feel the sorrow of losing, the joy of having known, that radiates from the hearts of people there.
As you walk down to the front of the room and look inside the casket, you suddenly come face to face with yourself. This is your funeral, three years from today. All these people have come to honor you, to express feelings of love and appreciation for your life.
As you take a seat and wait for the services to begin, you look at the program in your hand. There are to be four speakers. The first from your family (immediate or extended) – children, brothers, sisters, parents, nephews, nieces, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. The second speaker is one of your friends, someone who can give a sense of who you were as a person. The third speaker is from your work or your profession. And the fourth is from your church or some community organization where you’ve been involved service.
Now think deeply. What would you like each other these speakers to say about you and your life? What kind of husband, wife, father, mother, daughter or son would you like their words to reflect? Grandchild? Cousin? What kind of friend? What kind of working associate?
What character would you like them to have seen in you? What contributions, what achievements would you want them to remember? Look carefully at the people around you. What difference would you have liked to make in their lives?
If you participated seriously in the above visualization you touched for a moment some of your deep, fundamental values.
“Beginning with the end in mind” is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things.
Take the time to record the impressions you had in the funeral visualization. What did family say about your character, contributions, achievements? What did friends, colleagues, or someone from your church/community express about the same three things?
Now take a few moments and write down your roles as you now see them. Are you satisfied with that mirror image of your life?
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Stephen R. Covey
When I did this the first time my Grandmother had just been diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour, and this hit way too close to home. After a visit with her and hearing some of her wise words, I can home and really did the exercise. Was I the person I wanted to be, how would my loved ones remember me? It is very powerful to think of your life this way. I hope you take the time to do this, it really makes you think about what is truly important in your life,