If you were to die today what would your obituary say? What words would be shared at your funeral? Though a somber thought, thinking about this eventual fact of life makes me and perhaps you too – ponder our legacy.
Ever hear the quote: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”? Thinking this was from Mark Twain, I did some research and discovered it is actually a misquote, somewhat based on an actual incident. You can read the full story here.
But essentially he said, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
So let’s hope the report of any of our deaths is a false overstatement too, but imagine what would words would be used to describe your life? How would you like to be remembered?
What will be your legacy?
I began thinking about this when I wrote last month about Finding your Purpose series on Thursdays.
I suggested this practice before on retreats and in presentations as something to try. But last week I read the new book, Living Forward, a Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy and discovered a new and deeper perspective in this activity.
This book is a quick read and abounds with practical tips. I highly recommend it. I did get the book at no cost since I am part of the book launch team and am under no obligation to give it a high rating, but I am doing so anyway. This book is a keeper.
The chapter on Design Your Legacy is worth the price of the book. The book outlines a great detailed procedure for the exercise of considering your legacy. It offers a framework I had never thought of before for writing my own eulogy.
For example, you identify the key relationships in your life and describe how you want to be remembered by each group/person. This creates a series of “legacy statements” that form your eulogy. The authors give wonderful examples too to help in the process.
“Begin with the end in mind.”
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else.”
“God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow into them.”
Why would you ever want to write your own obituary or eulogy now when hopefully you have many more years ahead of you?
This practice creates an openness and mindset to hear God’s plan for your life.
Spending time writing this out clarifies priorities, helps in discerning, increases life satisfaction, enables you to say yes to the things that nourish your soul and no more easily to the things that take you away from your true calling.
No regrets. I don’t want to get to the end of my life full of “gee I wish I had’s” and unfulfilled dreams sitting dusty within my heart. I agree with this quote below and one of my favorites:
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.
This is my plan: I am scheduled to go on a four day retreat the end of March. I plan to take Living Forward Book with me and work through its exercises in the quiet still atmosphere where I hear both God’s and my own voice clearer. I encourage you to take some time in the next few months to try this practice also. And you may also want to get the book!
What do you think about the practice of writing your own legacy?
Hi Jean! I have been watching the videos from Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy, and I was intrigued by writing your own eulogy. It certainly makes you think about what your personal and professional goals are. I love their enthusiasm too.
So you would encourage me to buy the book? If you like it, I think I would too.
I’m SUPER excited for your retreat experience, I know it will be great. I will have to think about a retreat one of these days too. I always threaten to go on one, and then never seem to find anything that sounds good…
Have a wonderful Wednesday 🙂
Jean Wise says
Funny I have the book and kept the videos but haven’t watched them yet. The book is a quick and easy read. Don’t expect lots of depth. What I did like was its practicality. No excuses for not following their ideas. You could always look at it in the library first, then decide if you wanted to buy a copy. I do that quite often since my book shelves are so full. LOL
I am really looking forward to this retreat for several reason – it will be the end of March. First we go to Florida. yippee for two weeks. time for some rest and relaxation and attending the Florida Christian writers conference. looking forward to that. Been busy preposting blog post all this week. the beast is hungry. LOL
blessings, sweet Ceil!!
Jennifer Dougan says
Thanks, Jean, for these thoughts. I feel like I’m still processing and mulling them over…
Have a great week.
Jean Wise says
Thanks for stopping by and reading the blog, Jennifer
Martha Orlando says
I’ve never thought, at least for any length of time, of writing my own eulogy, but I can definitely see how doing so would truly focus our thoughts and energies on how we are living our lives, how we want to live our lives, and the positive imprint we can leave on others. As always, Jean, great food for thought and reflection. Blessings!
Jean Wise says
Like I wrote in the blog, I have thought about it, even suggested it to others. This is the first time I think I will do it . The book gives such practical tips to follow – makes it easier. no excuse now….LOL Blessings on your week, too, Martha
Nancy Ruegg says
I, too, think about my legacy, especially to my two granddaughters, because my grandmothers provided great influence in my life. I want to do the same!. The idea of legacy statements (similar to mission statements?) sounds helpful in providing focus. Thank you for highlighting this book!
Jean Wise says
What a neat memory of your grandmothers and how you too. Yes legacy statement are similar to mission statements but I think cover even more complete aspects of your life. Often I see missions statement broad. In the book there are multiple legacy statements that are then distilled into your eulogy. Intriguing thought isn’t it?
This post really resonates withme…I have been thinking on this quite often this year. I know you can’t
believe it (ha) but I will be 79 years in April and am beginning to realize
my years are certainly numbered. This is not a morbid thought as I am
certain of heaven, but I still have much I want to accomplish in this life
time…Will certainly be taking a look at this book. Thanks so much
Looking forward to seeing you soon.
Jean Wise says
I have always thought about this practice but this book provided such a good practical way of getting into it. made it much easier. I will bring it to Florida so you can look at it. Really any age should do this. can’t wait to see you – real soon too