Before I die, I want to…

Before I DieBefore I die, I want to… (fill in the blank).

What did you write? What is important to you? Here are a few of the things I wrote:

  1. Travel to New Zealand and Australia with my boyfriend and hold hands on the beach and smell the salt.
  2. Dance like I’ve never danced before.
  3. Travel with my immediate family to some place cool.
  4. Not worry so much and relax.
  5. Have a bigger impact on others in regards to uncovering their purpose.

The reason this topic came up was that I was listening to a powerful podcast on the TED Radio Hour, Rethinking Death. There was a segment about an artist in New Orleans, Candy Chang, who lost someone very close to her and decided to mount an interactive art project to a building wall titled “Before I die”.  It got her and others thinking about their life.

As a career coach, I have my clients write their eulogy. The reason I do this is that many of them come to me because they are seeking greater meaning in their career and in life. I felt that writing one’s eulogy was one of the best tools to understand the impact they want to make and the legacy they want to leave behind.

Career can be a tool of living one’s legacy. I know several people that do not care for their career, but they love that it provides the income to make the impact they want in their free time. I also know many people who live their purpose through their career (including myself).

However you view the meaning of career in the context of legacy, I love the prompt “Before I die, I want…” and the exercise of writing one’s eulogy because it gives us insight to how we want to live, what’s important to us and how we want to be in the moment.

If you want to write your eulogy, here’s how you can do it.

Imagine that your family, friends and loved ones wrote a eulogy or speech for you at your funeral. How do you want to be remembered?

To help get you started, here are some questions to think about:

  1. What are some professional goals/milestones you’d like to achieve during your career? E.g. He taught me…; She invented…
  2. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? E.g. I would start a business; I would change careers.
  3. Which positive personality traits and values would you like to be remembered for? E.g. She was kind- hearted and valued supportive friendships.
  4. What would you like people to say about your contribution to your family, your community and the greater world? E.g. He was a supportive partner; She served her community and neighborhood by…
  5. Are there any personal goals you want acknowledged? E.g. She ran 10 marathons; He hosted the best parties; She a made beautiful jewelry.

You don’t have to have your dream career in order to start living your legacy. You just have to discover what you want your legacy to be and then you can choose to have your career to support it.