This is about the piece that shaped my year.
One of the best exercises we can do when we feel stuck is to write our own eulogy. It might sound morbid, but writing your own eulogy helps you get perspective and see the arc of you life from a different angle.
You won’t get to control or hear what people say about you when you’re gone, but you can consider, now, while you’re still alive, what you would want them to say, and then go about living that life.
There are many ways to approach this exercise. But sometimes, the best way is simply to seize a moment when it flows to you and start there. This is how I wrote my eulogy.
Give it Space
After returning from my workout during a 3-week break to reconsider my vision for the year and for the next few years, I sat down and started to write. I typed on my iPhone in the DayOne journal app.
Over the course of hours, everything unspooled into a massive 8,000-word journal entry.
No thoughts. Only pure emotion.
In my life, all major moments of change have occurred on the “2” year in every decade: 12, 22, 32. I was 6 weeks away from 42, and I knew this would be a year of epic change and growth.
For as much as I write, I rarely allow myself to write in that way:
Unfiltered. Unedited. Unrestrained.
When I finished, I left it there. I didn’t share it with anyone.
Writing Your Eulogy Will Change You
In 8,000 words, I covered a lot of ground — superficial things like how I want to plan my grocery shopping better, ideas about what it really means to define a brand, thoughts about how the real estate industry and others are completely missing the point of what they should be doing.
But the heart of it was a reflection on my life. On what really matters.
I reflected back on a decade of work, on the changes I was considering in my business and in my life. And somehow, as tends to happen when writing, it evolved into something else.
I veered to that place that can be difficult to face, but that helps us get clear on what is really at stake for us: the eulogy.
Specifically, my eulogy.
You Don’t Control Your Legacy
For all that people talk about legacy, here’s some hard truth: we don’t get to choose our legacy. You can do the greatest work in the history of the world but you have no guarantee that people will remember you for that work.
Our legacy is determined by others.
But I wondered what people might say at my funeral. What would I want them to say?
Suddenly, words poured out of me. It was as if another being took over, writing about me, as if I wasn’t there, tapping my fingers on the small keyboard of my iPhone.
When I looked up, a couple of hours later, I had this piece that showed me my greatest gifts and my flaws. It was honest in a way that most people are not when you ask them for guidance.
I didn’t write it. It came through me.
From that moment forward, I endeavored to live more in alignment with what I wrote that day.
Reading that back as I engaged in my year-end reflection ritual, I realized that this is a perfect tool for checking in with how I’m living and where I’m headed. It works at any time of year to remind me of where I still need work and how I’m growing. It keeps me aligned with my values and how I say I want to live.
Why Write Your Own Eulogy
Writing your own eulogy can be a powerful way to uncover your values, as well as your life’s mission and purpose. It can give you perspective about makes a successful year or life.