In my twenties I began to read Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I felt that I had some grand purpose in life and if I could just get my habits under control I could achieve it.
Being only in my twenties my capacity for deep thoughts was restricted to the late night hours when they kept me awake battling for attention in my head. Something that years later, has not changed. My thoughts during daylight hours were a bit more shallow (am I pretty enough???) so I only made it to habit 2- ‘Begin with the end in mind.’
The premise of ‘Begin with an end in mind’ is that to live a principled life we must visualize the end of it and write a personal statement based on that vision. In simple terms; write your own eulogy.
Yes a little morbid, but it serves its purpose. If you were to have a hand in writing your eulogy what would it say? What do you want others to say about you?
I sat down one night determined to write this statement. I envisioned what I would want said about me and hours later, an almost blank page stared back at me so I left the writing for another day.
Days have now turned into years and I have yet to finish writing that statement. I have yet to finish defining my vision. I used to teach workshops on goal setting to some of my college students using the ‘begin with an end in mind’ premise to get them started. Each time I taught this I realized that the reason why this process in its more complicated form is difficult. It forces us to look at ourselves and compare the reality of our lives and the decisions we make with our vision and as a result we come to the realization that we often come up short.
I’ve often been told that I am too emotional, too intense, that I feel things too deeply. Now while on their own these comments don’t seem derisive, they were stated as flaws in my character. This hurt me and so I set out to not be those things, but recently I’ve started to think differently. I’ve started to think more about the legacy that I want to leave in this world. Those things someone made out to be my character flaws are the very part of my soul that make up who I am and the basis of my vision.
When I pass from this life I want it said that Libby…
- was kind to everyone she met
- lived every moment of her life with passion
- cried with me in sorrow and laughed with me in joy
- cared enough about the world around her to try to change it
- gave great hugs
- saw my potential even when I couldn’t and inspired me to live up to it
- helped me to see the world in a different way
- was a loving daughter, a great sister and the most awesome aunt ever
- was a dorky, goofy friend you could always count on
- danced like no one was watching
- was always just Libby without pretenses
If I could sum it up in just a few words, it would be these…. “My life was made just a little better for having known her.”