Ever think about your own eulogy? Here’s why I do …

Picked up an idea recently that’s really been helping me.

It’s a simple thought that helps me shift my priorities and keep my life in balance. Think you’re going to really love it.

Let me know in the comments how this applies to you.



P.S. Fun section on networking for introverts (like me) at 2:40, and how to turn any idea into a habit at 3:50.

[ transcript ]

Hey, it’s David Levin. I wanted to quick share an idea with you that’s just been really helping me lately. And the idea is, stop working on your resume and start working on your eulogy.

What that means is, most of what we put our energy into is things that would look good on our resume. We want to grow the business, maybe start a business. Move up in the company. Come up with some killer marketing. Things like that. And those are all great. But when you go to a funeral, you never hear people talking about those kinds of things. Right? You never hear “Erica, she came up with the most amazing marketing campaign, she grew that division 35%.” You never hear that.

When you go to a funeral, what you hear is, the kind of person they were, and especially the kind of person they were to other people. They were kind and generous. They were genuinely interested in people they loved to help, they were fun to be around, they were curios,  always learning new things. Those are the kind of things we talk about.

And the reason we talk about those is, those are the things we actually admire in other people. Those are the kind of people we feel lucky to have in our lives, we miss when they’re gone, and we want to be like ourselves.

So if THAT’S the kind of person we admire and want to be, then maybe we should put as much energy into BEING that kind of person as we do into all those things we don’t really ultimately care that much about. That’s the idea. And this has really been helping me.

For example, one of the things I struggle with is shifting gears between work and home. When it’s time for me to come up from my office, sometimes my mind is still on the work. So I’m a little distracted and not that present.

So, at my funeral, would people say “David was really good at staying focused on his work no matter what. I mean even at home with the family. Wife, kids, didn’t matter. He was always thinking about work.” They gonna say that? No. That’s not eulogy material. What you want is, the opposite. “No matter how what was going on at work, David could always turn that off and be there with the family, especially with the kids.” That’s a good eulogy. Right? So as I’m making that transition from work, if I just remind myself, “Eulogy” it really helps me make that shift and be there.

Another one, if I’m going to an event of some sort, a conference, a networking event. My first impulse is to just go hide in the corner. Introvert. Not talk to anybody. The second, sort of a learned one, is to look for business opportunities. And the truth is, I don’t like either one of those. They both feel bad.

But again if I’m going in and I remind myself, “Eulogy: just be THAT guy,” that really helps a lot. So now I’m not going to do something that feels weird, I’m just going to meet people and see if I can help. So I get to know em. See what they’re working on. Maybe I know somebody. Maybe I’ve read an article that would be helpful.

So that’s just fun. It’s something I look forward to. And coincidentally, it’s also the way to get the most out of events like that. So it’s all good.

So that’s the idea, eulogy vs resume. And by the way, I got this from Arianna Huffington. I was at a conference where she spoke last Fall and she said “We’re doing great with our resume, but we’re not giving our eulogist much to work with”, and it really stuck with me. And I’ve been working on it ever since.

And as far as how I do that, this is pretty good tip. This is actually a way to take ANY idea or thought you hear and turn it into a habit, and it’s really simple. What I do is, I put a repeating item on my to-do list. I’m on a Mac. I use OmniFocus, sometimes iCal. So once a week an item that pops up that says Eulogy vs Resume. So that brings it back into my thoughts, I think about it, and over time that process will turn a thought like that into, just the way I think. That’s really great.

So anyway, that’s the idea, and like I said it’s really been helping me a lot lately so I wanted to share it with you, thought maybe it would help you too.

So the question for you is, for the comments today is where do you tend to focus – resume or eulogy? And what difference would it make if you started thinking about your eulogy like that? So go ahead and let me know what you think about that in the comments below. And if you’re not watching this on my site, come on over to davidlevin.com. You can put your comments there and also sign up for the mailing list so I can let you know when other things come out.

So there you go. Eulogy vs Resume. Hope you find it helpful. Start working on that eulogy. And I’ll talk to you next time.

1 Comment

  • Dan Conroy

    September 9, 2014

    Here is what gives me perspective about what is important in the here and now …

    Taken from Leo Buscaglia

    “There was a girl who gave me a poem, and she gave me permission to share it with you, and I want to do that because it explains about putting off and putting off and putting off – especially putting off caring about people we really love. She wants to remain anonymous, but she calls the poem, “THINGS YOU DIDN’T DO” and she says this”:

    Remember the day I borrowed your brand new car and I dented it?
    I thought you’d kill me, but you didn’t.

    And remember the time I dragged you to the beach, and you said it would rain, and it did?
    I thought you’d say, “I told you so.” But you didn’t.

    Do you remember the time I flirted with all the guys to make you jealous, and you were?
    I thought you’d leave me, but you didn’t.

    Do you remember the time I spilled strawberry pie all over your car rug?
    I thought you’d hit me, but you didn’t.

    And remember the time I forgot to tell you the dance was formal and you showed up in jeans?
    I thought you’d drop me, but you didn’t.

    Yes, there were lots of things you didn’t do,
    But you put up with me, and you loved me, and you protected me.

    There were lots of things I wanted to make up to you when you returned from Vietnam.

    But you didn’t.

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