What I learned from attending my own funeral.
One of the most magical chapters in Steven Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” is, ironically, about the end of life.
The chapter begins with a fascinating exercise (see a condensed version below.) You can easily complete this exercise in just 15 to 20 minutes, but the result will be a treasure you can carry forward with you the rest of your life—your own personal definition of a life well-lived.
All you need is a piece of paper, a pen, and a quiet spot.
Your funeral starts here.
In your mind’s eye, visualize yourself going to the funeral of a loved one. Picture yourself driving to the funeral parlor or chapel, parking the car, and getting out. As you walk inside, you notice the flowers and the soft organ music. You see the familiar faces of friends and family. You feel the shared sorrow and joy of having known and loved someone radiating from the people at the service.
As you walk down to the front and look inside the casket, you suddenly come face to face with yourself. This is your funeral. All these people have come to say good-bye to you, and to express feelings of love and appreciation for your life.
As you take a seat and wait for the service to begin, you look at the program. There are to be four speakers today—four eulogies for you.
The first eulogy is from a family member . . . write down the kind of husband, wife, father, mother, brother or sister you would like his or her words to reflect about you.
The second eulogy is from a friend . . . write down the kind of friend you would like him or her to be able to describe.
The third eulogy is from a colleague from work . . . write down the kind of work associate or teammate you would like him or her to describe.
The fourth eulogy is from a member of your church or service group . . . write down the kind of volunteer contributions or works of service you would like him or her to attribute to you.
Now visualize the specific people at your memorial. What difference would you like to have made in their world, if only you were still alive.
Now open your eyes. Congratulations, it’s not too late! You have a fresh start on the kind of life you really want.