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Beginning with the end in mind is something I learned from Stephen Covey from his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Now, this is an older book, but its application is still very valid today. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend picking it up. Today my wife and I are traveling. We’re in beautiful Santa Barbara and I’m sitting overlooking the ocean and when I was talking to a client of mine I was talking to him about his goals and his dreams. We started to go through this exercise, which I’m about to share with you.

I call it to begin with the end in mind. What I want you to do is pull out your journal. If you’re sitting at home or you’re sitting at a desk, grab a journal, maybe even just a scratch piece of paper. If you’re driving right now or listening to this while you’re working out, that’s great too but remember to come back to this exercise because it’s truly life changing. Now, beginning with the end in mind, it starts off a little bit morbid.

What I want to imagine is what if you wrote your eulogy. You are able to actually stand above and listen to the crowd at your funeral. What are people saying? Now what I want you to do more specifically is pick out three people particularly. Now I want you to pick up someone from a romantic relationship. Now, this could be your current spouse or partner and if you’re not currently in a relationship, then I want you to pick your most recent relationship you were in, somebody previous to you.

I also want you to pick a coworker. Maybe if you own your own business that’s just an employee and the third person I want you to pick is a family member. Now what I want you to write out is exactly what you think each of those people is going to say about you. What are these people going to say at your eulogy? Now each person’s going to stand up and they’re going to speak about you. Now, what are they going to say?

Are they going to say, “Geez, Doug was such a hard worker? He worked 50 hours to 70 hours a week working on his business. Wow, we were so proud of him.” Or are they going to say, “Well, Doug was such an amazing friend? He was there every time I needed him. Whenever I needed advice or someone to even help me move or whatever it was, Doug was always there to lend a helping hand and an open heart.” Now, which one would you rather be?

What I want you to do is really write down these eulogies. What are these people going to say, and let’s compact this? Let’s use the power of compacted time. Let’s imagine this is happening three years from today. Three years from today what are these people saying about you? Also, what is the newspaper saying about you? When your obituary is written, what is that obituary saying? What I want you to do is write out actually what people are going to say today.

What are they going to say today about you? I want you to read that. Does that align with your values, who you want to be and who you’re being and showing up on a daily basis in your life? If it’s not, now is the time to change. Not later, not tomorrow, but right now. Right in this moment, I want you to make a choice, a conscious decision that you can change your future to be the author of your own story.

What do you want these people to say? For me I want my wife to talk about how much of an amazing husband I am and how loving I was and how I always took time out for my family. I want her to really speak and pour out the love and the love that I’ve had in my heart. My family, I want that to be very similar. I want them to talk about how much of a great man I was, how much I gave back to society but was always there for my family. I was always there.

Now you hear stories about people who say, “Hey, this person’s so famous. This person’s this.” Really your family just wants you to be your family, right? They don’t care that I speak. They don’t care that I coach high-level people. They don’t care about that. My family just wants me to be a brother and a son. They want me to show up, be able to toss the football around with my nephew and be able to bring a salad to the meal. They don’t care about my accomplishments.

What really matters to them is my heart and how that’s opened up. My employees, I have employees all over the world. I’m very fortunate because they’re amazing people. When they stand up to speak at my eulogy, to stand up at my funeral, I hope that they talk about what a great, compassionate boss I was. The fact that I take time out each and every month to help them up-level their lives, regardless of whether it’s within our business, whatever they’re doing, I check in weekly to see how they’re doing as well as their families. That’s extremely important to me.

I am always there for feedback. Now they don’t always reach out to me, and that’s fine. I don’t try to push that envelop, but what I want to hear from them from my eulogy is I want them to talk about that I was a kind, respectful, but also someone that pushed them, that made them push their boundaries. Now there are things that I want to change in my eulogy and every time I do this exercise there are little tweaks that I make in my life. There’s little conscious shifts that I make and say, “Maybe I’m not going down that path quite the way that I want to.”

Three years from now when people stand up and speak, I hope they cheer and celebrate my life. I hope that there’s some mourning of course, but I hope it’s a celebration. How many times do you hear people say that? “Hey, at my funeral I want it to be a party?” But are they living their life in a way that aligns with that goal? Now oftentimes a lot of the people that I hear that say that “I want it to be a celebration and people partying,” these are all business owners who are workaholics.

Now granted, my clients are business owners, so I know this avatar very well because I used to be this guy. I know it better than they think. The problem is they work their tails off looking for significance and also respect, but yet they’re not spending time on the quality relationships they have. So when people stand up at their eulogy all they’re going to say is, “Yeah, that guy John, he worked his butt off. We never really saw him. In fact, I really don’t know anything about him.”

Maybe they’ll get 20 people showing up, but who wants that? People want to be able to stand up and say, “Hey, this is what you stood for, this is what you believed. These are your passions and these are your hearts.” I want you to write that down, write your eulogy three years from now. I hope it’s much longer than that, but let’s imagine it’s three years from now. What are these three individuals going to say about you?

If it doesn’t align with what you want, what you want right now in your life for your story to be, then I want you to make changes. What are those changes you can make in this moment? The decisions you make today that can change that alignment? That’s it for me. I’m going to get back to the beach right now, but I wanted to share this with you. Remember, go over to AuthorOfYourOwnStory.com. We’re opening up the doors again for our university.

Now this university is going to include an MP3 player that’s designated, a journal, all the journal exercises you need for each and every month. These are going to be mailed to you, but they’re also going to be available to you digital downloads and we’re going to be meeting online each and every week to go deep, deep dives into this subject matter.

This is almost as deep as I go with my six figure clients who are paying me six figures to coach with me in these same practical applications. I’m going to share them with you on a massive scale. Get over there today. We only have a limited number of seats and I want to make sure you get in. That opens September first. That’s it for me today. Remember, go out and be the author of your own story.

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