Are you living the life you want to be remembered for?
Sure, people may remember you lived in a big house and drove an expensive car. They may remember you held a particular job title.
But will they think of you after the casket flowers have wilted and the funeral dinner has ended? If they do, it won’t be for the things you had, it will be for what you stood for, what you did for others, and how you made them feel.
Do you know how you want to be remembered? You can create your vision for who you are and how you want to be remembered in five words.
To know what things you want to be known for and remembered for, engage in this exercise with me.
First, in one minute, write down as many words as you can think of that you would like people to use to describe you. These are things that you may want to aspire to be better at, or a trait that you’ve witnessed in others and have seen first hand the profound effect it can have. They are the traits that make you say, “Yeah, I want to be like that person.”
I bet you have an impressively long list.
Now, cross off all but five of them. It’s not possible to be all things to all people all the time. We have to make choices about which things are most important to us.
Give yourself no more than five minutes to whittle the list to five. These will be the ones that you’ll recognize about which you’re unwilling to compromise.
Now rank them from most to least important and write down a few reasons why each is important enough to be on this list.
So, how do you feel? I hope you feel excited, energized and maybe a bit scared. Defining how you want to be remembered by who you are, and who you are not, is a big step towards living intentionally.
It would not be fair of me to ask you to engage in this exercise if I did not share my own results with you. Here are my five words, and my reasons for each one. I am:
I place a high importance on honestly presenting my views, needs and wants, and in presenting my understanding of others’ views, needs and wants. I recognize that everything we say and do is colored by our perceptions, values and opinions.
I believe the choices I make for my life are the best for me and my family. Others are equally free to do the same although their choices may not be the same as mine or in accordance with my values. I do not require others to think as I think or do as I do for me to hold them in esteem and show respect to them.
I am true to myself and my values, and to those who I love and are important to me. I always have the right to speak about what is true for me.
By listening to others, I understand what they really mean when they speak. This allows me to connect to all sorts of people, regardless of their age, interests, culture or opinions.
I choose to believe what others tell me about themselves and their actions. I believe a handshake is as good as a contract.
Living out these five words are the commitment I have made to how I want to live, who I want to be, and how I want to be remembered by others when my life has ended.
Life Is Honest, Open and True: In what way to you live out your traits or values week after week? If you were to share your list, and I’m not suggesting that you have to, would others recognize them as part of you? Is there a trait on your list that is aspirational rather than descriptive of your current self?
Write your five words in the comments below and then tweet them out to @lifeishotblog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!