As an introvert I spend a lot time in my head. Much of that time is spent thinking about all the things I need get done. This can keep me from living in the moment. It can also cause me to become so focused on projects that I sometimes neglect the people in my life.
This is a problem that I’ve had for most of my life. The more time that passes the more I struggle with it. It’s been bothering me a lot lately.
A few weeks ago I read something Stephen Covey wrote several years ago. One of the techniques he recommends for keeping focused on what matters most is to imagine what you want the people to say about you at your funeral.
I’ve never been much for doing these kind of exercises, but this time I decided to give it a try. Here’s how I want to be remembered:
- As a man who trusted God and put Him first in His life.
- As a husband who put the needs of his wife ahead of his own.
- As a dad who was always there for his kids.
- As a friend who encouraged his friends.
- As a pastor who walked his talk.
- As a leader who did great work and who was great to work with.
Taking time at the beginning of each day to think about how I want to be remembered has helped me focus on what matters most in life.
Reminding myself how important it is to me to have my wife remember me as someone who put her needs ahead of her own, for example, motivates me to help her more around the house and to listen better when she’s talking.
Reflecting on how I want my kids to remember that I was always there for them inspires me to spend time playing with them after a hard day at work when I feel like just crashing on the couch and vegging out.
And taking a minute or two at the start of each day to meditate on the idea that I want to be remembered as a pastor who walked his talk and as a leader who did great work and who was great to work with helps me to be more available to people and interruptions and to be kind even when others are unkind.
How do you want to be remembered after you’re gone?
I hope you’ll spend some time thinking about this question. It could be just the thing you need to help you make better decisions and become the kind of person you want to be.
Before you start in your task list, take a look at your “How I Want to Be Remembered” list.