How do you want to be remembered?
There is a world that one can not experience through the eyes we were given at birth.
This is the world inside of us. Seemingly separate from the ‘real world’ this is where we create our world as we know it.
Experiencing ourselves and others through the lens of each sense; thought, feeling, taste, smell, sight, sound and touch, we create a never ending story about our experience of life.
Life is the narrative we create in our heads and what we feel in our bodies. With this known, life seems to be nothing more than what we define it to be based on the senses we were given at birth.
Even with these gifts, life is much greater than what can be perceived through our sensory experience. Reality is vaster then we can grasp. I will save that topic for another day.
Focusing on our innate senses, a curious conversation arises about the self that we create in each moment throughout the course of our lives. In a seemingly never ending feedback loop, we create and reinforce our identities, without ceasing.
If our perception of self is in fact a collection of sensory experiences and believed thoughts of oneself, an interesting question arises.
What is the narrative you are creating and believing moment by moment and day by day?
Subsequently, how is that narrative impacting the trajectory of your life and the experience of being the you, you know yourself to be?
Since there seems to be a never ending stream of thought, interpretation, assumption, and categorization of what is reality, one can benefit from being aware of the stories being self generated each and every day. From there, we can begin to see the way with which it creates our personal experience of existence.
Even with all this power and potential, one thing is certain, at some point the lights will turn off in this body. We will cease to exist as the you, me, I, we, us we have come to know. In this moment, you may be wondering to yourself where this conversation is headed. You might be concerned that discussing death is morbid, inappropriate, or scary.
I hear you. The idea of death can be scary.
Many of us, myself included, spend much of our lives doing everything we can to avoid death, the reality that it will occur, and have a deep fear that our time is ticking away.
Even though facing our finite existence can be scary, the truth is we can not have life without it. Life unfolds in cycles, and to have life is to have death.
Death offers us the gift of contrast, and reminds us to prioritize and reflect upon how we are currently spending the time we do have.
Death offers us an end point to take a step back from and reflect upon our legacy and creations.
If you are willing, take some time to step through the following questions for your own life.
I have found that the answers are not as important as the process of answering them. When I answer them, and I have more than once, I always learn something new about who I am being today in contrast to who I want to be.
I discover new ideas to add vibrancy to my life. I uncover new ways of seeing those I care for and the world.
Will you take time to consider the following:
When your final breath comes, will you be ready?
Will you have led the life you wanted?
Will you have been the person you know yourself to truly be?
Or, a mirror of what everyone else told you to be?
What will you have stood for?
How will you be remembered?
Take a few minutes away from our conversation here, and answer these questions. I will be here when you return.
Thank you for taking time to sit with and answer these questions. It’s not easy to step back from the day to day operations of our lives and view what we are doing here through a broader and deeper lens of existence. It takes courage to answer these questions honestly.
In this moment, we are not looking for life changing decisions, or to wake up tomorrow and expect everything to be different. What we are looking for here is insight. To see something new that has not been seen before, so that the natural process of change will begin to occur.
If you discovered one or multiple insights about the life you are creating that stands against who you truly know yourself to be, or against the impact you want to have while here, that is okay.
This is new awareness. Change begins here.
In this moment, I invite you to write them down, and to revisit what you discovered each morning for the next week. As the days move forward, begin to contemplate what change may need to occur to align with that missing piece.
Again, there is no rush. Our lives didn’t get to where they are today overnight. To expect everything to change that quickly will lead to impulsive decisions that may not serve us well.
A successful company has a guiding vision that serves as the north star, supported by values to live from. This is necessary to survive and thrive. If careful deliberation is not made to set forth these guiding measures, they will not keep the doors open.
Along the way people in the organization must continue to assess their process and progress against their direction and values.
Are they heading in the right direction? Is the path they are taking to get there aligned with who they want to be as a company? If the answer is ‘no’, then adjustments must be made. The same goes for each of us.
I’ve often wondered what are the activating moments in which individuals begin to consider these same guiding measures for their own life. After a health scare. Maybe the loss of a loved one. A divorce or separation. Legal troubles.
For me personally, it’s been the experience of many of these that have inspired me to look at myself and life differently, each at different points in time.
When my sister passed away at age 33, me being 27 at the time, I began to contemplate the meaning of life more deeply. With her passing, and this reflection, I began my process of discovering who I wanted to be as a man in this world. With no surprise, I was met with many uncomfortable realizations of how I was living out of integrity with this vision of myself.
I certainly didn’t change everything over night, and my understanding of change was limited at the time. All I knew was that for me to reach my death bed at that point, I would have been full of regrets and what if’s.
Today, I’m still in a process of actively creating who I want to be in each moment of my life, and how that supports what I want to create while I’m here. The process doesn’t end until the lights go out.
The inspiration to design a life long vision and guiding values is seemingly preceded by painful experiences. Maybe this is my own assumption because that is my story. It took years of mistakes, hurt, failure, guilt and disappointment before I became more deliberate about who I am creating myself as in the world each day, in every way.
Again, it is often that we are caught up in the day to day operations that is our life. Paying the bills. Driving to work. Taking care of the family. Exercising. Etc. Etc.
Not much, if any time is afforded to consider the bigger questions that are universal to us all. The questions that capture the essence of our story. I’m guilty of doing this.
Even now, years later, I get caught up in moments where I am lost in the day to day, and forget the bigger picture. Or, I’m caught up in the bigger picture of who I want to be and am not present in the moment to actually be that person. Both can be a trap.
This isn’t a conversation about being perfect. Perfection is a trap. This is a conversation about clarity of intent, awareness, and creating the space for meaningful change to occur in each area of our lives.
At times, life is seemingly long and slow.
Yet, the days and years can pass by in seemingly a blink of an eye. Before we know it, our kids have grown. Or the first year of marriage is over. Or, we have now been in business for ten years and the memories of startup are long behind us.
Whatever domain of life we zoom in on, time can seem to fly by.
And while we can not control death. What we can control and choose is the quality of how we experience life, and the lens from which we view and respond to life each and every day.
As we wrap up our conversation today, I’m curious to know what you discovered about yourself, your life, or anything else you want to share?
Please comment below — and have a wonderful day or night.
P.S — We will continue this conversation soon, expanding further into the creation of our lives through an understanding of who we truly are, and how we innately operate.