Eulogise This!

Published on 27 September 2023 at 15:41

Purpose is crucial for happiness.

I remember hearing about (a possibly apocryphal) story about mental health patients during the second World War.

These men had lain in bed for months and years, wasting away physically, mentally and emotionally.

Until the war struck.

Unable to contribute to the military effort, these men were recruited to provide logistics and general support to the collective effort - driving trucks, farming, working in hospitals and on building sites.

This new found purpose rejuvenated these men and resulted in giving them a new found lease of life.

Now, whether this is a piece of war time propaganda or not the message remains valid: having a purpose and motivation in life is of critical importance.

This is the by far the most common challenge I see in new clients who come to me for personal coaching: a lack of purpose, motivation and drive (in fact, although this is less common for business clients it is still fairly common...)

Most of my personal clients are men who are at a stage in life where they either feel that they have achieved everything they set out to in life and now seem stuck in a rut.

They've got (or exceeded) that income they always wanted.

Their kids are grown up and have their own interests (they feel they have become a taxi/bank service...)

They don't feel able to continue playing the sports they used to love and now stick to golf.

They feel like they are becoming more and more disconnected from their partners.

They no longer feel the desire to socialise as much.

Essentially, with years left to live they feel like their life is already pretty much over.

An exercise I do with them in this situation, and one I would recommend you do today (especially if any of the above resonates with you) is what I like to call the Eulogy Experiment (cheerful name, I know).

I ask them to think about their own funeral - imagine they are there floating like a ghost above the congregation.

I tell them to think about how many people are there, is it the number they would hope for?

I invite them to get amongst the crowd and listen to what people are saying, are they happy with what they hear?

Finally I tell them to write their own eulogy - what do they want to be said about themselves after they have gone. What are the achievements they want noted? What legacy do they want to leave? How do they want to be remembered?

And finally: what are they going to do about it? What changes do they need to make for their perfect eulogy to become a reality?

Not only does this help sharpen their focus, it helps reinforce that while we are still breathing we are still living and our purpose is there for us to choose.

So, what would your eulogy be?

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