It brought to mind Stephen Covey's famous 'funeral' exercise, in which we imagine our own funeral in 3 years time. What would the eulogy be like? What impact would we have made on our families, friends, colleagues, and community?
It's about the journey
Those potholes, detours and u-turns along the road are what create memorable stories and offer potentially our greatest learnings. Having integrity means being true to your principles and beliefs, and sharing your perspective makes the world a more interesting place. Attitude can help create opportunities, even in the face of adversity, shaping our lives along the way.
Covey pioneered the business self-help genre with 'The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People' in 1989, and he himself died in 2012. His legacy of creating best practice habits lives on in many ways, and are still relevant today:
1. Be proactive
Principles of personal vision. Be proactive as opposed to reactive. Take responsibility for your own actions, including the language you use.
2. Begin with the end in mind
Principles of personal leadership. This is where the eulogy exercise comes in. Have a clear understanding of your destination, understand what is deeply important to you, and use visualisation and affirmation to make it happen.
3. Put first things first
Principles of personal management, where consideration of things that are urgent versus important take place.
4. Think win/win
Principles of interpersonal leadership. Thinking win/win is a total philosophy of human engagement. Taking a 'win/win' or 'no deal' approach can be highly motivating for all parties for the best possible outcome.
5. Seek first to understand, then be understood
Principles of empathetic communication. Listen, and have empathy with others and their situation.
Principles of creative cooperation, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
7. Sharpen the saw
Principles of balanced self-renewal. Have balance and look after yourself on the physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual areas of your life.
Covey followed on with 'The 8th Habit' (from effectiveness to greatness) on finding your own voice and encouraging others to find theirs. Creating a legacy where people really understand who you are, and where you are coming from, is highly authentic. We all have a time limit, and it's up to us to make the most of every day.