DateDecember 5, 2019
I’m Dying. It may take 50 more years but I am definitely dying because the mortality rate continues to be about 100% for people. This month has seen a lot of famous people pass and no matter when people die, we usually seem surprised. Maybe we think they should have lived longer or maybe we just didn’t face the reality that everybody dies; that includes David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Grizzly Adams, Luis Arroyo, Alan Rickman and about 3,335,200 in the first 22 days of 2016.
Our death will be untimely because we don’t know when that moment will be and it always interrupts our plans for the day. What we hope for is that we will have accomplished all we dreamed before that moment comes. The challenge is to live like we know our moment can, and will most likely come, much sooner than we expect.
Mel Gibson’s quote from Brave Heart is a sobering reminder that we may not have the choice of how or when we die but we certainly have the choice of how we live. So the real question is how are we using the years GOD has given us to get the best results? What influence can you have on the world along the way, and are you willing to take a risk and get the most out of life?
Write your Epitaph
“Epitaph: a phrase or statement written in memory of a person who has died, especially as an inscription on a tombstone.”
I had a friend ask me to write out my epitaph back in 2009. It was an eye-opening moment for me that ultimately led me to move the family to the Great State of Texas. I realized I was just chasing a title and a paycheck, but my passion and purpose were calling me to greater things.
I wanted to be known as a man who lived out his Faith in Jesus Christ and served others well. I realized I was not living to my full potential and needed to make some big changes. It was a big risk but once I saw the vision of what I could be, I had to act on it. That included moving to Texas and starting a new career at 47 years old.
It’s not about arriving safely at the grave
Entrepreneurs are notorious risk-takers but that’s because they are fueled by the vision of what should be. It takes a lot of courage to mortgage your home and use all your savings on the road to ultimate success. But the greater rewards are found for those who take the journey and risk it all. You may not need to mortgage your house to follow your dream but it may require you to leave the lure of a title or paycheck in pursuit of something only YOU can accomplish.
Let me add that taking a risk is not just about your career. It’s about being willing to choose to invest in your family and your passions off the clock with the same fervor you have for your company. Last year our Peer to Peer Advisory Groups studied the book Choosing to Cheat and had to make some hard choices about the life we wanted and what it would take to have a Work/Life Balance.
It can also be risky to decide you don’t work on weekends and will instead choose to invest time in serving others over cranking out more work. Whatever you desire your life to be it will take some risk if you want to be intentional and have no regrets when it all comes to an end.
Live without Regrets
No one ever laid on their death-bed wishing they had worked more hours. I have met with many leaders who have regretted investing their time and effort into things others could do, at the expense of things that only they could do. This means we should do our best in each area of our lives:
- If you are married – work hard at being a great Husband or Wife.
- If you have kids – work hard at being a great Mother or Father.
- If you have friends (I assume you do) – build deep friendships.
- If you are a CEO, Owner, President, or employee – be great at what you do.
Make sure you are intentionally building the life you want by having a vision of the legacy you want to leave behind, and when someone else has to write your epitaph, they will have lots of good material to work with.