Writing Your Eulogy
Visualization exercises can be a powerful tool for our minds. From a young age, I used visualization activities during pretend play (I’m an only child ;p) to take me places I wanted to visit. I would picture what I saw, what I felt, and who was there. Obviously, at that age, I was not aware that what I was doing was visualizing, but I knew that I was having fun with my imagination.
Fast forward to the present, I continue to make use of this excellent tool when I want to embody the things I want to achieve. One exercise that really stands out to me when finding meaning and motivation in my life is the “Write Your Own Eulogy” visualization activity, discussed by Michael Gerber in his book The E-Myth Revisited.
Gerber invites the reader to visualize attending their own funeral. The attendees of the funeral are those the reader identifies as the most important people in his/her life. The point of the exercise is to reflect on what the reader thinks the most important people in their life would say if they were to attend their funeral. People’s responses are intended to invite the reader to reflect on where they are in their life, what are they happy with, what would they change, and to inspire the reader to achieve the goals that would add depth and meaning to their life.
He begins by painting a scene for the reader to visualize which goes something like this:
“I’d like you to imagine that you are about to attend one of the most important occasions of your life.
It will be held in a room sufficiently large to seat all of your friends, your family, your business associates—anyone and everyone to whom you are important and who is important to you.
Can you see it?
The walls are draped with deep golden tapestries. The lighting is subdued, soft, casting a warm glow on the faces of your expectant guests. The chairs are handsomely upholstered in a golden fabric that matches the tapestries. The golden carpeting is deeply piled.
At the front of the room is a dais, and on the dais a large, beautifully decorated table with candles burning at either end.
On the table, in the center, is the object of everyone’s attention. A large, shining, ornate box. And in the box is … you! Stiff as the proverbial board.
Do you see yourself lying in the box, not a dry eye in the room?
Now, listen.” (p. 137)
After you paint your own funeral in your mind, you move on to ask yourself what the most important people in your life have to say about you. Here are some questions you can imagine your audience answering about you:
- How did you impact their life?
- What did they love most about you?
- How did they perceive your life?
- What have they lost now that you’re gone?
Be honest with yourself when answering these questions. Once finished, reflect on the answers and how you feel. Are you happy with the outcome and how you have affected peoples lives? If not, what are some changes you can make to alter the results of this same visualization activity when you play it out in your mind in the future?
All the information you gather from this activity is very useful. Take note of how you feel at the end of this exercise. Then reflect on how you can make use of this information to create your goals and an action plan to achieve these goals.
I am eager to hear your results and your thoughts on this activity. I personally found it useful, and would love to hear your opinion! 🙂