What do you want on your tombstone?Article added by Paul Mallett on March 11, 2013
Joined: September 27, 2012
Ranked: #19 (2,361 pts)
Money and possessions bring us pleasure, but pleasure is temporary and often not enough. Lasting happiness and fulfillment come from helping others, establishing lasting relationships and connecting with a higher purpose.
Years ago, I attended a leadership seminar featuring the late Stephen R. Covey, best-selling author of the classic "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." While Mr. Covey was not actually there in person, he may as well have been because the message
shared over the course of those few days has stuck with me for nearly 20 years.
One of the points that continue to influence me most was what Covey referred to as the second habit: "Begin with the end in mind." At one point in the presentation, our Covey trainer challenged our group to imagine we were attending our own eulogy. What would we want our
family, friends, coworkers and others to say about us when we are gone?
Years later, a very similar message was delivered to me during project management certification training I attended at the University of
Toledo (Ohio). This time, the instructor was Greg Githens, a successful and insightful business consultant who, like Covey, would turn out to have a significant impact on my career.
Greg taught our group to visualize our finished project. What does "done" look like? He coached us to create this vision of success as clearly as we could, break it down into manageable chunks and work backward to develop a proactive plan to complete each task, manage the inevitable risks and get to the desired end result.
Now fast forward to today. Both of these messages are as meaningful to me as the first time I heard them. It doesn’t matter if I am helping to develop a financial plan for a client, a business plan for an agent or just pondering the legacy I want to leave behind
for my family, my friends or my colleagues. It all starts with the question: What does "done" look like? Throughout my
career, success has been achieved far more often when I have remembered to begin with the end in mind.
These similar messages are applicable for nearly any undertaking, but they are especially useful in our personal and professional development. At some point, most of us begin to think about our legacy. We want to feel we have lived a life of significance. We want to be remembered fondly by those who matter to us, and we want to be appreciated by those who come along after us. Money and possessions bring us pleasure, but pleasure is temporary and often not enough. Lasting happiness and fulfillment come from helping others, establishing lasting relationships and connecting with a higher purpose.
Sadly, many people don’t figure this out until it’s too late. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard from people that they have
accomplished amazing things in their careers, but they still feel something is missing. They seem to have it all, but they quietly wish they could be doing something that really makes a difference.
As financial advisors, you are blessed with the opportunity to do both. You can have a successful career and you can make a positive
difference in the lives of your clients. Now that’s a legacy worth leaving.
Think about it. Which would you prefer to have on your tombstone for all of eternity: “Here lies Frank, a guy with a great car and a really nice house,” or “In loving memory of Susan, dedicated to family, friends and helping others achieve their dreams”?
The next time you start to think it’s all about you, do yourself a favor and give that a little thought. Think about the legacy you will
leave behind. Think about how putting others' needs before your own could make you happier, set a great example for those that come after you and maybe even increase your production right now.
Take the advice I learned from two really smart guys a long time ago. Start with the end in mind. Create a clear picture of what done looks
like, and work backward from there to establish the individual objectives and actions that will get you there. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. If you start soon enough, small changes over time can lead to substantial results.
And if it’s not too much to ask, say something nice about me when I’m gone.
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