Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Eulogy: the Penultimate of Goals

I just realized that every, and I mean EVERY, book I've read on success, investing, and business always has a section on Goal Setting. It doesn't matter if the author is a steady investor, a speculator, or Rich Dad - they all say that without goals, it won't happen.
Yogi Berra says, "If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there?"
More on actual How To for goal-setting later. First, I want to talk about a part of goal-setting, the Eulogy. The exercise goes - imagine you're sitting at your own funeral. People are getting up and talking about your life and how you affected them, giving eulogies. What would you like to be remembered for? What do you want people to say about you? Write for them - what would you like the following people to say:
  1. Your partner or spouse
  2. Your child
  3. A co-worker or business partner
  4. A stranger, someone who barely knows you
Now, I've thought about this a bit but never really did it. About five months ago, though, I saw the perfect example, with Paul Newman's passing. Read through that article - it's amazing. And look back at the list above.
  1. Married 50 years in "one of the most successful marriages in Hollywood"
  2. Newman's daughters described him as a devoted husband, a loving father, an adoring grandfather and a dedicated philanthropist.
  3. Awards and kind words from co-workers and Hollywood in general, including an Oscar
  4. Some 135,000 children have been able to go to summer camp for free because of Newman's Own
Any one of those would be a great accomplishment. All four, and more!, is absolutely amazing. For more on his entrepreneurial success, read here and this book, here.

So what would you like people to say about you? That you 'got by'? That you 'did okay'? Settling for getting by is aiming for mediocrity. And once you know where you're going, it's much easier to recognize the road signs. It's time to sit down and write out what you want to be known for, and start making it come true.

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