This is a concept I learned from the revered author Stephen R. Covey years ago when I read his international best selling book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’. Dr. Covey gave the readers an assignment to write our own Eulogy. Dr. Covey said if you want to truly leave behind a better world than you had better start with the end in mind. What do you want people to remember your life for? When people talk about you sitting around the funeral parlor that day, what will they say? What will they remember? What difference will your life make to those friends, family, and communities that you interacted with throughout your short little time on this Earth?
So, I want to start with the end in Mind! This exercise can be life changing if you truly put your mind to how you want your Eulogy to read. I have put mine out here as an example for you to review and maybe use as a starting point for your own. I am the founder of FMMission which is dedicated to those who are on a mission in this life. Our mission is help inspire and empower the dreamers, difference makers, and creators of this and future generations.
My Eulogy: By Mike Martin –
Dear friends and neighbors,
We are gathered here to day to pay tribute to Mike and his life on this Earth. As I look around I see a lot of smiling faces. I’ve heard a lot of laughter as I’ve walked around today. I see a few teary eyes too. First I’d like to read you something Mike gave me once when we were doing some mission work in the rural areas here in the Midwest. I had the chance to spend a lot of time with Mike as we built education centers and people’s universities throughout the country. You know what was interesting in spending time with Mike was that he never let all of the pressure, issues, rumors or any of the drama really get him down. We’d wake up in the morning to find something he said misquoted or spun in a certain way in the news and he’d just laugh and find a way to make light of it. If you ever spent time with him when he was really focused you know what I mean. He just wasn’t attached to what people thought. He was on a mission to change the world and he refused to let others dictate his fate. His selfless dedication to empowering the people gave him an internal inspiration that is hard for some of us to understand. We talked about this inevitable day as he got older. When he was in his seventies we still worked 15 hours a day to lay out the foundation for the new education system he dreamed of. I asked him when he was going to retire and he’d laugh and say I’ve been retired since I was 24, now I’m on a mission. So once he gave me this little speech and asked me to be sure to read it on this eventual day. So here it is in his own words, “Dear friends and family, please no tears today. There is nothing to cry about. We have been so blessed to share our short time on this physical plane together. Many of us have laughed, cried and shared in love and life together and that’s what I want you to remember today. The blessings we have shared. Certainly don’t cry for me. I have had the most blessed life I could have ever imagined and I’m very thankful for my time here and the time I’ve shared with each of you. So today please only smiles and hugs for the blessings. See I must go on now, and hopefully full circle I get to finally go home. If I must come back to the physical plane again to join the good fight then I’ll be back because we will never give up until have fulfilled our mission from God. Remember life is our gift from God, what we do with this life is our gift to God. Now after today get back off your asses and keep up the work of the mission. I love you. Mike”
Well that’s Mike’s goodbye in his own words, and I think we have to honor his wish so please dry your eyes. Actually I’d like you each to turn to your neighbor now and embrace them. Hug them. Shake hands. What makes Mike’s life seem so different was I believe the way he lived his principles. He preached non-attachment to worldly possessions just as Jesus Instructed us to do. If you ever went to Mike’s house or offices you saw first hand his dedication to minimalism. When we’d go meet with investors for building the universities they’d all pull up in Lexus’s and Mercedes, and then Mike would come up in a 20 year old car that hadn’t been washed since before he’d bought it. And, you certainly couldn’t expect to catch up on the latest news or shows at his house because there never was a TV in there. Mike’s life was never defined by society or what others thought, but what he believed was our destiny from our creator. And, that’s what he wanted me to leave you with today… He wanted his life to simply be an inspiration for you to know that you’re not a victim of circumstance but a co-creator of life. You’re not a number in the IRS’s file or just another number in the banking system. Mike was driven by his personal mission statement, and it’s the same today as it was when I met him 40 years ago. When people would ask Mike what he does he’d say, “I’m inspiring people not to live lives of quiet desperation!” And if you knew Mike he meant that. That simply was what drove him to leave the world a better place than he found it. So friends it’s with that notion that we must honor Mike’s wishes and keep this short and sweet. He said funerals are boring and people hate sitting through long drawn out speeches about how much people loved us. He believed funerals were for those left living and not for the dead because they didn’t need it. They had done their time and could now rest, but those of us stuck here on the physical plane must keep going for now. So, in closing let Mike’s life be an inspiration to live everyday to the fullest without fear. Mike asked me to leave with this thought, “The clock is ticking so you’d better get out there and live. Because one day like me you’ll be laying in a cold empty box and there’ll be no more time! Go out and live while you can!”