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  • Writer's pictureKristy Barkley

The Deathbed Exercise aka Your Eulogy

Updated: Jan 15, 2021

I read a lot, I love to read, reading is my peaceful space. Each year I set a goal to read 50 books, each year I exceed that goal. This year I decided to make sure I read at least 15 personal/leadership development books within the 50.

I chose to read “The Seven Decisions” by Andy Andrews first because I loved his book “The Traveler’s Gift”, and also because the “The Traveler’s Gift” was an easy read, so I thought this would be easy but also full of lessons. Well, it is full of lessons, but it is a deep dive book, you read a few pages and then you need to soak it in, do the homework, and grow before you keep going.

Last week there was an assignment in the book which left my heart on fire! I spent a couple of hours doing the homework (it’s below) and when I finished, my husband asked me “Did you get it all out?” Because he saw that I was writing in my journal. I let him know that I wasn’t just journaling, but I was doing the homework from my book, where I had to write my eulogy. He actually shook all over “eewwww” he said. I told him “It was actually amazing, it helped me focus on all of the things I want to do and what kind of legacy I want to leave. Because if I know those things I can stay on track and work towards those things.

He just thought the whole process sounded awful. That is pretty typical of us, I dig deep into personal growth and he is happy to learn the few things I regurgitate to him or share on our weekly walks; and most of the time I don’t think he is listening.

So whether you are more like him or more like me, I wanted to share this process because I do think it can be powerful as you work to discover your WHY in life and move into your passions.

It will also give you a glimpse into who I really am, what I am striving to be and why I am the way I am (in case you were curious).

So here is my homework:

The Deathbed Exercise

- Write a glowing incredible eulogy you would like to have read at your funeral.

“My mom Kristy would have encouraged me to be brave and courageous if I told her that I didn’t want to give her eulogy. She would have told me it was a wonderful opportunity, rather than anything to dread. Everyone knows my Mom sold Plexus and was one of their highest ranking and most recognized ambassadors. What most don’t know is why she worked so hard in that business she loved. To sum it up in one word: education. She believed a child given the opportunity to receive a great education could change generations. Her early years her goal was to earn enough for us to go to private school and then onto the college of our choice without limitations. When any of us or Rob would voice concerns about the cost of school her answer was always “I’ll figure it out, you just choose what feels best to you, after you pray about it.” And she always did figure it out, she just kept learning, training, and leading her way to the top. She originally used to talk about finding kids with potential yet lacking support and providing scholarships for them to attend private school, play sports, and go to college. But then God narrowed it down for her and she poured her time; money and love into foster kids, especially those in middle school, high school, and newly aged out foster kids. She would have mentored every one of them if she could. But since there weren’t enough hours in the day, she created a foundation and recruited some amazing people to join her. Over the years, they mentored thousands of foster kids, providing athletic equipment, rides to games, scholarships to school, more mindset training than most of the kids wanted and support through mentorship leading them all to success that would have been much harder without my mom’s dream of a foundation…

“My Mom couldn’t stand negativity, it wasn’t allowed in her earshot unless you accepted, she would be coming right back at you with a silver lining, a positive affirmation or a reminder that every hardship was a great opportunity to learn, grow and do something God wants you to do. Because of that, she made everyone around her stronger and happier. She loved being a life coach. After calls she would talk about how much progress they were making, how brave they were and how they were working through blocks that would open a huge world of possibilities to them. She had a way of helping people uncover their greatness and chase their dreams that God had given them. That may have been her greatest gift. She would also tell you like she saw it which often times was brutal. Until you thought on it a bit and realized she was right. She was an extreme perfectionist and always expected greatness from those of us in her family. It could be frustrating, but we knew that she loved us more than anything and as long as we tried our best, it’d be okay. But as far as loading the dishwasher? I don’t think many of us ever did it right, especially Rob, I think he did it opposite of her just to get her going. He loved to keep her laughing…

“If I had to remember one thing about my Mom or one thing, I make sure my kids remember about my mom, it would be her positivity followed by a huge faith in her Heavenly Father. She let us follow God in whatever way was best for us, but I don’t think she ever gave up on the dream that we would all be sealed together in the LDS temple as a family. I know my Mom was greeted in Heaven by all of her loved ones that went before her, and while I will miss her tremendously, I know she is smiling down on us right now hoping that we will carry on her positivity everywhere we go.”

So that is me, now who are you? Do you know? What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered?

Are your actions aligning with your behavior? Are you excited to wake up each day and move closer to your dreams? If not, it is probably because you aren’t sure what your dreams are.

I challenge everyone to do this “Deathbed Exercise” and tell me what you think. What did you discover about yourself? Do you still have more to accomplish? Are you working towards it?

If you are awake, reading this, you still have more to do in this world. You still have an impact to make.

What will your impact be?

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