Last week, two things happened. One, Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, died. R.I.P. Two, I drove an hour to see the one-night screening of Shut Up and Dance. It's a rockumentary around the last, voluntary,celebratory show of one of my favorite bands, LCD Soundsystem.
LCD Soundsystem is fronted by James Murphy, the most unlikely, yet supremely charismatic and articulate front men. As a new entrepreneur and coach, he's inspiring. Success came in his late 30s ("ancient" by music industry standards) when he opted to just be himself. He made a record that he and friends dug. To me, that's the epitome of flow. Coincidently, one of their last shows was one of my last shows as a resident of Brooklyn. It was a fitting bookend to my decade of Tom Foolery in The Big Apple.
Stephen Covey, rest in peace. I'm pouring a tall boy out for that man. Nerdy as this may sound, I owned a Franklin day planner before Covey's name was even attached to the product. (That was in junior high.) It was also around that time that read his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I think my mom got it at some work conference. WOW! That book clicked for me. Ever the angsty tween, I immediately dove into the Begin with The End in Mind exercise. Always appliqueing words all over the back of my bedroom door, it prompted me to cut out the teeny Nike ad copy from some fitness magazine: I hope to be remembered, not recalled. (That stuck on my bedroom door until the house sold a few years ago. Maybe it's still there?)
“When you start a rock band, do you picture how it will end?” That’s what author Chuck Klosterman asked James Murphy in the film last week. Not going to lie, I got a shiver down my spine as I waited for his response. James Murphy then when on to talk about his drive to leave “a stain” on the world. A stain! That’s some serious post-punk shizzle. I think to some degree we all want to leave a stain on the world. I know that I do.
Every day, I want to get out of bed and improve the quality of life for someone. I want to be a thought provocateur and an advocate for options. For so many years, I made career and relationship choices that were so NOT right for me. It literally began to rot my guts by my mid-20s. So, despite all the naysaying and entrepreneurial-induced fear, that is what I do now. Maybe I inspire a few hundred people in the next 65 years; maybe I inspire a few thousand people. What I care about most is that people PLEASURABLY LIVE their lives with some purpose and passion. Our health. Our relationships. Our livelihood. Generally, we have options. We just may not always realize it in the moment or be confident enough to take the road less traveled. You need vision, clarity of purpose and a compass.
So, in honor of stains and Stephen Covey, I ask you to take just 2 minutes out of your hectic day for a quick visualization exercise. I want you to picture your own funeral. (No, I’m not kidding. Work with me here, people!)
What’s the mood? Celebratory reflections on a well-lived life or sighs of relief that you kicked the bucket?
Who is there? Who was still there for you at the end? Family? A few close friends? Neighbors?
And in the words teeny words that have driven me for years…
How do you want to be remembered, not just recalled? Really consider this. What are the people there talking about? What were the moments in your life that were so indelibly etched into the hearts & minds of those around you?
Those are the stains that you'll leave on the world. I'd love to hear how you hope to live an inspired life in the comments below.