I was driving past a church one day when I saw this message written on their billboard: “Live your life so the pastor doesn’t have to lie at your funeral.”
Take some time to truly think about what the pastor would say about you at your funeral. Think about what your family, friends, children, coworkers, associates, and people in your community would say. I mean truthfully, what would they say?
Seeing that billboard got me thinking about the work I do in fitness, health, and self-defense. Since having surgery for a torn rotator cuff, I was forced to rest and exercising was prohibited for about six months. But as I had lots of time on my hands, I got to thinking about how I could do more to help others once my arm healed.
Being the owner of Fit To Fight Warriors, a self-defense program, I registered for training through Women Organized Against Rape to get my Sexual Assault Counselor certification. After completing the forty hours of training, I will donate a year of my life to volunteering for this nonprofit organization to help males and females who have been violated due to rape or sexual assault. The training will also help me understand my clients better, since many of them have been victims of rape or sexual assault.
Through my motivational seminars, I modified my programs to include instructing people in attendance to go home and write their obituary. At the top of a sheet of paper, I put “What is my legacy?”
I stress the fact that if the obituary is not what you would want people to say about you at your funeral, now is the time to work on changing that image. The overall goal isn’t to do good deeds so you will be rewarded, or so you will be remembered as a Mother Teresa, but to feel a sense of satisfaction about reaching out and helping others while you’re still alive. In the end, you’ll feel good as well. A medical report shows that performing acts of kindness has many health benefits, such as reducing stress and lowing depression for you and for those you help.
Also, one should not judge their life by what material items they have accumulated over the years, e.g. cars, houses, clothes, jewelry, education, fame, power, etc. That is not true success. Real success comes when you can look at your life knowing you gave love, assistance, guidance, or purpose to others.
Be a Blessing to Others
Being a blessing to others doesn’t require lots of time and energy. There are always ways to get involved and show compassion and love toward others. It can come in small ways, like saying a warm hello or holding the door open for a stranger, or just listening when a friend or a coworker needs a shoulder. If you truly want to get involved you can read to the blind, feed the homeless, take an elderly person to her doctor’s appointment, plant vegetables in the neighborhood garden, donate your old car, or volunteer for a cause you’re passionate about. And if you can do more, especially financially, then do so.
Everyone has needed help or support sometime in his or her life. Someone may have given you an opportunity that helped you get on your feet, get that job, or that house, or that scholarship to college, or a recommendation for a promotion, or any number of things. Giving to others without the mindset that we will receive anything in return is the legacy each of us should strive to achieve.