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A Life Worth Living

Stone Rose, by Deborah Henry-Pollard, frm monument in Nunhead Cemetary London
© "Stone Rose" by Deborah Henry-Pollard


“To die is nothing; but it is terrible not to live”  Victor Hugo, Les Miserables  
A popular technique used by coaches, including me, when helping people to focus on their long term goal is to ask what they would like to have said in their eulogy. 

It may sound a bit grim to ask people to think about their death, but it can be a powerful tool to help concentrate peoples’ minds on what they want their legacy to be and what they need to do in life in order for that legacy to happen.   Sometimes, however, it is difficult to know what you might leave behind.  

A few years ago, someone in my family was diagnosed with a terminal illness.  When his illness was first diagnosed, in his mid-40s, I wondered how I would feel if I had received the same news, what would I think, what would I wish I had done?  Out of this, I decided the two things I really wanted to do were to visit to Russia (which I did in April 2007) and to try the Argentine tango.  Russia was amazing on so many levels and I loved discovering Russian art.  Out of the tango, as well as the sheer enjoyment it has given me, I discovered new levels of creativity, improvision and communication, and developed a new outlook, including the confidence to take the plunge of starting up “Catching Fireworks”.  

We all make ripples as we go through our lives and sometimes we have no idea of the effect that we have on other people.  Therefore, even if you are given to introspection and wonder how you will be remembered, I suspect that you will never really know – you can only hope.  All you can do is live as honestly as possible, being true to yourself, your vision and your values.  Enjoy the moment and even if you feel you are working in isolation, somewhere, sometime, there is a good chance you will influence someone (just think of Van Gogh).  

For the here and now, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we are all going to die and alas, it is not always going to be when we are old.  If there is something you have always wanted to do, a burning desire or dream that you will get around to “one day”?  Well, as long at it is not going to hurt someone else, may I suggest that you just do it?  

You only have the one life; ensure that you make the most of it, both for yourself and for all those people you impact on positively, and possibly unknowingly, along the way.


If this has struck a chord with you and you want to find out if coaching will support you, check out how we could work together and get in touch.

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