​How writing your obituary today could benefit you – and your loved ones

The benefits of writing your obituary today. Yes, today.

Write my obituary now, as in, today? YES! Here’s why…

A friend of mine recently told me how her mother made her sit down and write her obituary when she was twenty. Twenty! I love this! My friend wasn’t sure of her mother’s motives but I would guess her mom wanted to help set her daughter’s path. Maybe to help her see where she wants to focus her life? What she would want to be known for, life for?

What if I told you that writing your obituary today would help you solidify your values, craft your legacy and live now?

What do you value? Crafting your obituary, ‘the story of you’ in one column I believe, will help you solidify your values. To do this, let’s start by figuring out what is important to you. What your top 5 values? Examples of values are family, education, community, spirituality, health, etc.

What causes are important to you? A great exercise to determine causes that resonate with you is to take a newspaper and circle the headlines that speak to you. Notice if you feel outraged, compassion or indifferent. Circle the headlines that ignite a feeling inside of you. Then, identify what causes they relate to. This is an excellent way to find out what you care about.

If your “legacy” were summed up in one column, what would it say?

To me, by telling your story, you are crafting your legacy. How? Start my making a list of your accomplishments. Then, make a list of what you would like to accomplish in the years ahead. Finally, spend time writing your goals for next 5 years, 10 years,15 years. You get the idea. You now have a list of all you’ve accomplished, as well as, a list of what you intend to accomplish. You are crafting your legacy – what you want to be known for. By writing it down, you’ll have a roadmap to live your best life.

Speaking of your best life, reflect on the lists you’ve just made. Relish in your successes and accomplishments. And, I believe that by naming your future goals, you’ll likely accomplish those, too. Having a purpose, knowing what you stand for, and what excites and invigorates you, will guide you to live a fuller life NOW.

So, what if I asked you to write your obituary today? What would you say? What would you include? What do you want people to remember most about you? What did you live for? And most importantly, are you doing those things now?

Your obituary is your imprint on this world, your community, your family and friends.

Let’s make sure it reflects your values, is representative of the legacy you want to leave and encourages you to live your best life now.

Sending love,

Jody

Casey’s story

Today’s story is an excerpt from the Missing Pieces Plan. My friend Casey reflects on her father’s creation of a family foundation.

Excerpt:

It was the week of Thanksgiving. My husband, daughters and I were in Cleveland visiting my Mom, Dad, my brother and his family. Before the office closed for the holiday, my Dad asked me to meet him at work so we could talk. My Dad told me he wanted to start a foundation or some sort of charitable vehicle. He wasn’t sure what the options were; he just knew he wanted to formalize his giving. With 15 years of experience working in the philanthropic sector, I was eager to hear my Dad’s thoughts.

In that meeting, we talked about whether a donor-advised fund at a local community foundation made sense—lower overhead and less administration—or if he wanted a foundation for autonomy and reach. Knowing that we would need a mission, a clear idea from my Dad about what he wanted to support, I asked Dad what he had historically supported. I asked about what he cared about and who he wanted to help.

Based on what he shared, I researched the costs associated with donor advised funds and foundations. Then I went to work crafting a few different mission statements. I came back to my Dad with the results of my research, and we settled on a mission and structure.

We would create a foundation, which would receive an investment from my Dad as well as an annual contribution from our family business. We contacted a local lawyer with experience applying for non-profit status and began the paperwork. My Dad would be the chair of the Foundation. My brother, sister, and I would serve on the board. Fast forward a few months and my Dad suddenly died of a heart attack.

I sometimes wonder if Dad had a sneaking suspicion that he was not well. He had set the wheels in motion to create a foundation, and he put the finishing touches on his estate plan just months before he passed away.

Regardless of his possible premonition, I will be forever grateful for our Thanksgiving chat where my Dad shared his motivations for giving. Thanks to that, my brother, sister and I now direct the foundation’s resources to “support the efforts of young people who strive to improve themselves and the communities in which they live.”

My favorite part of Casey’s story is the fact that she and her dad had a conversation. Our legacies may not involve creating a family foundation. But the one thing we all can do is communicate our wishes for our legacy.

Our legacies don’t have to wait until we are gone.

They can be lived today.

By embracing this truth, we can step up the life we want to live and leave.

Today, I encourage to have a conversation with a loved one, a family member. What is important to you? In this life? And, when you’re gone.

I believe by just taking these small steps, we are moving forward – towards a more fulfilled life.

Sending love,

Jody

P.S.

Do you have questions?

I would love to connect with you!

My email is jody@missingpiecesplan.com or cell is 310-927-5345

What I wish I knew…

Gone too soon…what I wish I knew

Recently I asked a few dear friends to write down questions they wish they could ask their dads. Unfortunately, these dear friends lost their fathers way too soon. 

A lot of questions remain for all of them regardless of the amount of earthly time with their beloved fathers.

Here are some of the questions they wish they could ask:

  • What did you have the most fun doing?
  • What made you laugh the hardest?
  • What would you spend more time doing/less time doing?
  • What would you do differently?
  • What do you love most about yourself? And me?
  • When did you feel fearless?
  • What would we do together if we only if one day left?
  • What would you want me to know about your life and how it made you who you are?
  • What are you most proud of?
  • What’s the hardest thing you’ve done?
  • What’s your hope for your kids?
  • How do you want to be remembered?
  • What was it like the first time you met my mom? What did you think of her at first?
  • How did you feel when I was born? Where you scared and sort of like “oh shit what now?!” like I was?
  • What was your happiest memory of my childhood?
  • Do you think I should have another kid?
  • Is there anything you would do differently knowing where you ultimately ended up?
  • What advice do you have for your grandson and what would you want to be sure we passed on to him?

If you are a dad – or grandfather, grandmother, father or mother – share your answers to these questions with your loved ones today. I am certain after you’re gone there will be more questions your loved ones will want answered, but at least they’ll know these.

Taking the time to share your story and your answers with loved ones is a priceless gift. It is your legacy. 

One that your loved ones will forever cherish.

In the Missing Pieces Plan we have a Legacy Questionnaire designed to help you write or craft your legacy. You can include as much or as little as you choose. The information provided will be a gift to your loved ones. To learn more visit www.missingpiecesplan.com.

To order your copy of Missing Pieces Plan, click here: http://missingpiecesplan.com/amazon

Sending love!

Jody

Why I think the word “legacy” is such a turn off

Often when people think of their “legacy” they think Albert Einstein or Steve Jobs. Yes, they have incredible legacies, but you don’t have to be a genius or millionaire or any other qualifying factor to build a legacy or to be remembered.

When I think of “legacy,” I think it’s building upon your values, identifying how you would like to be remembered and then living into those values and dreams for your life.

I also think one of the greatest legacies is just sharing your story with your loved ones.

Sharing your story with loved ones is your legacy.

What I would give to have recorded my grandfather’s stories from the war, his love notes to my grandmother, hearing what it was like to grow up in the depression, how he built a homebuilding business, what it was like losing his mother at 18. There is so much I wish I knew about my grandfather.

I think like most, I always thought there would be more time to ask these questions and learn their answers.

But then he passed.

We did our best to write his obituary after his passing. He had many accomplishments. But what would he have wanted us to say? Maybe if we had asked, I would have gotten the answers to the questions above.

I’ve been told, “but I don’t want to think about it or write anything down, that will mean it will happen. I will die.” I get it, the thought of writing your obituary or jotting ideas down on how you would like to be remembered, is scary. It means the inevitable will happen. I hate to break it to you, but it the inevitable will happen – whether you write something or not.

So, go there with me. Think of your loved ones and how they would love to know more about you. Today, I encourage you to think of how you’d like to be remembered. What you would want your obituary to say? And before you think you are too young or healthy … anyone can do this – regardless of age! Even if you are 20!

To get started, simply write five things you would like to remembered for and then next to each how your are living into each today. At the very least you are crafting how you’d like to live today and letting your legacy be known.

In the Missing Pieces Plan we have a Legacy Questionnaire designed to help you write or craft your legacy. You can include as much or as little as you choose. The information provided will be a gift to your loved ones. To learn more visit www.missingpiecesplan.com.

To order your copy of Missing Pieces Plan, click here:

http://missingpiecesplan.com/amazon

Sending love!

Jody