Friday, May 29, 2009

How Many People Will Come to Your Funeral?

Top 5 Ways to Lead an Enriching Life in Business

I lost an amazing friend this past week - someone who inspired thousands of people in his work, personal life and through a very full existence. He managed to pack, in a mere 38 years, at least 300 years of living. This weekend, I will attend his wake & memorial service with friends & family...and there are expected to be HUNDREDS of people there to celebrate this special life (and I say "celebrate," because it is not a time of mourning - JG would have wanted us to throw a party instead!)

I fought with this blog submission all week - how do you write about this? It came to me pretty easily, because I have been so very touched by HOW MANY people have reached out via Facebook, email, CaringBridge and alumni sites to express their emotion. How could one person be like a brother to hundreds and hundreds? Easy. He just subscribed to the theory that everyone was family & treated them as such, every day...and reaped the rewards of having so many unique experiences with so many amazing people.

So in his honor and spirit, and subscribing this to many people would attend your funeral if you died? It's not a popularity contest - it's about how many people you've touched along the way. Here are the top 5 tips to "give back" to others. I'm going to start living them myself!

1) Give back to someone, every day. Relationships, friendships, marriage & family are all work (we like to forget that...since they are "there" all the time, we don't necessarily need to invest in them like we do our work life). Well, we do, every day - and we need to invest the most. By connecting and reconnecting with the people closest to us, we continue cultivating rewarding and fulfilling experiences....thus making the full 24 hours of your day more eventful. It wil make you feel better, even if you're having a bad day, to do something for someone else.

2) Find your inner "six degrees of separation". Go to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or your alumni websites and find old friends. Don't be afraid that "they won't remember you" or "he didn't like me in high school," you'd be surprised how willing & open people are to just connect with their past. In the journey, you'll be rewarded with new friends, old friends and "friends of friends" who can share stories about the bigger picture. Your network will grow in more ways than just work!

3) Subscribe to the Laundry Theory. A dear friend taught me this one who gives to people all the time...this means, you don't ever look over your shoulder when giving and providing to and for others, you just do it and in time it all comes out in the laundry. If it doesn't, then that person probably doesn't subscribe or understand the meaning of your gift. So give, and give often.

4) Don't sweat the small stuff. When you have tiffs here and there, it's easy to internalize them, dwell about them and want to hold a grudge. Why would we? We're given a finite amount of time on this earth, and every second we spend angry at others is a selfish moment that we can't get back. Lose the attitude and the ego - when things "don't go your way," accept the difference and shrug it off!

5) Tim McGraw sang it best..."Live Like You Were Dying." He's right - if you give it your all, all of the time no matter what you're doing (personal life, work life, spiritual life), you will open yourself up to so many experiences and journeys. Don't wish time away if you're having a bad day - tomorrow you'll wake up after losing 24 hours, and still feel the same. Make it a great day, every day!

So the next time someone says to you, "Let's go to that one-armed arm wrestling contest that's here for one day only!" Instead of laughing it off, take them up on it - because if it will enrich your life; give you quality time with others whom you love; give you a story you can't beat; or just plain give you multiple belly was worth it.

If you'd like to find out more about the person who inspired this post, Major Jason E. George, here are a few links:

To be inspired on Facebook via his Memorial Page:

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