My name is Justin. I’m 27 years old. And I just wrote my obituary.

No, not because I’m dying.

But just because I’ve lost sight of what really matters.

Let’s back it up a few hours.

A friend (also named Justin – we’re awesome) had recommended a book called “Burn Your Goals” written by a couple of guys that work with some of the biggest college sports programs in the country.

I started reading the book and one of the things they want you to do is to write what you’d like to be said at your funeral.

It seems like such a bizarre exercise. I’d read an article from them before and ignored doing it.

This time I actually did it. Wow.

The reasoning is sound – typically what you want said about your life has nothing to do with what how much money you made, your corporate status, all the cool stuff you had, the vacations you did, what cars you drove, or how big your house was.

Yet, this is the stuff that consumes us every day that we keep grinding it out for.

Have you ever thought about what your life would look like if you didn’t watch TV, aimlessly search through your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest, or play video games? I avoid this thought at all costs.

Because I love that stuff. And deep down I know that it eats up way too much time in my life, but I figure at some point I’ll get a little more serious about doing more things that matter – but for right now, I’ll just watch another episode of Scrubs (into Season 6 in less than a month if you’re wondering…)

The point these guys are trying to make in the book is a good one, though:

Spending your time thinking about your goals isn’t productive.

Instead, spend your time on the things you can do today that will help you achieve your dreams.

There’s two key things here.

One is we spend way more time dreaming about all these things that we want to happen in life than we do actually putting a plan in place of things we can do every day to get there.

Two is that our goals are often things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things or aren’t really what we want. They’re things that will make us happy but not fulfilled.

The difference between happiness and fulfillment is unbelievably big.

Goals can bring happiness that doesn’t last, but dreams bring fulfillment. They’re the big life things that leave a mark on this world when you’re gone. Your purpose.

And the only way to start living a life of fulfillment is taking each day to do something that you know deep down took you one step closer to the obituary you want being true.

It’s really reset something in me as I search for what I want to do next. My first step is to start being a lot more serious about what I do each and every day. I’ve committed to three simple things that will help me move forward every day. I hope to grow this list to 5-7 things, but I wanted to start small:

  1. Read my Bible for 15 minutes
  2. Learn for 30 minutes (book, video, podcast)
  3. Write a blog post

Then it got me thinking about what I wanted to do next as I’m in limbo with trying to sort out my professional life. Whatever I do, it’s not going to be about the money. Or the power. Or the fame. Or the stuff.

It’s going to be about an opportunity to help me move forward towards the words I want read at my funeral.

I don’t really want to share what I wrote because it seems a bit cheesy, but when I really think about it, it’s the stuff that really matters to me.

Seriously, though, you’ll easily spend 3 minutes watching a twerking fail which will add zero to your life. Actually take just a couple minutes and go write yours. It’s powerful.

I’ve found that thinking about my death has helped me focus on why I’m living.

Here’s mine:

Justin was a wonderful husband to his wife, Megan. He served her, put her first, and made her life worth living.

He was also a dad to a lot of kids that needed one – bringing as many as he could into his own home and giving them hope and dreams for the future.

Justin had a lot of people that looked to him as a great friend. He was honest with them, served their dreams, and helped them when they were in need.

Whether in personal or business, Justin carried himself with the same attitude – confident in what he could do and honest in what he couldn’t (but often figuring it out).

At work, he loved building relationships with people and helping them grow to their full potential. He loved to impart insight, understanding, and empathy to people to help them build their own relationships.

He didn’t treated this world as a bystander, observer, or critic, but as a son of the Creator, giving as much as he could and imparting hope to as many people as he could.

The world was a better place by having Justin in it. People learned to love because of him.

photo credit: jmv0586 via photopin cc