I spent the past weekend in New York at a conference with my fellow classmates from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I was so energized and amazed to be in the presence of these amazing people that are working to live out their dream of making the world a healthier place.
Among the speakers were Joshua Rosenthal, the founder of IIN, Deepak Chopra, Walter Willet, and Arianna Huffington, just to name a few. They were all incredible and each brought a unique perspective to the weekend.
I had never heard Arianna Huffington speak before, but I must say, she was absolutely amazing. With humor, compassion, and a large dose of down-to-Earth realism, she told it like it is!
One thing she said that really stuck with me was about our eulogies; what people would say about us when we die. She remarked that when people pass, their eulogy is not about the work that they did (their resume) it is about the kind of person they were. THIS HIT HOME! We spend so much time at work, climbing the corporate ladder, working to move up so we can get…you guessed it…more work, that we don’t get to enjoy our lives!
Now I realize that we all have to work. We need to make a living, we need to pay our bills, feed our families, and give something to society; but do we have to do all of this at the expense of our health and our relationships? I did, for a long time. I spent so much time building my career that I tore down my marriage. I spent so much time trying “keep up with the Joneses” that I was no longer keeping up with my friends and family. I was focusing on all the wrong things!
When I die, and obviously, that’s going to happen at some point. I don’t want people to go to my funeral and say, “Karen was the best damn HR Director I ever met,” or, “Karen spent more time in the office than anyone else!” I want people to say that I was caring, and loving, and nice, and funny, and compassionate. I want them to say that I always looked out for others, was never too busy to help out a friend, was a good listener, and I had a kind heart.
But then I realized that my audio wasn’t matching my video, meaning, that I was saying this is what I wanted, but all my actions were saying something else.
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t work hard, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have a career you are proud of, but I am urging you to think about what (if anything) you are giving up for your success. I recently read that the average amount of time parents spend in meaningful conversation with their kids is 3 1/2 minutes per week…PER WEEK!!!!! That’s about 30 seconds a day! Is the corner office really worth that?
What will people say about you in your eulogy? What do you WANT them to say? Here’s a novel idea; go get a piece of paper and write your eulogy. Seriously. Write down what you want someone to say about you and then, go out there and start living a life that reflects that. In other words, make sure your audio matches your video!
Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well. And until next time, veg in, don’t veg out!
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