One of the things that gives my mother the biggest kick, and enables her to forgive my rather unusual career choice, is when we receive messages from people who have been inspired to review and reflect upon their lives when they heard about my own change of direction. One such is Andre Branco from Brazil, who asked me how I did the obituary exercise that first brought it home to me that my life was heading in the wrong direction. (I briefly describe this in the intro video on my home page at www.rozsavage.com.)
As I recall, my answer was rather vague, along the lines that I just sat down and did it. Andre has taken this to a higher level, and I’d like to share with you what he wrote to me a week or so ago – in case you’re thinking of doing your own life audit.
Warning: this process can seriously change your life!
Over to Andre….
For the last three months, I deliberately squeezed myself between two pressures: the shame of replying your last Facebook message with anything different than what I’m about to say below; and the shame of taking too long to reply.
The first nudge prompted me not to reply until I acted; the second prompted me to reply. So I had no choice but to act.
It worked wonderfully: I’ve “finished” my Dream Obituary.
(I quote the “finished”, since I believe it will always be a work-in-progress document; a wonderful and very well-thought 80/20 nevertheless.)
In a Nutshell:
I want to tell you how grateful I am for the insights you shared with me! Knowing how much you achieved after it gave me the will I needed to take the whole process serious. And now I have a solid photograph of who I want to become in my life, plus actions to take now to start bridging the gap. Nothing could be more important. =)
- Printed the last message you sent me, describing how your process was, and took it with me to Buenos Aires. (I spent 10 days there on my own, between tango and cycling.)
- In the 1st Jan, I sat down in a quiet, nice cafe (see photos). I ordered some nice yerba mate to sip and stay focused. I re-read your message, meditated on how far you’ve gone by starting with this process, and dove into the blank paper.
- Some four hours later, I had a quite exhaustive-but-to-the-point four-page manuscript before me.
- Although an obituary is something read in third in person, I deliberately and consciously chose to write in first person to highlight to myself that the evaluation might be my point-of-view, not the impression of others. (If people happen to misinterpret my life and intentions in my obituary, that’s less of a problem, isn’t it?)
- Two weeks later, I typed the draft, corrected some phrasing and regrouped the assertions in five different sections for the sake of clarity and easiness to remember.
- Just today, after weeks of procrastination, I addressed every single bullet in there with two replies: STATUS and NEXT ACTION. I hadn’t so far thought about the gap between who I want to become and who I am, and the exercise gave me the chance to reflect on this gap and on how to bridge it starting today! The good thing: in some topics, I was either quite done or at least already very on track.
- Finally, I chose the frequency the document was going to be checked and reviewed, and calendarized it.
- Although the big picture is in my head all the time, I chose to address (focus on, think about, pay more attention to) one specific topic a week, so I don’t get overwhelmed and am sure to take baby steps, one at a time
- .…and that’s it. Now, lots of work ahead.
Rio de Janeiro
(right now kinda shielded from the way-too-noisy Carnival going on out there)
I hope you’ll find Andre’s process helpful – and thanks to Andre for allowing me to share.
Phew. This has been a heck of a week. About 20 meetings, plus various scheduled phone calls. Lots of really cool stuff happening that I would love to share with you, but it may be a little premature. So for now I’ll post a couple of photos and leave the rest to your imagination.
But be assured, it’s ALL good!
Presentation at Google – followed up with a meeting with Google Ocean folks.
Poring over charts with Captain Vince of the White Holly – the research vessel that helped me salvage the Brocade in 2007 after the aborted attempt on the Pacific. Hmm, where to land between Hawaii and Australia? So many options!