Plan Your Funeral, Start Early, by Being Kind

In a recent Knowledge@Wharton article, Remembering Jon M. Huntsman, Sr.: Lessons from a Compassionate Leader, Huntsman writes: “I have attended many funerals in my life…. I have never heard in a funeral that this person made a lot of money or is politically very strong. They never discuss that. In a funeral, people discuss how this person was kind or gracious or had character and integrity.… For some people who are not kind, thoughtful or gracious, their funerals are very short. Nobody has anything to say. I learned from the funerals that we must plan our funerals when we are young. Plan your funeral, start early, by being kind.”

Some of life’s and leadership’s basic lessons are fundamentally simple and obvious. Yet, along the way, among the seemingly endless multitude of professional and personal priorities that fill the great leaders’ journey, these lessons are muted and sometimes lost, only to be found again in a momentary pause that again highlights their critical significance in the full and meaningful living of their life. We find them now in Huntsman’s words: “Plan your funeral, start early, by being kind.”

In his book, 7 Habits of Highly effective People, Stephen Covey teaches great leaders a valuable leadership principle: Begin with the End in Mind. Great leaders ardently embrace this principle tightly knowing that understanding and committing to their end purpose/goal serves as the pathway for everything they will do to achieve it. And so it is when Huntsman writes: “Plan your funeral, start early, by being kind.” What do you choose that people will say of you?  Mark Twain wrote: “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” May your kindness and caring touch the lives and hearts of those whom you serve. These beautiful actions will be the paving stones of the steps of your magnificent journey.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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1 Response to Plan Your Funeral, Start Early, by Being Kind

  1. Michael:
    This is 100% on the mark. I have worked with many “leaders” only to be disappointed by their lack of kindness. This is such an important lesson we need to impart on our future leaders so they never loose sight on what is real in our lives! Thank you for sharing this will us all!

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