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My Epitaph


by Glenn Shepard
January 2, 2017
Category: Motivation


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Did You Know?

90% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions don’t keep them, and half of those fail by January 31st.

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When I was 17, a teacher challenged us to write our own obituary.

It was so unnerving to write a paper titled "Glenn Shepard's Obituary" that I confused obituary with epitaph, and came up with this:

Here lie the earthly remains of Glenn Shepard.
He lived with passion, and died with grace.
Because he was here, the world is a better place.

Several years later when Stephen Covey’s best-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” came out, I read the second habit (Begin with the End in Mind) and finally understood. The teacher was trying to get us to write a mission statement for our lives.

Ever since then, I’ve begun each New Year by looking back at all the public faces that died the previous year.

Being reminded that even people who seem “Bigger than Life” can’t escape death gives me an extra kick in the seat of the pants to make the New Year count.

The 2016 list includes:

Alan Thicke
Arnold Palmer
David Bowie
Debbie Reynolds
Carrie Fisher
Fidel Castro
Florence Henderson
Gary Shandling
Gene Wilder
George Michael
Glenn Frey
John Glenn
Merle Haggard
Muhammed Ali
Nancy Reagan
Pat Summit
Patty Duke
Zsa Zsa Gabor

Both of my parents also died in 2016, within a month of each other.

Whether you're the world's biggest celebrity, or just the guy next door trying to get by, the key to a successful life can be summed up in 7 simple words:

Live your life WITH purpose, ON purpose.

Forget about making all those New Year’s Resolutions you’re not going to keep anyway. Just make the commitment that you'll spend every day of 2017 “on purpose”.

When it’s time to work, work. Leave your home life at home and be a professional.

When it’s time to relax, relax. Leave your work life at work and make quality time with your family, your friends, or by yourself, real quality time.

On 12/31/17, you’ll look back with a sense of satisfaction and pride of accomplishment, instead of “wondering where the year went”.

Happy New Year from Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


Glenn Shepard

P.S. If you’ve never done it, I challenge you to write your own epitaph. It’ll depress you at first, but then it’ll make you come alive like nothing you’ve ever done before.

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