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  • Jessica Harris

Who do you want to be?

Updated: Oct 2, 2018


In memory of Clarence Elsen (AKA- Grandpa or Gramps). Rest in Peace.


In 2015, I began working at school where the culture of leadership is based on Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. As a new employee, I attended a training class to learn about Covey’s habits and how it could transform my life so I could then contribute to the culture of Leadership at our school.

Of the seven habits, my all time favorite is Habit #2- “Begin with the End in Mind”.

Last week I attended my grandfather’s funeral. The Priest's sermon during Mass was a beautiful tribute to my grandfather and was also very thought provoking. He described my grandfather’s faithfulness to God and his devotion to his family and his wife. The sermon about my grandpa seemed easy for the Priest as he didn’t look at notes and he didn’t sound rehearsed. I think it was easy for him to talk about my grandpa because Gramps lived a life to be remembered. While I sat in the pews at their gorgeous church, I wondered to myself if that is just how Gramps was naturally, or did he plan ahead and think about who he was, how he would live his life, and how he would be remembered. Did he live intentionally?

This sermon triggered a memory from my attendance in that 7 Habits training class back in 2015. We watched a video of Covey talking about funerals. He said to imagine yourself at your own funeral. There you are, at your funeral, lying in your casket. There are people around you, but you can still hear them. Like a ghost-fly on the wall, you can buzz around the room and hear what each person is saying. Covey asked, “What are they saying about you?” Then the question becomes, “What do you want them to say about you?” This begins the journey of always knowing where you’re going before you get there. You have you think about your internal road map, wholly based on your values, principles, the knowledge you have about your strengths, and you own imagined scripts.

After watching the video we spent some time journaling. We thought about how we could be in a casket tomorrow and it’s never too late to think about how to make a change today that can impact our own life and the lives of others. We defined key people in our lives and wrote what we would want them to say at our funeral or a special celebration. We wrote about who we want to be.

“It doesn’t really matter how fast you’re going if you’re heading in the wrong direction.” – Stephen R. Covey.

This exercise led us to defining our personal mission statements. In 2015, we spent 5 minutes writing anything that came to our minds. While I brainstormed things that were important to me and things that I wanted to be remembered for, I never actually took these thoughts and created a formal mission statement for my life. This is what I wrote in 2015. “I want to be a strong, respected woman. I want relationships to drive my life- not work. I want to be married to Rick when we are old and grey. I want my kids to love me, want to spend time with me and think of me as friend when they are older. I want to keep people who are close to me in my heart at all times. I want to be patient, kind and understanding. I want to always improve myself and never think I have it all together. I want someone to look at my portrait and feel positivity. I want to feel loved. I want to be a better daughter and give my parents time and attention, as it is not all about me, my life and how busy I am. I want Rick to love me with every ounce of his being.”

Two years later, I took the training again. Again, I wrote my thoughts for 5 minutes straight putting anything down on paper that popped in my head. But this time I pulled my thoughts together into a formal mission statement. I read this every day when I get to work to remind myself of where I am going. My one year booze snooze is just one stepping stone to finding happiness, serenity, fulfillment and value in living.

To find happiness, serenity, fulfillment and value in living…

  • I want to create balance among all of my obligations

  • Build a reputation of being influential to others and dedicated to my goals

  • Trust in my faith with God

  • Work thru conflict calmly and respectfully

  • Maintain positive relationships with family, friends, and coworkers by remaining emotionally present, attentive, and supportive

  • Go through life believing every day is Friday, wearing a smile on my face, joy in my voice, and hope in my heart.

Who do you want to be?

#7habits #Habit2 #Beginwiththeendinmind #Legacy #Tribute #Grandpa #Covey #StephenCovey

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