ago, we had a group of friends, most of whom were high achievers, over for
dinner. Amongst our guests was a client, who had returned to Canada after
working as a director at a hospice in California.
The Game-Changing Question
to tie in our dinner discussion with what she did, by posing this question to
my dinner guests: “What would you be doing differently if you were told you
only had 30 days left to live?’
It was a
question I had never ever thought about, but as my guests started answering it,
it became apparent that most of us were living our lives differently from how
we would be if there were a greater sense of urgency.
It was a
beautiful, early summer day, and as I contemplated my answer, I looked out of
our floor-to-ceiling windows that surrounded the dining table, appreciating the
to dawn on me that for someone who preached “authenticity,” the only thing real
in my life was the breathtaking views of Mt. Baker on one side and the
snowcapped Olympic Mountains on the other, with the Juan D Fuca Strait in the
As my turn
came to answer the question, I found a way to deflect, because my marriage, my
work, my words, my truth, my entire life barely reflected what I would be doing
if I were told that I only had 30 days left to live. My whole life hardly
represented what my heart ached for.
guests left and the dishes put away, I got ready for bed. The answer to the
question must have lingered in my subconscious while I slept because I awoke
with tears streaming down my face. How did I detour so far off from my center?
The Decisions That Really Matter
pulled by so many different deafening voices telling us how we are supposed to
be, we can barely hear the whispers of our heart. I did finally tune in and make
a series of difficult decisions that I have not regretted.
I am in
the business of inspiring people to a mindset of living fully and using their
financial resources to support that.
realization that we never know when the clock on our last 30 days would start
ticking compelled me to reframe my conversations with my clients. The usual
question, “Who do you want to leave your asset to?” turned into, “What kind of
impact would you like to have once you’re gone?”
Questions to Inspire a Different Kind of Financial Life
know that we can’t take anything with us beyond the grave.
our conversation on money started not with what we’ve accumulated but rather
what we wanted to leave behind?
look at your life through the lens of what you are leaving behind, perhaps it
looks different from what it is now. Perhaps you would do a lot of things differently
with the assets you own.
you would approach the subject a lot more carefully if you knew you could make
an impact on those around you long after you are gone. Perhaps you would think
more about the way you spend your finances, your time, and energy.
What if we
started the conversation on money not from what we wanted but what we already
had? Not from what we kept but from what we shared? Will our conversation on
money be different from what it is now?
We are not
all called to save the world or start a school for girls in Africa. But we are
all called to do our best and leave a legacy that matters.
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself
what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because
what the world needs is people who have come
alive.” – Howard Thurman
you then script your life if you knew you only had 30 days left to live? How
would you then manage your estate? What would you want to be doing the last
hour of your time on earth? Are you doing all of that now?