Because we’ve both had near-death experiences, people often ask us the ponderous question, is there life after death?
Well, let’s forget about esoteric musings on reincarnation or resurrection for the moment. We have an even more immediate question. What about life after birth?
What do we mean?
Too many times we find that our clients (and, at times ourselves) are merely surviving each day that passes.
Surviving isn’t really living, it’s just existing. That’s why we spend our time these days exploring the practice of thriving.
Thriving may be natural (just look at nature) but most of us never got the manual and no one taught us much about it.
Here’s a suggestion, based on the idea that information can be a best friend:
Create a life-line vision board. Or, if you don't have poster board available, tape four regular sheets of paper together, orient them in landscape mode (long) and draw a line across the middle of the page. Mark the left extreme “birth” and the right extreme “death.”
Then pick a point along that line to indicate where you are right now. Depending on your age (and anticipated end date) you will position yourself somewhere on that left to right spectrum.
Here’s your life on paper, except there’s nothing there yet. Now start filling in the blanks.
On the birth side of the sheet, note memories of peak experiences or major milestone—both positive and negative.
Stepping back for a moment to survey your life line, you may experience a profound awareness shift. This much of your life is used up; this much lies ahead. What do you regret about your past? What have you loved about it thus far?
Now, for the next step . . . what are you eager to experience in your future?
On the future side of your life line list experiences, moments, goals, and passions you want to make sure you experience in whatever time you have left (be it 3 months or 7 decades). And here’s an important tip . . . what you list on that future side of the line, between where you are now and your transition date (or as some call it -- your expiration date), doesn’t have to be dependent upon external circumstances.
As we shared in past blogs and in our book Thriving in Business and Life, once we realize that we can infuse each moment in our life with the values and passions we carry with us, we become not only freer but also more powerful in transforming everyday life experiences into powerful, meaning-filled moments.
You can take this exercise to another level by hauling out some old magazines and cutting out images and words that represent your memories and your future intentions, dreams, and desires. Paste them up there and then post the whole thing on a wall somewhere. You don’t have to finish before you post it.
Having your life displayed like this can encourage you to make the most of every day. After all, you’re inching your way along that line every day. You can turn this trajectory into much more than just a linear record of aging; it can become a map for your surviving-to-thriving adventure.
Unless we decide to consciously partner with life in co-creating the days, months, and years that truly matter, it will pass us by—far more quickly than we may imagine.
Here’s our Thriving tip for the week—one which we invite you join us in modeling so that our remaining days are filled with future memories that we can relish today:
“Thriving is natural.
Just look at nature.”
Perhaps our aim may seem idealistic . . . but having been to the other side and back, we've come to realize just how precious each and every moment is. So why not live like it? Worst case, we'll each move a little further from merely surviving and even closer to fully thriving.
Christopher Harding and Will Wilkinson