There are many reasons you’d choose not to consider death or last wishes a common discussion topic and what occurred to me was subconsciously I was thinking “it’s not going to happen to me yet, therefore it can wait”, but deep down I know it shouldn't wait, I just needed to take the time!
It struck me that when I was making a plan about my life that it’s truly a reflective and inspiring process. As a co-founder of a startup which is focused on encouraging people to have the crucial conversation about their life, getting people to overcome their natural confirmation bias to the subject matter is challenging and hence at times some people are very closed.
I believed that in sharing my own experience it might benefit others. Upon initial thought, it makes you stop and think: Maybe it’s not the right time, but when is? Maybe it’s too hard, but when was anything ever easy? Maybe it’s too raw due to recent events, but that could be true all the time. No time is the right time, it’s about taking time, making the conversation a priority. When talking dying and living, It’s still amazes me the number of people who haven’t completed a will (less than 53% in the U.K. and 45% in the U.S.A.) and by the way this also includes me!
There are many reasons you’d choose not to consider this a common discussion topic and what occurred to me is that subconsciously I was thinking “it’s not going to happen to me yet, therefore it can wait”. There is one certainty in life, so until somebody invents the immortal drug and I’m sure they’re working on it we only get one go at living our life. So when it comes to dying, live a little. This is not meant in anyway to dimmish those that believe in the afterlife.
Why wouldn’t you consider your life? The one you’re leading right now, the one you’ve led and the one you’re about to lead in the future. Our ability to reflect is a skill that was taught to me early on in my life by my English teacher, he was responsible for getting me into Rowing, a sport which led me to compete at two Olympics. He taught us the importance of reflection through practical examples both in the classroom and on the water. I was also reminded about the importance of ‘slow down to speed up’ by the author Patrick Lencioni. Applying this skill to the thought process of making a plan helped me pause for thought.
Now I recognise that this topic might aghast some people but my encouragement to you is: Pause for a moment reflect on what you’ve been doing and how others and yourself see you, think about what you’d like to do, write your thoughts down and share it with others, friends and family. In today’s age of social media we can engage those around us in more dialogue than ever before so why not give it a go? What do you have to be afraid of? Overcome your natural bias’s and those of others, it’s about living life to the full.
Where and how to do this gave birth to huunuu, an online platform for sharing, learning and inspiring each other to have those crucial conversations, you know the ones we typically avoid until that fateful moment when we’re forced to. Usually at a time of high emotion, we’re expected to reflect but invariably we’re taken down a path governed by an industry that hasn’t moved on significantly since Victorian times.
I’d like to share with you my reflections from making my plan and sharing it with others.
My first thought was one of: Where do I start, so I started with the end in mind. This came to me because teaching leadership for the last twelve years has me in the mindset of thinking about my legacy. How do I want to be remembered and what for? My thoughts centred around those things which make me smile, laugh, cry or just plain make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! Once you start this thought process memories and ambitions start to flow. I know for some people this might be better done with others or perhaps a person asking the questions. For me, initially, it’s quiet time alone.
The huunuu platform enabled me to create my own ideas, be inspired by the curated content and other people who had chosen to share their plans. During this time, I was thoughtful about the family and friends who had passed away over the years and I was curious as to what their thoughts might have been? I found this very sombre but uplifting.
My thoughts shifted around different themes: Music, films, books, sports, stationery (yes, stationery) and some how the ideas began to flow. What would I like, how, when, where, with whom? All provoking different outcomes. How I wanted to be remembered was based on the legacy and memories that I wanted to leave.
This also started me thinking about the life I want to lead, the part of the story not yet told or even created. So I built a different plan full of ideas on the things I wanted to do and my mind disappeared off into an aspirational world akin to firework in the sky.
Now I’ve created my plans, which are really my own thoughts, not shared with anybody, I wanted to share these for input, comment and challenge which I was quite nervous about. The huunuu platform allowed me to nominate some genies, close family and friends, to share with and through this online dialogue my initial thoughts became influenced by their perceptions. Having worked in personal development for over twenty years it still surprises me that what others see is different to what we see of ourselves. Currently we are having some great conversations on and offline, the beauty of the online environment is that I can involve those friends from around the world.
Just stop and think about this, when would this community of people ever have a view on you’re life, offer feedback, inspiration and encouragement, probably never unless you wanted to share it all on Facebook. These are private thoughts to be shared with a few but you can and I did, share my plans publicly by which I hoping to inspire others into have those crucial conversations on the life they’ve led and the remainder of the story which is not yet written.
You can find my plan on www.huunuu.com take a look under the inspiration page. Not all of my ideas are shown to the public, if you are one of my genies then you can see everything. But while we are making improvements make sure come and create your plan!