Jul 162012

I heard a great story at a conference the other day that I would like to share with you. Its author is unknown.

The story goes like this:

A young woman had been diagnosed with a terminal illness; doctors says she had three months to live. As she was getting her things “in order,” she contacted her priest and asked him to come to her house to discuss her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the funeral service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the priest was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.

“What’s that?” came the priest’s reply.

“This is very important,” the young woman continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The priest stood looking at her, not knowing quite what to say.

“That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the woman asked.

“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the priest.

The young woman explained.“ In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!

“So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them: Keep your fork. The best is yet to come.‘”

After hearing this story, every time I reach down for my fork, I remember that the best is yet to come.



May 072012

Cheri Britton is one of the most talented and funny motivational speakers, authors, and coaches I know. Cheri inspires people and organizations to break out of the old mindsets that hold them back by showing them how to lower the bar to raise their game, find the funny in the frustrating, and kick their  “big ol’ butts” to the curb. Here’s what is on Cheri’s mind this month:

One of the simplest and most overlooked ways to feel happy is to be productive. Not the nose-to-the-grindstone kind of productive, but the gently-getting-things-done kind of productive.  Make time to do something today that cannot undone in a day. For example, straighten the kitchen junk drawer, weed a flower bed, or send a card to that long-distant friend. With a little effort you can experience the yummy goodness of making things happen.

Find out more about Cheri at http://www.CheriBritton.com.


Mar 182012

Do you ever read something and have a magical “aha moment”? Here’s one of mine.

Erich Fromm in To Have or To Be? describes a modern misconception. He writes that most of us spend our lives trying to:

Have enough (money, power, things) so that we can…

Do what we want in terms of work and how we spend our time, because then we can…

Be happy.

Unfortunately, most of us get stuck at the first step: we never “have enough.” As a result, we put living our lives on hold.

“Once I pay off the house, I will consider changing careers.”

“When the kids are grown, I’ll deal with my marriage.”

“When I retire, I will take up painting, golf, or traveling.”

Fromm says that in order to have a rich life you need to invert the formula. First, you need to:

Be who you are. Know your strengths, weaknesses, and your purpose. This self-awareness will lead you to….

Do what you love. When you use your unique strengths to be of service to others, you will be rewarded, and…

Be happy. You’ll have what you need. That doesn’t mean you will have everything you want, but it does mean you will have what you need. Dick Leider says in The Power of Purpose, “There are two ways to be rich; one is to have more, the other is to want less.”

How can you invert the having, doing, and being cycle? Stop making money your primary goal. Instead, follow your passion, heart, and values. Stop measuring your success by your bank account. Measure your success by your happiness.

Happiness is a feeling that comes from inside; it cannot be bought. Sure, you can feel unhappy if you don’t have enough money to meet your basic needs, but after that, money will not make you happy. To be happy, do what you love to do and do it to be of service to others.