Live for Eulogy, not Resume

For about the last year, I’ve been receiving a weekly reflection from Holstee. Holstee was started a few years back by two brothers who wanted to build tools for inspiration and living fully.

This morning’s email from Dave was titled: “My eulogy.”

That’s pretty deep for a Monday morning, but after my morning workout, I read the email which brought me to this TED Talk from David Brooks of the New York Times:

In the talk, Brooks talks about the conflict between our “resumé self” and our “eulogy self.”

It’s a fascinating insight into the conflict between our desire for accomplishments that make us more attractive to employers — those things that advance our career — and our desire to be good humans so that our lives leave a legacy of goodness — so our eulogy is worthwhile.

In this time off, I’m kicking myself for not spending more time focusing on my eulogy but it’s difficult when you’re job searching. You’re focusing on those resumé accomplishments because they’re what matter to potential employers.

Dave bravely shared a journal entry in which he shared his own eulogy. I’m going to attempt a draft at mine.

Shane loved life fiercely. More than anything, he loved living it side-by-side with his wife and best friend, Alli. Together, they captured life’s moments for others as photographers, they traveled the world and experienced other cultures, they made each other and others laugh, and they prioritized spending time with the people they loved over all. 

During his life, Shane’s vocation rarely defined him, mostly because he wouldn’t let it. In his work, he made those around him better by expecting excellence and delivering it whenever he could. He was a communicator and a connector and he loved telling stories.

He liked eating food with friends and family, sometimes too much. He read books when he could, though not as much as he should. His dad passed along an obsession with gadgets and music. He always wanted to learn to play guitar like his dad, but struggled to find the diligence to do so.

More than anything, he loved Alli. They loved traveling, going to the movies and spending time with their dogs at home in front of the fireplace. They rarely spent more than a few days at a time apart and they never seemed to get sick of each other. Even to the end, when they Thelma & Louise’d it over the cliff at the age of 100. 

So that’s my first draft of my eulogy. What would yours say?

Author: Shane

Shane Adams is a marketer, designer, blogger and preacher man who lives in the Kansas City area with his beautiful artist wife Alli and his corn-chip-smelling dog, Dreyfuss.

3 thoughts on “Live for Eulogy, not Resume”

  1. In addition to the Shared comments today of Eulogy, vs Resume, and David Brook’s insights, may I also commend tot he community the TED TALK by Randy Pausch, entitled The Last Lecture: Randy says, “It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.”
    Here is the YouTube Link:

    It made add another facet to this discussion, which many of us wrestle with, in terms of end-of-life. I do, and I am ‘only’ 68 years old. PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK, AND IF THIS IS RELEVANT.
    Your Holstee member,

  2. BTW, aside from my horrible typing, I would welcome comments, whether on our FB page, or, if Michael and Dave say it is OK…. directly:

    Michael/Dave – I have posted this separately — if not appropriate, please delete and let me know!!

  3. I recently wrote the eulogy for my beloved grandfather. It was a sacred act. In writing what he meant to me and taught me, I was able to connect with the ways that I want to keep his memory and goodness alive through living his values and principles. On reflection, I would say I’ve always lived for my eulogy rather than for my resume, and while at points I feel like my career doesn’t reflect my capabilities, I know that my life has, does, and continues to. Your eulogy is beautiful, Shane. What a rich exercise.

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