Writing Your Obituary – #112

Another Marathon Complete

On Monday, May 15th, I and 27 other golfers dared to do the near impossible…golf 100 holes in a single day. This was the 4th Annual OEF 100 Holes of Golf Marathon and it was an amazing success. As I write this, 383 incredible people donated to the cause, supporting our 28 golfer fundraisers.

In the process, over $46,000 was raised (we almost reached our goal of $50,000…although there is still time).

You may ask, what does that mean?

In two words, a lot.

The money raised goes directly to kids (and families) who need speech therapy and cannot afford it. The event will provide nearly 1,000 hours of speech therapy services to kids from all over the United States.

Orange Effect Foundation (OEF) works directly with speech therapists in 35 states to deliver these funds to families in need. So far, OEF has over 350 grants out to children in those 35 states.

In short, we are making a difference. But we need to do even more. You have no idea how great the need is…lack of family funds, no insurance, etc. When parents must choose between feeding the family or speech therapy, you can guess which one wins. That’s why OEF was created.

I personally want to thank the almost 50 people who donated to me at an incredible $4,907 total. A thank you note will be forthcoming.

Oh, and we (Jim Kozak and I) completed the 100 holes in 12 hours and 15 minutes, making a birdie or two along the way.

Writing Your Obituary

Many people talk about designing your life for success.

Warren Buffett recently talked about how to do this.

1. Write your obituary.
2. Set goals to make it come true.

Perhaps a bit morbid … so my friend and colleague Robert Rose says to do this instead.

1. Write your bio of your future self. Preferably five years out.
2. Design your life to make it happen.

Getting there requires chunk goals, meaning this:

1. Every year write down all the things you need to accomplish to make the biography happen.
2. Cross out everything except for five goals.
3. Accomplish those five goals in 365 days. Then repeat for the next year.
4. In five years, you’ll have the bio (or obituary) you want.

Reader (and friend) Matt White recommends Donald Miller’s book (and process) Hero on a Mission, which guides you through this process. I haven’t checked it out yet but will. There is also a course available.

On Turning 50

As most of you know, I turned 50 on May 10th. Thanks to so many of you for the birthday wishes.

In the run up to the big day, I talked to quite a few “more seasoned” individuals about what I should expect from turning the big 5-0.

Here are some of the notes I took from those conversations (in no particular order).

More Time with the Family or Friends You Have. This one, in various forms, was the most repetitive. People discussed missing parents and kids and I sensed a bit of regret about not taking advantage of those relationships while they had the time.

Go Deep Not Wide. There was a desire to focus on getting super close to a small group of friends over seeking more friends.

Use Money for Time. Money becomes important only to create more time and experiences. There was a lot of “I wish I would have traveled more while I was healthy” or “I always wanted to go to Italy.” Basically, the mantra was “just do it now while you can.” Don’t wait.

Get Healthy Now. I heard a lot that at ages 50 to 60 most people were still quite healthy…that the pains and health problems didn’t appear until after 60. So there was quite a bit of talk about focusing on health at 50 to push off aging as much as possible.

The “I Wish I” Syndrome. Wow this was a recurring theme. Almost everyone wished they had done something. Learned to play guitar. Write a novel. Run a marathon. It was strange how many people who were in their mid-60’s believed it was now too late to do these things (which isn’t true, but they were statements made as facts).

There were more, but these seemed to be the majority.

One person said this: “It’s just a number Joe. Get over yourself.” Also good advice. 🙂

For me, I’m planning to write my next novel before I’m 51. As for the other goals, I’m working on those now and will share them with you when they are complete.

On Writing Novels

My friend Jeff Korhan recommended I read Haruki Murakami’s book “Novelist as a Vocation” while we were chatting at Creator Economy Expo.

I’m about halfway through and loving it.

One of my biggest takeaways is what Murakami recommends to aspiring novelists – read as much as you can. Read from great authors, mediocre authors and bad authors.

This makes sense to me. I feel I have become a better writer, not necessarily through more writing, but through more reading.

I make a similar recommendation to content entrepreneurs. When someone tells me they want to start a podcast and then asks for advice, I generally tell them to listen to as many podcasts as possible. The same thing goes for becoming a YouTuber or a newsletter writer.

NOTE: You would be astonished the number of people who want to write books and don’t read, or create a podcast and don’t listen to any.

So whatever you want to create, make sure you become a connoisseur of that particular medium. You’ll begin to notice what works, what doesn’t, and you’ll more naturally find your differentiation area in between.

As a final note, so much of this newsletter was aided by friends and colleagues. I realized that almost all these people are readers of this newsletter.

So, if someone asks me how they can find more friends, I’m going to tell them to start a newsletter.

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