Several years ago, Lloyd Reeb, a friend, coach and primary spokesman for the Halftime Institute, introduced me to an exercise designed to help me develop the start of a personal mission statement. Here’s the scenario he proposed. Imagine it’s your 80th birthday. Your spouse or a friend planned a quiet evening at your favorite restaurant. When you arrive, you are surprised to see the whole restaurant is reserved for you. Your closest family, friends and colleagues are all there. And now the fun begins. There’s a microphone in front of the room.

80thBDayThe heart of the envisioning exercise is wrapped around three open-ended statements. The surprise birthday guests at your party have been asked to speak about three things. And those three statements are to be about you and your life:

1 – Here’s what I admire most about you…

2 – Here’s the difference you made in my life…

3 – Your #1 lifetime achievement of significance is…

When I responded to that exercise a few years ago, I wrote down three statements I envisioned: 1) He loved God and people. 2) He introduced me to a meaningful and personal relationship with God. And 3) he created a movement much larger than himself.

I reflected on that visualizing practice this week as I was celebrating my 61st birthday. Receiving over 600 birthday greetings through various social media platforms, I noticed something as I read each of them. Of course, some were a quick “Happy Birthday, Dennis.” But quite a few included statements about my impact and influence on them. And guess what? I noticed all three of the above wishes I had for my 80th birthday included in the birthday greeting comments. I was amazed. Moved. Humbled. Gratified. Inspired. And blessed. I don’t have to wait two more decades to find out my legacy.

That 80th birthday imagination accomplished its purpose. It helped me develop a personal mission statement and to be very intentional about living on mission over the years. I’m seeing the fruit. I’m getting the rewards already. I’m thankful.

How about you? What would you want to hear from your family, friends and peers on these three issues? You can’t build an intentional plan for the future if you don’t have a vision of what you want it to look like. This exercise will help you envision a second half or a third third of life that you consider meaningful and satisfying. I know because I’ve done it.


Question: What do you want said about you in those three areas? I’d love to hear at least one of them in the comment section below. Thanks!

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