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Bucket List

Try Writing Your Obituary to Achieve Business Goals

By Business Alchemist Dennis Zink


In the spirit of slowing down life, it was fun to read about writing your obituary to achieve business goals. According to Dennis Zink, this exercise forces you to think about the big picture of your life. How do you want to be remembered? What have you accomplished?

Many years ago, I was asked to write my own obituary. My initial reaction was: I feel healthy, I hope that I have more time left, and why should I do this anyway? It turned out to be one of the better exercises I have ever done.

This exercise forces you to think about the big picture of your life. How do you want to be remembered? What have you accomplished, and more importantly, what do you want to do with your remaining time? Go ahead and try it.

Here’s some help for thinking this through:

  • Historical: Make a list of what you have done (accomplished) that you are proud of. What have you enjoyed most that are your best-remembered occasions? Reflect on your successes and celebrate them as near as possible to the accomplishment.
  • Future: What is on your bucket list? List those things that you still want to do during your life. If your bucket list is not in writing, perhaps it is time to write it down. Put accomplish-by dates for each item.
  • Desirable but not existing: List those things that are desirable but currently do not exist in your life. These are the basis for your goals.
  • Non-desirable and existing: List those things that exist in your life and are non-desirable. These are your obstacles. Write them down and start thinking about how to remove them. Work towards making these changes. Start today.
  • Complications: List the complications that would arise if you died suddenly. Determine what you would need to do to avoid those complications, and then develop a plan to eliminate them. For example: What if you have a business with partners and there is a sudden death? Hopefully, there is a buy-sell agreement that is funded with the insurance proceeds of the decedent. A buy-sell properly structured will require the surviving owner to buy and the heirs to sell the shares, thus preventing a surviving owner from ending up in business with a partner’s spouse or children.


Goal setting: This is where your bucket list lives. A goal is a dream with a deadline. Goals should align with your life. Think of your goals as the “pot of gold” at the end of the rainbow. Goals must be specific, measurable and attainable, with a time horizon. Express your goals in a positive and personal way.

How to set your goals: Goals need three dates: the date you set your goal, your target date to achieve your goal, and the date your goal is achieved. Write down how you will benefit from achieving your goals. List possible obstacles and your strategy for overcoming these obstacles. What specific tasks or action items are necessary for your goal attainment? For each task, you will list a projected start and target date for completion and indicate when you have completed each item. Use affirmations as to why this is a worthy goal and the value of accomplishing it.

The mind is very powerful. The more you think about and visualize positive results, the more likely it is that you will achieve these goals. If you have been realistic with your timelines, then you should succeed close to these dates. Track your progress frequently. You must know when you have reached your goals.

I sincerely hope that you achieve all of your goals, including all those on your bucket list, before you kick the bucket!


Original article  Try writing your obituary to achieve your business goals

Read about setting more goals: New Year’s resolutions


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This material is for general information and educational purposes only. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions.