01/13/15

What Will Your Tombstone Say?

By Melanie Spring
We all want to be remembered for something. For our impact on society, by our friends and family, by our children, by our communities. We don’t live our lives to be forgotten, but we often forget, and sometimes never find out, what we’re here for.
 
Walking through an 1800’s cemetery near my parents’ home in Western New York, I started looking at the tombstone. Many broken, inscriptions worn off in weather and time, few taken care of by family members who came much later. The ones you could read recognized people as father, mother, wife, husband. Few had why they were remembered. 
 
2014 has been a year of looking at my own life and figuring out how I want to be remembered. I went to Mexico to do some soul searching, visited family around the country to learn about where I came from, and traveled to Africa to see how others thrive and survive. I prayed that God would clear my life of all of the things I didn’t require. I was given a home in the city filled with light, tranquility, and happiness. I even watched my business completely transform before my very eyes, and not in the way I expected.
 
   
 
In the end, I learned what it was to ask for help. I learned how to stop everything and admit I couldn’t do it all alone. I learned that God wanted so much more for me than my biggest dreams. I learned that I wasn’t pursuing what my heart and soul begged for. I wanted to be remembered, but not for working hard and never giving up. The year ended with my firm knowledge that I knew my purpose and was ready to take it into the new year with me as a commitment.
 
My business advisor, Larendee Roos, is one of the most tough-loving women I know. She believes that when you are living your purpose in your business, you believe in and are committed to three things:
1. yourself
2. your gift
3. the process
 
If you can stay committed to all three, you will be fully living your purpose and on the right path to living the life you were born to live. This feeds into your personal brand and how you stand out as a human-being, not a human-doing.
 

I knew my purpose was to inspire people to dream bigger - I even tattooed it on my arm (inspire hope). But what I realized after a crazy year of searching is that my calling is to be a LIGHT to others. It’s to turn on lightbulbs in their heads when they realize they CAN do what they didn’t believe they could. It’s to shed light on the tough questions that need thoughtful answers. It’s bigger than just inspiring because inspiration is just a piece of the whole. The letters stand for: 
Lead
Inspire
Give
Help
Travel
 
Leading others by example, inspiring people to dream bigger, giving of myself and my resources to others, helping in any way I can, and last but not least, traveling and soaking in the cultures of the world. Every bit of this speaks to me and who I am as a human being. All aspects of my life and how I want to be remembered.
 
In my personal branding workshops, I ask attendees “What would you write on your tombstone?” When you look at your life, where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going, what are those things that make up the total you? What will people say in your eulogy? If you died suddenly and couldn’t plan for it, what would they inscribe on your tombstone? Come up with the answer and live your life that way.
 
Staying committed to my purpose, mine will say: “Melanie was a LIGHT."
 
Tell me yours.
 

Melanie Spring
Chief Inspiration Officer
Read Melanie's bio


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