Lessons Learned on Living from Those That Are Dying

With Kathleen Riessen ~ Written By Kim Dietrich, kimdietrich.ca

It’s never easy losing a loved one. But as Kathleen Riessen points out in the November 2nd episode of her radio show, we can usually find a gift in every difficult situation. Spending time with her mother in the final days of her life this fall led Kathleen to a deep contemplation of what’s most important. Watching her Mom prepare to peacefully meet her end brought her face to face with the fact that you really can’t take it with you; what matters most is the experiences you create while you’re here. To that end her show, Lessons Learned on Living from Those That Are Dying, is really a love letter to life – an earnest plea to all of us to live more fully and meaningfully in the present, motivating ourselves by considering our own eventual end.

There is an immense sadness when we lose the physicality of a person. There are goodbyes to be said, a casket and burial, or an urn and a memorial, but all in all, we’re reduced to very little in the physical sense of the word. All the ‘stuff’ we leave behind ceases to matter. What remains is our legacy – the memories we have created for the people left behind. As an entrepreneur with several businesses, and a parent of several children, Kathleen is well aware that your stuff matters very little; it’s the experience of how you live day in and day out that’s paramount.

The Stuff of Life

Seeing her mother for the first time since she’d entered the hospital four weeks earlier, Kathleen could see she was ready to go. She wasn’t taking her home or car, her partner, children or grandkids with her. What she left behind was a legacy of memories – as is the case for each of us when we go. Our legacy doesn’t reside in us, but rather in the experiences we create with those around us. At the end, our ‘stuff’ is inconsequential.

It’s really easy to get caught up in our stuff. The trappings of our lives – the house, car, clothes, boat, restaurants, cottage – whatever symbols of prestige we desire can pull our focus from what’s really important. The trap of ‘having’ calls to us, Kathleen points out, but just because you can go after all that stuff, doesn’t mean you must. We don’t need to be enslaved by our capacity to earn money, acquire things, and gain prestige.

What’s Most Important

Years ago, Kathleen and her family endured a series of serious struggles. Her husband became gravely ill and almost died. Then, in the first year of her son’s life – after a brush with death of his own – they were forced to attend between 5-7 doctor’s appointments each week. All this transpired while Kathleen was running multiple businesses and raising two other kids. Reaching a breaking point, she finally conceded that any time she spent away from her kids needed to be mindfully planned and well spent – with her vision “locked in and loaded”.

What Kathleen took from those early experiences is that we would do well to live our lives being guided by what’s most important to us. When her children were young, she did just that, and decided to reinvent how she showed up in her business. She rearranged her days to spend more time at home, hired a nanny to help and spent less time physically in her business than ever – all while having their most profitable year ever. In our pursuit of creating what we want in business, Kathleen emphasizes, we need to ensure our time and energy is aligned with what’s most important. We need to spend our time on the experiences that matter.

What Are Your True Desires?

Discontent lies in the distance between what we desire for our life and what we actually create. Kathleen relates a regretful anecdote of her own experience with such discontent: Forced to choose between meeting a promising business prospect and attending her son’s fourth of July parade, she put business before family and has regretted it ever since. She made a choice that didn’t honour what was most important, and though her son is none the wiser, she can never recapture the experience of that day.

Kathleen suggests a sort of reverse engineering to ensure we are living our most authentic lives. Look over your life and consider how you would feel if you knew you were at the end, she suggests. If you don’t think you’d be happy with where you are now, it’s time to get busy defining your truest life. Think about what’s important: What do you most value? What brings you joy? What’s the thing that might show up at the end that you’d wish you had done? What will you create that will represent that you played all in?

If you’re having trouble, Kathleen suggests, come up with one word that you want to encapsulate your life – whether it’s love, connection, joy, peace, tranquility, comfort, or calm. Kathleen’s one word is ‘joy’: she is committed to creating joy and that’s what drives her each day. No matter what transpires, her joy always gets to show through. What you really want is not a thing, Kathleen explains, it’s all about your way of being.

Our Time Here is Limited

Once you’ve refined your vision, look at where you currently are. A clear way to determine that is to take a look at your finances and your calendar – where you’ll see a clear representation of your two most finite resources: time and money. If there’s a disconnect between your vision and how you’re spending your time and money, you have work to do. Kathleen’s message is clear: sort out what you want and then set your life up accordingly. Write it down, put it in a really small timeframe, and make it happen, she implores. Recalling conversations with an aunt who worked in hospice for 30 years, she reports that people rarely lament having not worked enough in their lives. Generally, the most fervent wish of the dying is to have spent more time with family and to have shown more gratitude.

We can learn a lot by considering what the end of our life will look like, and by listening to others who are close to theirs. What will you wish for in your final days? And how will you let that guide you while you’re still in the land of the living?

 

Kim Dietrich is a content writer specializing in personal and career development.
Check out her print and online work at
kimdietrich.ca.

 

~ More About Profit Launch With Kathleen Riessen ~ 

As a former Certified Public Accountant turned marketing strategist turned entrepreneur of multiple businesses, Kathleen Riessen has the background and credibility to elevate you and your business.

Kathleen started her first business while six months pregnant with her first child in the beginning of a recession. Fast forward twelve years and she has sold that business and now runs six others including her speaking and coaching business.

Kathleen is the queen of harmony. In addition to running her businesses, Kathleen is Mom to three boys with her husband Josh. They have faced their share of adversity through Josh’s two near death experiences and the multiple near-death experiences of their youngest son Andrew during the first year of his life. You can read more about these experiences in Kathleen’s book Joy in Uncertainty: A Guide to Creating a Meaningful Life, available on Amazon.

To learn how you can create consistent income in a six-figure+ business, join Kathleen Riessen in Profit Launch with Kathleen Riessen.

https://bookwithkathleen.com/

https://www.kathleenriessen.com

kathleen@kathleenriessen.com

To get more of  Profit Launch with Kathleen Riessen, be sure to visit the podcast page for replays of all her shows here: https://www.inspiredchoicesnetwork.com/podcast/profit-launch-with-kathleen-riessen/