Armin is a man I admire greatly—as a leader and especially as a father. It’s my great honor to have him joining us today as he describes a current process that is “wrecking him in the best of ways.”
Prepare to have your heart inspired by the vulnerability of my friend.
If you haven’t heard Stephen Covey’s maxim, “Begin with the end in mind” from his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, then this is a mental exercise just for you. Even if you have, I promise you, this is something as a father you want to do.
Your daughters will thank me.
Now don’t just skim through this. Try this. Imagine a funeral.
Envision the church or venue it’s being held in. What’s the outside look like? What’s the inside look like? Imagine what kind of music they’re playing. Look around and see all the people dressed in black filling the seats. Some are there to simply show their respect. Others are heartbroken, crying and grieving the loss of a loved one.
At the front of the room sits a casket, surrounded by beautiful white flowers. You can smell the roses and lilies. The volume of the music goes down and you see someone stand up. Look closer. It’s your daughter and she’s making her way up to the podium to speak. She has tears streaming down her face as she looks at the coffin. You look inside the coffin and realize the person in the coffin is you and this is your funeral.
Take it one step further. Look around the room from the standpoint of the podium. Who is in the room and filling those seats? Is it just family? Are there friends present? Co-workers? Now turn those people into the people you imagine would be at your funeral.
Pause here for a second.
This is what Stephen Covey meant by “begin with the end in mind.”
He meant THE end. Death.
If you’ve never done this exercise before, it feels weird, if not morbid. Even if it does, keep going. I promise you, it’s worth it.
Back to the funeral. You see your daughter look around the room before she gets ready to speak. She wipes away her tears, composes herself the best she can. She clears her throat and begins to speak about her father…you.
This is where you come in. Since you’re not dead yet, you get to write your eulogy, the very one that your daughter is going to read at your funeral.
What do you imagine her saying? What do you want your daughter to say about you? What kind of father will she say you were? Husband? Leader? What will she say about the impact you made? Or the lives you touched?
Don’t just think about what you’ve done so far or who you’ve been so far. Dream a little. It’s okay to be idealistic. Write down everything you would hope for your daughter say about you. Even if you know you can’t do all of it or even half of it. It doesn’t matter. Just write it down.
Be a superhero or whatever you want to be.
I share my eulogy at the end of this article. You don’t have to read it. Use it as a template or skip it altogether. It’s just here. If you read it, you’ll see I didn’t try to perfect it, make it eloquent or even poetic. All the grammatical errors will prove my point. I wrote it for me. I didn’t write it to get a good grade from my English teacher or to impress my friends and colleagues. I wrote it so that I can see what I ultimately value as a father. So that I can see what I want my life to add up to in the end. I see it as a guide or compass.
If you’re wondering why begin with the end in mind, here is why for me.
Not only has it helped me be successful with projects, goals, business, and ministry, it’s helped provide clarity. No matter what, you’re going to be active every day. Why not be active in a way that allows you to know that you’re actively taking steps that are leading you to an end destination of your choice?
John Wooden stated it best when he said, “don’t mistake activity for achievement.”
Beginning with the end in mind will help you know whether the activities of your life are leading you to the achievements you desire and want from life.
This isn’t going to be easy or even come naturally, but it will come to you. You will begin dreaming, envisioning, and writing. Your heart and soul will pour out on paper. And in doing so, you will unleash a furious love from within you.
It will help you see the depth and power of your love for the girls in your life. More importantly, this will give you a way to create a strategy and a culture within your own family that truly aligns with your deep and real values. Not your resume values.
I hope to see what you write someday and be inspired by it. God speed, good luck, and many blessings.
My Eulogy I’ve Written For My Daughters:
It may be weird to start my dad’s eulogy like this, but if you knew him at all, you’d know this is appropriate. My dad was a shameless man. He knew what he wanted in life and didn’t care what anybody else thought. He didn’t care how he was judged, frowned upon or talked about behind his back.
My dad taught us that, “if you’re going to be a person of faith, then you have to be a person who keeps your word.”
One of the promises he made to us was, “My promise to you is this: I will always prioritize God first, family second, and everything else comes after and the order should never change.” You know what, he really did live that out. If you didn’t know my dad, let me help you understand what I mean by that.
It's no secret that my dad had a hot temper at times. In his younger days, he took his anger out on people closest to him. Once he had us, he made a commitment that if he was going to lose his temper on anyone, it wouldn't be on his girls. Countless times I’ve heard my dad say, “I’m willing to fail at business, leadership, ministry and everything else, I’m just not willing to fail at being a husband, father, and son of God.”
My dad never missed a date night with me or my sister. He never missed a date night with my mom. He didn't just tell us, he showed us how much he loved our mom to set an example for us. He made sure that we knew anything less than a man going out of his way to love you is unacceptable and that my dad would never, ever want to meet someone who treated us any less than he did. Not if this guy wanted one of his girls!
My dad was a serious guy, but mom told us how he put his ego, pride, and often his dignity aside to make a complete fool of himself just so he could see us laugh. Let me tell you, that didn’t change with age. My dad always knew how to make us laugh and always reminded us how important it is to pursue joy, love, family, and God over status, income, or any other rat race of life.
He was an inspiration to so many, but especially us. The fact that my dad was alive long enough to get married and have kids was a miracle he never stopped being grateful for. He thanked God every day. But in dad-like fashion, he didn’t thank God with words, he thanked God with action, sacrifice, and commitment. He chose a life of reaching out to the last, the lost, and the left out because he knew that’s what he was until God found him. If dad wasn’t spending his time with his girls, he was doing what he could to make sure people like him would find the same God of love and redemption he did.
Dad, we will never stop missing you and we will never stop loving you. Thank you for choosing us as your legacy. You will not be forgotten. I’m sure you’re throwing a party in paradise and forcing everyone to try your Persian food. Love you dad!
Armin Assadi is the co-founder of Position Intel, a GPS tracking software company, and Santosha.co, an all natural skincare company. He has lived more lives than most---from former refugee and crime boss to vocational minister in a mega church and entrepreneur to speaker and soon-to-be published author (The Power of Belief, release date: fall of 2019). He is married to the beautiful momtrepreneur, Ashlee, and father to his two very bossy girls that have him wrapped around their little fingers, Aida (3 years old) and Aviah (9 months old).