by Dr. Cindy Briggs
Wow! What a morbid way to start a blog post… “let’s think about death!” I do hope you will stay with me on this because it may be something that changes your life (I know it has changed mine).
Last year I hit a milestone…. well at least to the world it was a milestone. I became an “influencer” on Instagram. (I will let the cheers die down before I continue… ha ha ha) What does that really mean? In terms of numbers, it means you go over the 10K mark with followers. What that does is open up more opportunities to work with brands, and get paid for your “influence”. Was this my goal? Partially, yes.
Let me step back a bit. I have had a dream to write a book for as long as I can remember. I even hired a coach to help me with the process. However, one thing the coach kept reminding me was that I would need a much bigger “following” before publishers would consider me. So I STOPPED writing (which I love), and started working on gaining followers. You know the routine— post daily, reply to others, make reels, and stay engaged on the platform. I did all of those things…. and quite honestly it SUCKED! (Could I use a more professional word here… yes, but I am really trying to make the point). It seemed pointless. I saw such a mean side of people through comments. It was life-draining.
In July of 2022, I hit the mark….. I had over 15K followers…. I was ON MY WAY! I was getting offers from companies, I could work with big brands, I could do all the things I never set out to do. NEVER SET OUT TO DO.
Another thing happened around that same time that was odd but such a blessing. I somehow got on the email list for our local newspaper obituary listings. (Not sure how that happened). Each day I was getting an email with all the latest obits. Naturally I would just delete them and move on, but one day I opened one and read it. Then the next day I opened one and read it. And this continued for many days.
I was reading about people whom I didn’t know, and the lives they had led. All types of people— different races, different faiths, different career, and different life paths. You know what I started to quickly notice? I noticed the way their whole lives were summarized in a few paragraphs. I noticed that NOT ONE OF THEM had their social media status listed. NOT ONE OF THEM had details about how much money they made, or a list of their accomplishments from a worldly point-of-view.
Typically I would read how they were a loving husband/wife, father/mother, helper in the community, follower of Christ, etc. It is truly the ultimate highlight reel. We see the parts of their lives that really mattered, and the parts worth being remembered.
After some major discussions with God…. I stopped and realized I was currently living my obituary. These moments, these days, my life. What would my life highlight reel include? What did I want others to remember? Where was I putting my time, energy, thoughts and resources? It was then I realized it was time to change my perspective….. to live my life each day with purpose beyond likes and follows. I wrote down the roles I wanted to be in MY obituary— passionate Christ-follower, loving wife and partner to Scott, an engaged and loving mother to Jordan, Reagan, and Jackson, a caring friend to so many, a lover of hospitality and togetherness. Those are the things that matter in my life….. not the followers, not the titles, not the number of businesses I started.
If those are the phrases I want to be used in my obituary– isn’t it time I make sure I am living those out? Instead of worrying about posts and likes, I put energy into my homeschool planning. Instead of spending hours planning “content”, I plan healthy food for my family. Instead of worrying about getting enough followers so I can publish a book, I will write each day and share when possible. These are all decisions I get to make— each and every day.
Am I saying that making a career on social media is a bad thing? NO! I just want everyone to think about those obituaries, and think about how it won’t matter as much in those final days. Your faith, your family, your friends, and your community will remember you and those matter.
You can also listen to my podcast about this topic: https://traffic.libsyn.com/thebusinessincubator/Season_3_Ep4_Obit.mp3
Dr. Cindy Briggs is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, college professor, wife and mom. Her mission HAS BEEN to provide programs that can help entrepreneurs and communities thrive. In 2023, her mission has shifted to living a life of purpose and one that blesses those around her. To find out more, visit www.cindybriggsphd.com.