In 2005, I heard Steve Jobs say, “I ask myself if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do?” Upon listening to that quote, I said, “the question doesn’t make much sense. It is obvious that if someone dies, they will spend time with their parents, family members, and friends to tell them how much they love them.” Even though I didn’t realize it at that time, asking that question inspired me to use every occasion I got, such as my wedding, to express how grateful I felt towards the closest people in my life.
Once I felt complete with expressing my deepest level of gratitude towards people I loved, a couple of years later I asked the question, “if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do?” This time the question started making a little more sense. The answer was a definite “no” when I thought about the mundane work I would be doing as a software engineer, which takes up most of my day. Even though I didn’t realize it at that time, asking that question inspired me to convince my manager to allow me to work on new technologies that challenged me.
A year later, I asked the question, “if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do?” I still got a “no” despite working on the technologies that challenged me. Even though I didn’t realize it at that time, asking that question inspired me to dig deeper into what it is that I want to do so I can answer “yes.”
Then came the light bulb moment in late-2018, just as I began experiencing coaching sessions with one of the coaching legends, Bob Russo. I was driving in a car with my wife during a rainy night. I heard a thud, and I found out we had a flat tire and so had to pull towards an exit. While we were waiting for the roadside assistance to arrive, I shouted with excitement and said to my wife, “hun, everything is making sense to me. Since I was a kid, I had a deep desire to learn English. I would pause an English movie whenever I came across a new word or a phrase I didn’t understand, much to the annoyance of my sister. The power of words to inspire new actions, shift perspectives across the entire planet through a global language like English fascinated me. As I grew up, my desire to speak got me to call up speech coaches, asking them, “hello, I want to speak like an executive, can you help?” They said it is a process and takes time and practice. So I decided to join Toastmasters.
“Since the day I first joined Toastmasters, I religiously attended all meetings for six years. I built a community of friends and supporters at Toastmasters. I even met my wife at Toastmasters and proposed her by giving a Toastmaster speech as a surprise. In 2019, I competed in the International Speech contest and came in third at the district level.” So I said to my wife. It all makes sense now. All I wanted to do in my life is to become a speaker and transform people’s lives. To be able to help others effectively, I pursued coach training certification from a premier institute in New York called IPEC, the same school my legendary coach, Bob Russo graduated from.
This time, I asked a slightly different question, “what else would I be doing if today were the last day of my life?” The answers I got were living a life of freedom through traveling, especially in my home country India, inspiring people through my speeches, and connecting with people from all across the world and my family members. I worked with my coach Bob Russo to come up with an action plan on how I can live my legend. In September 2019, I quit one of the safest jobs I ever had to embark on a journey of total uncertainty along with my wife, scaring the hell out of my parents.
Since then, I have traveled to China with my family of ten people and visited my in-laws. Don’t worry. This is a couple of months before the Coronavirus thing. I have traveled to Southeast Asia to experience rock climbing, delicious food, and culture. I later spent two months learning the art of Yoga, and fulfilled yet another long time dream to learn an art that was born in my home country. I spent quality time with my parents and basked in my mom’s love as she provided me anything and everything I asked for. My mom’s love left my soul with so much joy that it will continue to rejoice me for many more months and years to come. This magnificent trip concluded with one of my favorite cousin’s wedding as he found the love of his life.
The best part is I have been enjoying all the above experiences while doing what I truly love – speaking to and coaching engineers. As I delivered my keynote speech to engineers in companies like Infosys, HP, L&T, etc, I received a standing ovation, with engineers leaving the room fired up. A female engineer said, “your speech gave me the courage to enroll my manager into creating a work life balance.” Another engineer said, “if it were not for the perspective shift I had because of the speech, I would have made a hasty decision to quit my job tomorrow.” Such moments when engineers shared with me how my speech has inspired new shifts in their lives made me feel like a life worth living and a career worth pursuing.
When I thought about everything I have been experiencing, for the first time, I got a resounding “yes” when I asked the question, “if today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do?” If I catch coronavirus tomorrow and I die, I don’t have any regrets as I experienced everything from Yoga and rock climbing to mom’s love, all the while speaking, coaching, connecting with people and traveling the world with my lovely wife. Reflecting on the question allows me to continue experiencing life to the fullest while being grateful to all the experiences. As of now, I am in Puerto Rico, living in the mountains of a jungle while learning salsa and surfing as I continue to develop my business.
It is now time for you to answer the question, “if today were the last day of your life, would you be doing what you are about to do?” You don’t have to wait for a decade like I did, to answer “yes” to this question. Coaching can shortcut the process to get you to where you want from where you are now. If you would like to experience coaching, visit the below page to pick a coaching package that best suits you. Packages start at $29 per month.
If you would like to experience coaching from the coaching legend, Bob Russo, here is his link.