What’s Your Sentence?

What's Your Sentence?
Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/centralasian

In 1962, Clare Boothe Luce, one of the first women to serve in the U.S. Congress, offered some advice to President John F. Kennedy. “A great man,” she told him, “is one sentence.” Abraham Lincoln’s sentence was: “He preserved the union and freed the slaves.” Franklin Roosevelt’s was: “He lifted us out of a great depression and helped us win a world war.” Luce feared that Kennedy’s attention was so splintered among different priorities that his sentence risked becoming a muddled paragraph. (this was an excerpt from Drive by Daniel Pink)

When I read this, I really liked the idea.  One sentence to summarize your life.  One sentence to provide focus and purpose in your everyday world.

So…what’s your sentence?

When your time has come and all is said and done, what do you want people to say about you?

Not some glowing biography or lengthy obituary…just one sentence.  Just a few words strung together to describe your life.

What would you want that sentence to say?

Would you want it to describe the kind of friend you were?  How you treated others?  What you did to make a difference in the world?  Your accomplishments at work?  The kind of family person you were?

One sentence.

What’s your sentence? 

YOUR TURN: In the comments below, tell us what you would want your sentence to be! 

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  1. Grant, thanks for sharing your “one sentence” during the webinar today (I was the one who asked). I do think it still needs a little work to be a true “one sentence.” 🙂 I really enjoyed reading this post and thinking of my own sentence today. Surprisingly, it came fairly easily, primarily because, for the past few months, I’ve been giving it some thought on how I wish to live my life. I would like my one sentence to read, “She created freedom for herself and opportunities for others.” Freedom to me encompasses the ability to focus on my family and life, while creating opportunities for others would give me a sense of deep fulfillment. I hope to start a business in the next year which will move me toward freedom and allow me to create jobs (opportunities) for those in my community (and maybe throughout the world).

  2. p.s. I think the one sentence approach can also work great in any area of your life. At work, you can use it on projects to focus in on your goals and on your overall image. How do you want to be remembered? Not many people take that approach, but if you do, I believe it can be very powerful for your career!

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