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What Matters Most 9781413463316

What Matters Most

The Heart's Desires in Life and Death

ISBN-10: 1413463312
ISBN-13: 9781413463316
PUBLISHER: Xlibris Corporation
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Note: Not guaranteed to come with supplemental materials (access codes, CDs, DVDs)
Product Description: To put it mildly, my friends and family were surprised when I decided to work in the funeral service industry, or, as I like to call it, the Meaning of Life' industry.

"You are going to do what?"

There was a method to what they saw as my madness, though. I had previously worked for Franklin-Covey as a facilitator of two courses, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, and First Things First. In a nutshell, these courses help participants appreciate the importance of leading a purposeful life. This material is so compelling that invariably every participant sees value in defining their life mission and leading their life so that at its end, they can be certain that they had an unmistakable impact on the people and things they cared about most. Common sense would dictate that the opposite way of living (randomly and directionless, reacting to one Life event after another) is not an option anyone would choose. Common sense is not common practice, though. Fewer than 7% of the world's population have ever thought about or written down their mission, much less lived by it. I had enjoyed coaching people on achieving what they determined to be their life's purpose.

When I got a call from a headhunter about a position at Hillenbrand Industries as head of marketing for Batesville Casket Company, I was intrigued with the prospect of studying Life's purpose and meaningfulness retrospectively from another angle, the viewpoint of the dying and their families. When all was said and done, did people really accomplish their life's purpose? What really mattered to people at Life's end?

Having accepted the position of Director of Marketing for Batesville, the world's largest manufacturer of caskets and urns, I understood my role to be to identify funeral-related products, services, ideas, and innovations that would strike a successful chord with consumers. What would be the primary motivators of the 21st century consumer be for these kinds of products and services? What could be done so that people could see greater value in having a funeral? Was it possible to improve the experience of death? How could the funeral be improved? What did the families of the dying expect from the funeral director and others?

I was curious about the death care industry as a marketing communications challenge, too. If it were possible to generate consumer interest in funerals, what would be the best way to do it? Would people want to learn about funerals?

I had never planned a funeral for a loved one. I didn't know what it felt like to handle the myriad of details while coping with my own feelings of loss. I didn't know whom I'd trust to ask for help. Truly, I didn't even know what questions I'd have. So, I approached this challenge the way I have every other marketing challenge I've faced. I completely immersed myself in the consumer experience, becoming aware of, shopping for, selecting, using and judging the efficacy of all the products and services available. In this case, I immersed myself in anything and everything related to Death, dying, funerals, and the Meaning of Life.

One of my first calls was to Dr. David Moller, an author, expert, and professor of Death & Dying at Indiana University. At the time, Dr. Moller was also the chairman of the Program in Medical Humanities and Medical Ethics at Indiana University Medical Center. I told Dr. Moller what my position was at Batesville, and that I needed to understand what it was like to be dying. I wanted to understand, from the moment a person receives a terminal diagnosis, through their illness, death and funeral, how Life changed. Who helped them? Who served their needs? Was it the medical community? The clergy? The funeral director? Was it somebody I hadn't even imagined? What Really Mattered?

Dr. Moller was intrigued with this idea bec

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CATEGORY: Psychology, Social Science

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