Life, Liberty, & Happiness

Lessons On Living from a Dead Man

Recently I attended the memorial service of a dear friend who had died of cancer. He knew he was dying, and had written parts of his own service to be read to those attending. It was a beautiful, thoughtful moment. From his message, I’ve adapted these thoughts that really spoke to me about love and becoming…

Slowly, we become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have not taken risks and endured much of life’s worst. Generally, by the time we are real, most of our hair has been loved off, and our eyes droop and we get loose in the joints.

While our youth celebrate outward beauty, I’ve learned that these things don’t matter at all.  Once we actually become - once we are authentic and real we can’t be ugly, except to people who simply don’t understand the road we’ve traveled .

Being loved sometimes hurts. Although we do our utmost not to deliberately hurt the ones we love, the truth is, we inadvertently hurt the ones we love (and they hurt us). This is because our hearts are exposed the most to the ones we love the most. What greater way is there to communicate and to exist than to live openly, honestly, authentically and real with one another? And if we are truly loved, loved as the divine loves us, no one will care that we are authentic and real. And should anyone reject us as our authentic self, they never really loved us in the first place.

So, as I become authentic, here are the truths I must embrace:

  • I will not be afraid of being in imperfect shape...for that means I'm not left on the shelf, untouched and unharmed.
  • I will not only accept myself as I was created - I will celebrate all my quirkiness.
  • On this journey of life, the seams of my edges will fray - and frayed edges are beautiful.
  • I will love deeply - knowing my stuffing could be enthusiastically squeezed out of me.
  • I will embrace all that love is for the sake of being real...the good and bad.
  • I will expose my sunshine as well as my darkness. I will express joy and as well as sorrow, courage and fear, peace and anxiety.
  • I want to be comforted when I’m in pain - by someone who quietly understands the pain.
  • I want to be cherished and treasured. To be needed and wanted and liked and loved. To be seen, heard, felt and tasted.
  • I want to experience the full spectrum of love, the entire meaning of what it means to be real - to be loved for all that I am.
  • I want to live authentically as I was created - some of us are meant to bring living color to this otherwise “black and white” world.  So I will celebrate the things that make me a bit different.

There is no dress rehearsal in life. We get one shot. Make it count. Thank you Jim for reminding me - even in your death - to live.

About Dr. Michael Burcham

Michael is an executive coach, entrepreneur, investor, and strategist with 30 years of experience leading investor-backed, high-growth organizations.

“I built and sold a $40M company with Dr. Burcham as my mentor. This is the thing: if you EVER get the opportunity to learn from this man, from that moment forward, you’ll list him as one of the most influential people in your life, even if you live to be 90. And, you’ll know how lucky you were to have that opportunity and you’ll immediately say YES to any chance to be in his presence again—his wisdom is that impactful.”

Sherry Stewart Deutschmann

Former CEO, Letter Logic

“If you are looking for a trusted mentor and coach for yourself or your leadership team, I highly recommend Michael Burcham. He has worked with me as my executive coach for well over a decade now. Our conversations and his feedback have helped me sharpen my critical thinking skills. He’s a trusted advisor that I can confidentially speak with about any issue—and I know I’ll get valued feedback. I highly recommend him.”

Ryan McGrath

CEO, Asset Living

“Dr. Burcham’s depth and breadth of experience makes even the most ADD entrepreneurial leader sit up and take notes! His coaching skills bring out the ‘best you’ possible. He selflessly shares the good, the bad, and the ugly—leaving you with an authentic and moving experience sure to spur action and professional growth!”

Julie Lenzer

Director, U.S. Department of Commerce


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