There’s a funeral on the horizon. Well, there’s always a funeral on the horizon, but let’s say it’s imminent or expected. You like the idea of Taking It Up a Notch, but just don’t see any big, obvious way to do it. There’s no all-consuming passion or notable personal characteristic… this person and their life was just plain old vanilla run-of-the-mill. (Ain’t nothing wrong with that! We don’t all need to be characters.)

SO… how to Take it Up a Notch when you don’t even know what “it” is?

Here’s my simple process for mining the gold out of any life:
1) Write down five traits (interests, favorite sayings, hobbies, habits, quirks, etc.) about your person.
2) Decide which one of those you like the best (e.g., makes you smile, most defined them, most unique)
3) Take that one attribute and create an activity/event/experience that people can participate in.

And now, an example of this in action.
(I’m basing this on an actual person I know, randomly selected.)

1) Five traits of the person
• Doesn’t own a TV
• Loves the arts: museums, the symphony, dance, plays, opera, literature, movies
• Loves good wine
• Concerned about the environment
• Meets weekly with a church group (15 years and counting)

2) Which one do we like the best?
• Loves the arts: museums, the symphony, dance, plays, opera, literature, movies
(In this case, chosen because it seems to be the one most important to her. Go with your own instinct, or group consensus.)

3) Create an activity/event/experience that people can participate in.
This is where it gets fun. You begin by brainstorming some ideas.
Here’s what I thought of:

1) Pick a day when everyone (on their own) goes to try out one new cultural event they’ve never gone to before, and then come together afterwards for a party and share about it.
2) All together go to a favorite cultural institution or performance (e.g., Museum of Natural History, The Nutcracker, Casablanca) and then celebrate afterward with a party. A different slate could be The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum (real thing! in Gatlinburg, TN), Kinky Boots, The Dark Knight. The point is to choose what represents the person or is the most fun!
3) Make a donation to a small, local arts organization that could really use the money.
4) Gift a local senior center (or kids’ organization) with tickets to go out to a performance or visit a museum.
5) Start a scholarship (or contribute to an already existing one) given to a student in the arts.

Tweak it to suit your needs.
• If you can’t come together, organize it virtually.
• If you can’t pick one specific day, designate a weekend, a week, a month: you get to decide those details. Just declare it!
• If you have trouble with decisions, put options in a bag and pull one out randomly.
• For maximum memory-making, anything can be made into a CONTEST, which is great fun.
In this case, that could be:
Whoever does the most cultural events in one weekend/week/month.
• Whoever does the most obscure event.
• Whoever enlists the most friends to accompany them.
• Whoever writes the best ‘review’ of their experience.
Whoever travels the farthest to do their experience.

So I’m going to leave it at this right now. Hopefully that’s enough of an illustration to help folks along. There’s more that can be added to this — more example and more tips, and they’ll come in the future blogs.

None of this is hard. It’s just thinking about it differently.