Mapping Out the Most Important Speech of My Life

Filed Under Mindjet

Michael Deutch

June 29, 2009

Last Sunday, Father’s Day, I delivered the most important speech in my life. It was my dad’s eulogy. It had been on my mind for the last couple of weeks as I knew his time was very limited. I haven’t had many experiences with funerals. I reflected; I had a lot of questions. What would I say? How can I memorialize the man that raised me, in the best possible way? What makes a good eulogy? What makes a bad one?

Given the 38 years we shared, I had a lot to share. And, if any of you have been in this situation before, you’ll know that it is a very emotional time. Even if you’ve prepared for the day, there are still feelings that emerge that can sweep up on you like, as a friend said, a tsunami. It was very important for me to deliver a eulogy that celebrated my dad’s life, not indulged in my own emotions.

So, I pulled out a pen and paper and started mapping out my thoughts. What made my dad the man that he was? What was most important to him? How can I honor the relationships that he nurtured, the ones that he held most dear? 

In the midst of my mourning, I felt incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work at Mindjet, learn mind mapping, and be able to use this skill for something that transcends business. I mapped my dad’s relationship with my mom, my sister and her family, and myself. I mapped about the other important people in his life, his larger family, friends, and community. And, I mapped about the things about my dad that made all of us smile and laugh.

Last week, though the clouds of my emotions, I turned to this powerful technique to create clarity. And, I was able to share with my family and all of his friends, the highlights of his life. On father’s day, I celebrated my dad in a more meaningful way than I had ever done before.

Today, I’m sharing my story with you to remind everyone that we could be mapping more than our meetings, our project plans, and our strategies. Mapping is transformational. It creates clarity and alignment, not just in business, but in life. And for this, I’m forever grateful.

Thanks to everyone who had reached out to share their condolences. All of your support helped a lot!


About the Author: Michael Deutch is Mindjet’s Chief Evangelist, content contributor for the Mindjet Blog and the Mindjet Connections newsletter. Get more from Michael on Twitter

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8 Responses to “Mapping Out the Most Important Speech of My Life”

  1. Craig

    It’s reassuring to realize that the tools we use routinely every day, almost without thinking, can also help us in the most profound moments of our lives. Thanks for sharing. Condolences to you and your family, Michael.


  2. Luciano Passuello


    I am sorry about your loss.

    On a side note, it’s very authentic of you to shown yourself as just one person — instead of a pro-you vs personal-you. It’s also amazing how mind mapping can help getting our heads clearer.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Michael Deutch

    Chris, Eric, Diana – thanks so much! It’s an honor to share with this community — professionally and personally!

  4. Diana

    My condolences to you and family at this sad time. Your willingness to share this very personal experience is quite amazing. Best wishes.

  5. Eric

    So sorry to hear about your father, Michael. I’m certain there are many good memories to sustain you and your family through this difficult time.

  6. Chris Blatnick

    Michael…This is an incredible post. I’m very sorry to hear of your loss, but thank you for sharing with us. This is a great reminder for those of us that sometimes get so bogged down in work and the day to day tasks.

    Take care and thanks for all you do for this community!