Jason Hietbrink

“The Dash” ( – )

“The Dash” ( – )

Earlier this year I was working with a client (let’s call her “Marie”), who despite her high levels of professional success over the last 30 years, had driven herself physically and mentally to the point of exhaustion.


Marie was living out of alignment with the things she valued in life. Peace, presence, joy, and love were being crowded out by a relentless drive to achieve more and more.


And worst of all, her family had been suffering from the effects of this misalignment for over a decade. She could see it on their faces and sense it in the tension between them.


They longed to have their wife/mother be fully present and engaged in their lives. And she did too, but she felt trapped by the demands of work.


After two months of coaching and seeing little change, I decided it was time to try something different with Marie.


I asked her to meet me (virtually) at a graveyard at 8am the next morning. She’d go to a graveyard near her house, I’d go to one near my house. We’d start our next coaching session at 8:30am after she’d had some time to walk the grounds.


Reluctantly and with some confusion she agreed and trusted me with this strange request.


I told Marie to look for a few different headstones when she arrived:

  • Find a headstone that’s over 100 yrs. old.
  • Find someone who died about the same age as you, find someone who died younger.
  • Notice:
    • What’s written on the backs of the headstones. Notice what wasn’t…
    • Some clearly had money, others didn’t.
    • Some were married, others weren’t.
    • Some had loved ones who had visited their grave recently, others probably haven’t had anyone visit their grave in over 70 years.

She saw tombstones of infants, mothers who died at 30 yrs., 40 yrs., or 50 yrs. old leaving kids and spouses behind. There were headstones of teenagers.


Life was put back into perspective. Marie was overcome with emotion at the reality of her own and her family’s mortality. She didn’t know how much time she had left.


After 30 minutes of her walking around the graveyard taking it all in, we began our session over the phone.


It was one of the most powerful coaching sessions I’ve ever had with another human being. Her whole world changed that day.


Marie went from mentally accenting to the idea that “I should change” to embracing deep inside herself “there is no other option but to change.”


She finally had the clarity on her life that she needed. What mattered, what didn’t.


Since that day, it hasn’t been a perfect journey for Marie, but there’s no question that life changed in a significant way after that experience.


She’s more present, more joyful, less stressed and anxious over the trivial things in her life that used to bother her. She has a deeper, richer relationship with her family. She’s no longer working 70hrs a week and she’s having more success as a result.



At the end of our life, each of us will have a gravestone. And there will be a date on the left, a date on the right, and a DASH in between.

Right now, we’re living in the “dash” of our lives. And we don’t get to determine how long that will be. We also can’t go back and change the past, but we can make decisions today that will shape the course of our future.


Based on the priorities in your life right now (not what you SAY your priorities are, but how you live), what will be written on the back of YOUR tombstone?

(Whew! – that’s a tough question to face!)

The only people who will remember the extra hours you put in at the office are your spouse and your kids.


There are two types of goals we can pursue in life:

Resume Goals (accomplishments, things that would look impressive to others)

Eulogy Goals (what you’re remembered for, the person you were/became)


What is it you’re pursuing and striving for most in your life right now?

Is it going to matter in 50 years?

Is it a resume goal or is it a eulogy goal?

Each of us, including myself, when we near the end of our life, will be asking ourselves questions as we reflect back on the lives we’ve lived.


What do you think are the 3-4 questions you will ask yourself when that day comes?


Go ahead…take a minute.

Write them down.


Don’t put this off like everything else you convince yourself “I’ll do that later” and never do! (that’s me too by the way!)


Because if you know what those questions will be, then you know how you need to live today in order to feel good about answering those questions when you reach that moment in your life.


Keep those questions in front of you.


Put them on your mirror. On your desk. Review them.


And your world will change.

And because you change, so will those around you.

Step 3

Level Up

If we decide to move forward into a coaching relationship, Together, we’ll create a custom coaching plan to help you reach your goals in your business and your life. 

Step 2

Schedule a Breakthrough Session

We’ll do a free, 90-minute coaching call to define your goals, set a vision for the future, and deepen your commitment to that vision.