15 Questions Every Funeral Director Should Ask When You’re Overwhelmed

I have lived a long life and had many troubles, most of which never happened.

—Mark Twain

Ahhhhh, the feeling of overwhelm. A feeling I imagine you’ve felt before if you’re a funeral professional.

If it’s here, allow it to take its shoes off. Welcome it in.

Maybe you’re used to this feeling, or maybe it’s a brand new kind of overwhelm. Either way, this list of questions is guaranteed to make you feel better.

So close your eyes and take a deep breath. And another one.

Now set aside around 20 minutes, grab a piece of paper, journal, your phone’s voice recorder app, or a friend. Got one? Good. Now, allow yourself to honestly and fully take this time for yourself.

If you think you don’t have the time, then this is especially for you. Because the truth is, you do. Now if you’re ready to take control of your overwhelm before it takes control of you, answer these 15 questions and watch as you welcome joy into your life.

1.What’s on your mind?

This is a very open-ended question, because we’re welcoming all that’s on your mind a perfectly good chance to get out of your head. Set a timer for 5 minutes and allow yourself to just LET IT OUT. All of it. It doesn’t matter how crazy it sounds, or how fictional or perverse or self-sabotaging it is. Don’t judge yourself, or allow yourself to feel judged. Just let-it-out!

If the timer is still going and you’re finished, allow yourself to sit in that silence for a minute, even if you’re with a friend. Maybe something deeper comes up from that silence.

2. Anything else?

This is the most powerful question in my toolbox. I ask it often. It’s almost always when the breakthrough happens. This is where the real heart of the matter comes out. Don’t skip or skimp on this question. Truly answer it.

3. What emotions are you feeling right now?

Name em’ individually. List at least 3, and up to 10. Let it out, you deserve it. It really helps to write this down so you can look back on it when you’re finished.

4. Anything else?

This is not a typo – ask it again. A lot of times we’re so caught in our heads with the overwhelm, that it’s hard to get to those core emotions right away. Take a moment to think about it if you have to. Warning: tears may ensue. And it’s okay, let them out.

5. Can you decide to feel better right NOW?

Hopefully the answer is yes. If it’s no, you’re wasting your time here. The word “decide” is a powerful one. The word decide comes from a Latin root word which means “cut off” off or “kill” ( pun intended :-P). A decision, then, is a ‘cutting off’ of all other possibilities except for one. That means if you’ve DECIDED to feel better, there are no other possibilities. That’s it, it’s decided!

Say it out loud. Does it not feel believable? Good, keep saying it. Say it or write it until you believe it. Or, say it until your co-worker or friend believes you.

6. Are you ready to MOVE to change your state?

It doesn’t matter if you’re at work, in a meeting, or in the gosh darn embalming room… if you don’t like the state your mind is in right now, you gotta CHANGE it. Not later, not tomorrow. Now.

How? By physically changing your state. Emotion IS motion. And just one minute of motion can do the trick. I personally love turning on a song and just dancing it out, but you can also jump up and down, shake your body, clap your hands, raise your hands up and down… heck, you can do anything!

I know what you’re thinking – “this is silly” or “I’ll just skip this part”. But if Tony Robbins can get Al Gore to jump up and down like a crazy person at one of his seminars, you can do it too.

7. How are you feeling now?

Write it down. Then look back at how you felt just minutes ago. Huge difference, huh? If you are feeling better, FEEL how awesome it is that you just made yourself feel better. This gratification is enough to bring even the blood boiling funeral executive back into their power and into clarity.

Not feeling better yet? It’s up to you to make the decision to feel better. Make that decision, then go back to question 3 and move a little more (or better yet… scream!) and then proceed to question 8.

8. What are you grateful for?

List 10 things your grateful for. In your head isn’t enough. Write it down or say it aloud. What you appreciate, appreciates. And gratitude is the fastest way to pull yourself out of your sh*t storm, and into a higher state of mind. Again, it might sound silly, but this stuff WORKS. Don’t believe me? Try it, and see what happens.

Bonus points if you can be grateful for the very things that were causing your overwhelm.

9. What is my most important outcome today?

So now that your state is changed, and you’re a little more clear on how you’re feeling, it’s time to dig in. What RESULTS do you want out of today?

If you shift your focus on your outcomes, you’re much more likely to get what matters done. And if you’re a funeral professional, results are quite important in your everyday life.

Many people mistake activities for results. If you have a strong enough reason to do something, you will get it done. And the things you don’t have a strong enough reason to do will naturally fall off your to do list. This will help you see what’s dragging you down or pulling you away from your purpose, or your job.

Try this: Instead of writing out a long to-do list everyday, write out 1-3 of your most important outcomes for the day.

10. What needs to happen right now?

Look at your list of desired outcomes, and make two separate lists:

1) What needs to happen right now?
2) What can wait?

The shorter list you’re working with, the better you’re going to feel, and that is the goal – to feel better – isn’t it? You’ll never get it all done, so make sure you’ve chosen what’s more important.

11. Can I chunk it down?

Looking at a giant task is overwhelming. Break it down into bite sized bits.
Instead of walking around and looking at all the things you have to do, focus on one thing at a time. Look at each task separately so other tasks seem more manageable.

12. Can I make what I have to do more enjoyable?

If you must do it all, what would make it more enjoyable? Choose one way to make it more enjoyable for you, and you might just find that getting done all the dreaded things on your to-do list could actually be fun.

13. Am I being realistic about what needs to happen right now?

Getting it all done is incredibly rewarding, isn’t it? Because I know most funeral directors are close to superhero status, sometimes we take on more than we can chew because we have to do it all.

But take this opportunity to get very real with yourself on that last question. Do you really have to get it all done today? Why are you doing all the things you’re doing? Do you need to do it all at the same time? Set yourself up for success, and watch how much better you’ll feel when you DO get it all done.

14. Do I need help?

Getting a new pair of eyeballs or an extra set of hands on a situation is always a good idea if something feels “too big” or “too much”. Hopefully by now, you’ve chunked down your to do list in manageable bites, and you can get clear on what you need help with.

Try this: Write down on a sheet of paper the question “What would really help me right now?”

Doing this everyday, and then looking back on it, might help you see that maybe hiring an intern to do your tribute videos, or your funeral home website, or a maid at home would create more time and space for you and your business, saving you time, money and stress.

15. What is one thing I can move forward on right now?

Yes, at this very moment. Maybe it’s the easiest thing. Or the most fun thing. Or the most time pressing thing. Whatever it is, do it. Click X. Go forth!

Finally, LOVE YOURSELF, because you’re doing a great job, and you know it.

PS. Wanna learn more about how your website can make your life easier? Let’s chat about how creating a profitable funeral home website can be the easiest thing you’ve done.


BONUS: A printable cheat sheet! 

Want to save this resource for later? Check out our printable Cheat Sheet and hang it up in your funeral home. Watch how the overwhelm at your funeral home disappears. You’re welcome.

Download this chart on your computer or phone, then go ahead and print it!

How do you handle overwhelm at your funeral home? Tell us in the comments below!

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  4. Terri-Ann

    I love the article on 15 questions to ask yourself. However, despite that, it says I can print a cheat sheet and I can’t seem to find the link to print it. Can you help?

  5. Krystal Penrose

    Hi there Terri-Ann, thanks for bringing that to our attention! We added the link for you at the bottom of the chart. Let us know if it works! Blessings!

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