6 Steps To Becoming The Coolest Funeral Director Around
Is it finally cool to be a funeral director?
In this day and age, my honest opinion, is YES. Yes it is.
Why, you might ask, would a person who works in an embalming room and wears a black suit everyday be considered cool? For starters, because funeral directors aren’t in the embalming room nearly as much, and some of them are even transitioning out of black and embracing brighter colors (which happens to be a metaphor for a much more powerful transformation the profession is experiencing).
Today, people are finally starting to realize that a funeral doesn’t necessarily have to be tired and somber. They’re also beginning to see that death isn’t something you should avoid, but rather prepare and plan ahead for. They understand, after years and years of the same old song and dance, that things are changing and funeral homes are embracing new and improved ways to celebrate life.
So how do you, Mr. or Mrs. funeral director, embrace this cool? It’s easy, just follow these 6 simple steps:
Step 1: Define “cool”
Setting an intention is the most powerful thing you can do before beginning any journey. So you want to be a “cool” funeral director because you clicked on this blog… What does that mean? For me, cool isn’t standoffish and mysterious (we’ve already got that down), but rather warm, connected and personable. Cool, to me, is being approachable to families, like a friend or a neighbor. Cool says, “call me anytime, I’m always here for you and your family,” and it also says, “I’m a part of this community, you know me, you see me around all of the time.” So really, cool is connected. And connecting with your families and community is absolutely the most important thing you can do as a funeral professional.
Step 2: Connect with other funeral directors
This might sound counterintuitive, but the first step towards connecting with your community is to connect with your fellow funeral directors. For as long as I can remember, the relationship between funeral directors resembled the relationship between politicians – not working together, but apart. And why is that? If we all came together for the same cause, wouldn’t it be powerful and help us all go farther? Hint: That was a rhetorical question, because the answer is YES.
Step 3: Gain a bigger perspective
Perspective is everything, and chances are your lens is smaller than you think. What you’re doing in small town, Illinois might be completely different than what some progressive funeral directors in Northern California are doing to connect with their community. Visit other funeral home’s websites, read their blogs, follow them on social media. Keep an eye out for new and exciting things to implement into your own business. Or even better, pick up a class or a book that has nothing to do with the funeral industry. You never know what you’ll find.
Step 4: Get out of your comfort zone
If you’ve always been reading the same materials or listening to the same podcasts or attending the same conferences, switch it up and try something new. If you always wear the same colors at work, change them up. Buy a new outfit. Learn a new hobby. Greet your families in a different way. Reinvent yourself, because from the looks of it, it’s going to cost you not to. You’re families are looking for something new and uplifting, not stale and stagnant.
Step 5: Host regular discussions with your staff
Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” Tap into that element of teamwork and brainstorm over a weekly or monthly potluck with your staff. Chances are, you’ve all got some ideas stewing up in your heads, so why not share them instead of letting them fall off your priority list? Who knows, if you all really like an idea, you can pitch it to the team leader and see where it takes you. It could be your best idea yet.
Step 6: Fake it till’ you make it
Imagine for a second that you’re a confused teenager who just wants to be cool, so the most popular kid in school decides to help you. They hand you a pair of sunglasses, tell you to put them on, and say “in order to be cool, you’ve got to think cool.” Next thing you know, you’re following this popular person blindly and, within no time, you’re the epitome of awesome. Be like that poor teenager and put on those darn sunglasses. Take notes from people in the profession (and even out of the profession) who you truly admire, act like them, think like them, learn like them. Pretty soon, you’ll find your own way to express those admirable qualities you saw in your idols.
Now it’s up to you…
Once you’ve taken these steps, the rest is in your hands. You can make connection the top of your priority list, or you can let it slip away. But if you do make it a priority, tell us about the magic that follows. Because some will.