My own funeral? And I seem happy about it?!

Life lessons come when they’re ready, not when you are… and this one caught me entirely off-guard. And I think that was the point.

Guarding is resisting, and this lesson was about becoming vulnerable – absolutely, totally and completely vulnerable! Accepting it entirely. Then, and only then, can you grasp the learning and welcome the “kick up the arse.”


Hello, I’m Don Heatrick and welcome to the Heatrick Strength and conditioning podcast… from the leading MuayThai-performance coaching company for busy Thai boxers of all levels to taste what they’re really capable of while they still can!

Some time ago, my last remaining Grandad passed away… don’t worry, this isn’t a pity party! But something happened at his funeral that shook me so much that I literally went out of body for a moment, and big lessons were learned!

After helping as pallbearer and setting my Grandad’s coffin down, I respectfully returned to a seat next to my wife as the service began. After welcoming all the family and friends, the Vicar began recounting my grandad’s life story…

Now there’s something powerful about hearing your name spoken out loud isn’t there? It’s like it’s hardwired into your awareness. You can hear someone say your name across a crowded room, your ears literally prick up. I was named after my Grandad Donald, but unlike him, I was christened Don, not Donald.

But as the Vicar shared my Grandad’s life story from his childhood, through his wartime exploits, to his bringing up of my mum and her twin brother after the war and beyond… time and time again, the Vicar referred to my Grandad as “Don”.

As I sat in this emotional setting, in front of a coffin in the crematorium, every time I heard “my” name uttered, it was like I was no longer really there. I was pushed further away each time my name was spoken. It was like I was watching my family members morning at my OWN funeral. I weirdly became detached from the physical sensations of my body and found myself simply watching.

The power of hearing my own name like that, at a funeral with my own family all about me in emotional upset was profound to say the least. In that moment, I was no more, my own eulogy was being read out.

My first date with my wife Deborah, was to watch the movie Ghost, starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. And like a flash, in that crematorium, I felt like the Ghost of Sam Wheat, powerlessly watching the living while I remained out of body.

And this experience certainly made me think, or I should say made me feel.

If you ended right now, what would your eulogy say? More importantly, what wouldn’t it say about you and your life that you wish you seen through and finished? Who and what is important to you?

Your mortality is of course very real. And hopefully you’ve still got plenty of time to check things off that bucket list! But I challenge you to review and prioritise that bucket list. Don’t just stick down a bunch cliches. Stuff that’s just there to post on Facebook to appear awesome. Really, nobody cares. What means something to you, be totally honest. This isn’t a public competition, it’s your truth.

Don’t be limited by what you believe you’re capable of, I find that to be out of whack. There’s much more in you than you realise. What’s important to you? What’s really important to you? Now set your sights on achieving it, and don’t be afraid of committing and going after it.

Personally, failure I can deal with, that’s part of growing and getting better… but regrets – NO!  And excuses – NO!

My first two core values, “work from and empowered stance or be fearless”, and “be open and aware of your influence or be honest”, cement this attitude for me, and I live by this.

Once the fear of regret is greater than fear of failure, then you can really start living.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, once you’ve allowed yourself to “die” this is painfully clear.

For me, testing my limits to find my true potential and helping others do the same, is my meaning. Whenever I’m doing this, all is good in life! If I’m dragged away from this natural path then life’s not so good. And understanding this before it’s too late makes all the difference to the life you lead.

Once my Grandad’s funeral service was over, I stood up on wobbly legs and filed out with the rest of my family, knowing they would be totally unaware of what I’d just experienced. I mentally apologised to my Grandad for being distracted, I meant no disrespect. And I thanked him for such a powerful final lesson.

Probably the most final lesson I could every experience this side our physical reality.

And far from being a negative experience, it was a surreal and very positive kick up the arse, and for me, confirmation that I’m following the right path.

I’m passionate that everyone deserves both the physical body and an attitude that doesn’t hold them back – that matches their goals and aspirations. And that’s what I’ll continue to focus on and do my utmost to deliver.

So again, I challenge you to really explore what’s there for you – what’s important, what would you regret if you never got around to it?

If like me, testing your limits though Muay Thai is important to you, then follow through on that! And remember it’s about testing your own limits, not about how you compare to others. Take one step at a time. Don’t fail to start just because you don’t believe you’ll ever become a world champion. That’s irrelevant.

Remind yourself to make your fear of regret greater than fear of failure!

As I always share in my 3 core values, to be successful I encourage you to be fearless, honest and disciplined.

If you’ve got any questions, or want to check out our library of free Muay Thai performance articles and videos, head over to… that’s H E A T R I C K, where I’d love to help you reach your Muay Thai potential.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Heatrick Muay Thai Strength and Conditioning podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts – and you can audio message me on Anchor too, so you can feature in future episodes.

I’ll Catch you next time.

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Don Heatrick

Founder of Heatrick Strength and Conditioning

Don Heatrick is a family man from the UK, former mechanical design engineer, European Muay Thai silver medallist, former pro Thai boxer (ranked 4th in UK while aged 40-years), a Muay Thai coach, podcast host, and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.

Don helps ambitious fighters and coaches take their game to the next level by bridging the gap between Strength & Conditioning, Performance Science, and Muay Thai.

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