This last week I’ve been doing a lot of small group coaching. And a common theme has been creeping in…. regrets.
It’s a word we often don’t reflect on until it’s too late. I came across an article by John-Paul Iwuoha. The 5 Biggest Regrets People Have Before They Die. What he shared in the article was…
Bronnie Ware – an Australian nurse and counselor – took care of terminally ill people, most of whom had less than 12 weeks to live. As part of therapy, Bronnie would ask about any regrets they had about their lives and anything they would do differently. Of all the responses she got from her patients, she noticed there were 5 regrets that stood out.
These were the most common regrets of her patients:
1) I wish I pursued my dreams and aspirations, and not the life others expected of me
Ouch. That hurts. This is a classic case of our head getting in the way of our heart. The biggest take away from this #1 regret is…If you know what really makes you happy…do it! And if you don’t know what really makes you happy, what your dreams and aspirations are…FIND OUT. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Heck, don’t wait another minute. Do. It. Now! Joseph Campbell said it best. “Follow your bliss.” Stop doing everything else. And get out there and set the world on fire with your passion and purpose. It’s never too late. Actually, it is. So do it now.
2) I wish I didn’t work so hard
No surprise here. We don’t often wish at the end of our lives that we had spent more time at work. People often wish they had put more focus on other things including their relationships, their health, and their spirituality. Yep. All those really important things that we put on the back burner. Those things that matter most that we reserve for weekends and holiday breaks. What is WRONG with this picture? We have our priorities backwards. Let’s turn them around. And start focusing on who we love. What we love to do. When we love doing it. And how often. That’s a great start.
3) I wish I had the courage to express my feelings and speak my mind
Emotional intelligence….wow. Game changer. This to me means also “I wish I had taken more time to work on ME.” Because when we do the work, we get stronger. Period. We have firmer boundaries, and we can express our needs. It’s only through our vulnerability that we can truly reach out greatness. But we don’t explore our edge a lot. We don’t fully trust ourselves or others. There’s a whole other layer to this life that I see most women leaving left unexplored. It’s our shame. It’s the real, raw, vulnerable truth of how we feel. And that, when exposed can lead be miraculous. It can create doors where there were once walls. Greatness here we come!
4) I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
We are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. But we often don’t work on it. This is more proof that the Harvard Grant study, the longest lasting study in history was right. Having close friendships and intimate connections can quite literally determine our success in life. Not just in life but in every area of our life. Our relationship, our health, our wealth, our impact. All of that is affected positively or negatively by our intimate friendships. Our connections make life better. We need to treat them that way and consciously work on them. #sisterhood
5) I wish I had let myself be happier
When we realize that happiness is a choice and we put conscious effort into it, that can lead to an incredibly fulfilling life. I also believe happiness is the art of allowing. There’s a lot more at play here than just joy. When we focus on our happiness we tune in to our deeper desires. But again its something we take for granted. We think it should just happen. So we don’t work at it. We hustle and work hard and think that will make us happy. If there’s one thing I could shout from the rooftops it would be this… “Master your happiness and you will master your life.”
So I ask you…are there any REGRETS that you don’t want to die with?
Are you spending too much time working?
Putting work in front of family, friends, relationships?
Are you making money your top priority?
Are there adjustments you can make in your life to change any of that?
I think this study proves that living the most rewarding fulfilling life possible is not only necessary, it’s crucial.
Let’s continue the conversation. And see how we can not just live with no regrets but also leave a legacy.
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