This weekend I received an early morning visit from friends where we ate breakfast, laughed, shared updates about our lives and also discussed how we’re getting “old” and needed to live life happy. During the conversation, one of my friends brought up a study about a nurse that interviewed those who were dying and asked this question, “As you reflect over your life, what are some of the things you wished you’ve done or did differently?” And what came out of the study were the top 5 answers from over 100 people below:
I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
I wish that I had let myself be happier.
As I read the above list, I thought about how I used to live in such a way that was to please others, often hoping happiness would catch up to me. I worked hard to maintain an image and most times putting my feelings aside trying not to rock the boat or upset anyone, often thinking other people's happiness was more important than mine. It was almost a foreign concept for me to think about me and my well-being, because I thought it was “selfish”. But in reality, taking time to care for yourself and connect to those things that keeps you “alive” is vital; if not, you’ll walk around as a shell of a person, living a life that is not your own.
Imagine getting to a point in your life and realizing there were so many dreams that went unfulfilled, because you didn’t have the courage or didn’t even believe it was possible. Or imagine looking back over your life and wishing you had spent more time with family, connecting more with your children and friends. Time is something you can’t get back, but you can always start new today!
Regret is not a space to dwell in, as all of our experiences come to shape who we are today. If we take time to truly reflect, we can always learn from those experiences and it can help us approach similar situations from a different, wiser and hopefully positive perspective, the next time around. As you look at the list above, were there any areas of your life that closely resonated with those statements?
Here are a few coaching questions to help you work through them:
1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me - What are you afraid will happen if you step out to do something new? How would you feel 10 years from now if you’re not living the life YOU desire? What is the single, most meaningful change you could make in this area?
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. - How is an excessive work schedule affecting you? Your family? What’s one thing you can do to make time for what you love?
3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings. - What would be the worst case scenario, if you shared how you felt? What are you gaining by keeping your feelings within? How would it feel if you were able to express yourself in a manner that was comfortable for you?
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. –What’s currently keeping you from speaking or meeting up with friends? What’s one thing you can do to ensure you stay connected?
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier. - What does happiness look like to you? What do you enjoy doing? Write it down so you’re able to see it. What is keeping you from being happy?
Leave a comment below to share the one thing you’re going to do to live a life without regrets?
I hope this post helped you in thinking about how you would like to live differently, even creating a new chapter for your life going forward. This is just one of the topics we’ll discuss in my upcoming online coaching program, “She Designed a Life She Loves.” If you didn’t get a chance yet, sign up here to receive more information and to know when doors open.
If you're interested in reading more about the study the nurse conducted feel free to click here. And, if this post resonated with you definitely pass it along to others through email or social media.
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Until next time....... Greatness Awaits!