If today is your last day, what would your regrets be?
This is an interesting question, isn’t it? You would think that the answers from each person would be varied and very different. In fact, research suggests otherwise.
I started thinking about this question over 10 years ago and it has totally transformed my life. You see, my cousin died at a tender age of 38 and one of the last conversations I had with her was about a regret she had. It got me thinking about what regrets I would have if I knew this day would be my last.
The answers I got from my mind allowed me to re-engineer my life so that I lived my life the way I wanted to.
10 common regrets
The problem is we never really think about our regrets until it is too late. This has now been confirmed by Bronnie Ware––a nurse in a terminal palliative care unit. She decided to poll her patients in their last days in hopes to uncover any regrets so others may learn. This is what she found:
Regret # 1
Never pursued my dreams or aspirations
Regret # 2
I worked too much and did not spend enough time with my family
Regret # 3
I wished I had spent more time with my friends
Regret # 4
I did not say ‘I love you’ to those I loved
Regret # 5
I should have spoken my mind instead of holding back & being resentful
Regret # 6
I should have resolved my conflicts
Regret # 7
I wish I had children/more children
Regret # 8
I wish I had more money in my retirement fund
Regret # 9
I wish I was more truthful about myself and stop pretending to be someone else
Regret # 10
I did not realise happiness is a choice until it was too late
So how do you use this information to ensure you have a business that allows you to live the life you want?
Because we feel we need to spend so much time in our business, we never consider what our dreams are (regret 1). The excess time we spend in our businesses mean we put the business first, at the expense of our family and friends (Regret 2 & 3). The reality is that a properly structured business allows you to have this time but still the money you need to live your life.
It is also strange when we spend more time in our business and less with our friends and family that you would think that we would express ourselves more when we actually do meet them (Regret 4). I have personally found that when I spend more time with my loved ones, I express myself more – maybe it is because I am more comfortable or calmer. This above research seems to suggest so too.
I was not expecting Regret 5, but I suppose it is a regret that people are not honest about themselves. Over the years, I have found conflicts and resentment (Regret 6) only uses more brain energy and takes you away from what you should really be doing in your business. If I have a conflict I just move on. If I don’t it, just clouds my judgment and I emotionally feel sad. It’s not worth it.
Regret 8 is very accurate and shows that we take retirement for granted. When I undertake Strategy Planning Days, I often find that retirement planning features very low on the priority list when really it should be considered very early on.
I think Regret 9 will become more and more prevalent. To see what I mean, just look at Facebook. Everyone on Facebook has a great time, making lots of money and ‘talking’ to family & friends. We all know that this is not true. I have found that in business, those that ran an honest, relationship business do very well.
Relationships are built by talking and communicating with people directly and providing good customer service. If you are spending too much time on Facebook you might want to analyse how much income this time is generating and if you are really building relationships and friends. If not much, you might need to consider something else.
Happiness has always been a choice. Most people's happiness happens when something is achieved. For example, if I start a business -- I will have the freedom and then be happy. But once the business has started other issues mean ‘happiness’ is postponed until say you make more money.
The thing is, ‘happiness’ is just a mindset. If you think you are happy then you will be. Think that you are unhappy then guess what? Yep …. you're unhappy.
They only way to ensure you have no major regrets in life is to ask the following question consistently.
‘If today was my last day what regrets would I have?’
Write the list down and make sure you look at it often – then take action to ensure you have no regrets in life. You will find that you are calmer -- allowing you to naturally concentrate on your business. You may think the two are not related, but I always find that a relaxed business person has better ideas, is more energetic and ultimately makes more money than a busy, stressed one.
* Photo Credits: vantaran.wordpress.com
Do you need help with
There are 181 business coaches on standby