I came across this wonderful blog piece that really got me thinking. And crying.
It reminded me of when I was losing my mum and the conversations we had about regrets. She was full of regrets. So many things she wanted to do. And once I had lost her, I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t die with the same regrets as her. So this blog piece written by a nurse who worked with the dying is quite poignant for me.
She cites the top 5 regrets as being;
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me”
It doesn’t surprise me that this is top. The world is full of people who are not being true and it shows in the way that they behave and the illnesses they have. Do what you love and spend time with people you love. Anything less is simply not worth it. You only have one life and even then it is too short. Don’t let this be your regret. Take time to find out who you are and what you’re about and be brave to start the journey. It doesn’t mean it’s an easy one, but neither is dying with the regret that you never even bothered trying.
“I wish I didn’t work so hard”
Apparently this was top among the men. They spent so much time at work and not enough with their family. Sure they had the trappings of wealth, but it’s only late in life that you realise that none of that stuff matters. What matters is how much you mean to others, the love that you share with others and the magic moments you spend with them. That’s stuff that money can’t buy and that you can’t get back once time has lapsed.
“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings”
Repressed feelings are so damaging both for your spirit and your body. Many illnesses come from not expressing your true feelings. It might mean a difficult conversation or losing some people along the way, but isn’t that better than being a fake?
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends”
The busy-ness of life can so easily take over that staying in touch with friends falls behind over the years. But remember, these are the guys that give you laughter, support good times and magic moments. And without them you have no laughter, support, good times and magic moments.
“I wish that I had let myself be happier”
Near the end many realise that happiness is a choice and had they made the choice sooner, their life would have had more smiles and joy. Why wait until your deathbed to make this choice? Happiness isn’t something that you achieve when you acquire stuff, it’s a state of being. As with anything, the order of things is be-do-have, not have-do-be. Used to be someone who would utter the words “when I have that raise/that car/that house/whatever I’ll be happy”. Then I lost my mum and I resolved to work through all my crap so that I didn’t die with the same regrets as her.
You might be wondering what the link with personal branding is here. Well for me, it’s about authenticity and integrity. If you’re being true to yourself and doing something that you love, then you’ll be happy. By actively managing your personal brand, you’re more likely to be mindful of your actions and less likely to get carried away with the current of life. For me, proactively managing your personal brand means being authentic and true, it means being well balanced in how you spend your time to ensure you achieve what you want. And often, when we acknowledge our true selves, our ambitions become more meaningful and selfless. And so it follows, that many of these regrets should pass you by. Now, isn’t that something to aim for?