Creating a fulfilled life now .....do not die wondering. Feb 03

phil crenigan  

A challenging headline but a powerful message for us all.

 

 

 I am convinced through more than fifty case studies that adopting a holistic approach to how we lead our lives now does lead to incredible improvement in not only how we lead others in the work place, but how we relate to the critically important people around us inside and outside of work. We assume we are invincible , that all will be well even though the vast majority have  buried frustrations.In my experiences, we simply cannot seperate our work life and our private life. 

 

 

 Recently I have been privileged to talk to several good friends and a client  who have suddenly had to reframe what is really important by having to face head on the fact that their life  through a quirk of medical  fate  will come to an end. It was a rare  and humbling opportunity through our friendship to listen to what becomes  important  when dealt that card. The conversations had a profound effect on my professional work as they provided a rare insight to a point in the journey that none of us have experienced but at the same time touched on what many of my clients  shared through our  confidential coaching relationship. 

 

 

With that context in mind, I would like to share with you a powerful article from the Guardian, a UK newspaper that is amazingly in line with my three personal experiences. It is a fact based insight into the future through the eyes of a palliative nurse who counselles the dying in their last days . As you digest the article do pause and reflect and ask yourslef the hard questions.....is this me now ?

 

 

 One of the personally  rewarding outcomes of my work is helping clients restore the balance. They become better leaders, partners, fathers or mothers, friends you want to have...they become interested and interesting. We can only join the dots by looking backwards so here is a rare glimpse into the future space that we will all be in. I hope it helps many readers to start making sense now  while we can.   

 

 

 

A palliative nurse who has counselled the dying in their last days has revealed the most common regrets we have at the end of our lives. And among the top, from men in particular, is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'.

 

 

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai [http://www.inspirationandchai.com/Regrets-of-the-Dying.html" title="], which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying [http://www.amazon.co.uk/TOP-FIVE-REGRETS-DYING-ebook/dp/B005OS3RSK" title="].

 

 

Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. "When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently," she says, "common themes surfaced again and again."

 

 

Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:

 

 

1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

 

"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."

 

2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

 

"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."

 

3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

 

"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."

 

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

 

"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."

 

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

 

"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

 

Powerful stuff.

 

Phil  Sydney Feb 2012 .

 

 

Comments: 2

many thanks for an excellent article
phil  |  February 05, 2012
Sobering. Nothing prompts action like knowing regret mught be around the corner.
Arash rashidian  |  February 07, 2012
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