When the top 5 regrets of the dying were listed, the number one was,
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself; not the life others expected of me.”
Of course this is hindsight, and hindsight is 20/20. But what if we could do it over again? The good news is we can! Using our 20/20 vision, here are 7 ways to make it right.
1. Begin with the end in mind. Let’s go out to a future place. It doesn’t have to be at the end of your life. Pick a future time; 1 year; 5 years; 10 years; 20 years. Go there and spend some time – in solitude. Now, using your imagination, look back over your life with 20/20 vision. What do you wish you would have done? What are the outcomes you would have wanted? What decisions would you have made? You’ll discover that this hindsight is a gift, because you CAN transport yourself back to the present and discover that it is something you can do right now.
Your “should have’s” are now your “can do’s.”
2. Know that you are enough. You have all you need to do what ever it is you will do. Don’t doubt that. Does it need to be developed and built on? Yes. But you don’t have to become someone else. That’s rowing against the current. And no one can be you. You are enough!
Growth is a matter of becoming a better version of who you already are.
3. Value small changes. The majority of life consists of those small incremental changes that take place daily. Some are so small that it’s easy not to take note. There are 8 million earthquakes every year. But they are so small – around 2 on the Richter Scale — that we don’t take notice. Over time they make a big difference in the topography. Our personal lives are like that. Life is not like a movie with high drama. It’s in between the scenes where daily habits are formed that add up to big changes.
Micro habits and skills become macro changes when stretched out in time.
4. Schedule appointments with yourself. Connecting with others is good. Stopping to connect with ourselves is a priority, and — in many cases – a lost art. It’s impossible to authentically connect with others beyond your connection with yourself. There are many voices that clamor for your attention. Take time to listen to your voice – in a centered focus. It’s impossible to go deep or integrate in the fast lane.
Estrangement from one’s self is a show stopper.
5. Write down your thoughts and pay attention. Clear out the mental clutter. Write down your “wants”, your “haves”, and your “fears.” What are those fears? As you identify them you discover they become less controlling and often fade. For many, they revolve around being perfect. We project to others that everything is perfect. It is a façade on the first order of magnitude. Family, relationships, appearances, and competencies are far from perfect. Accepting this is a powerful experience. To do other is to strive for a world that doesn’t exist.
There is no shame in being fearful, but there is great power in knowing what they are.
6. Identify those limiting beliefs holding you back. We all have them. Much of it we inherited. We’ve confirmed it ourselves, and we live within its parameters. Information that does not fit those mental frameworks isn’t easily seen, heard, or readily accepted. The force is strong and works to keep us in the framework we “know.” So we come up with —
- That’s not possible
- That won’t work
- I’m not able
A better approach would be to say —
- I don’t know
- Maybe I could
- How is my outlook limiting my desired outcomes?
Recognizing that our framework has its limitations will help us see beyond those limits.
7. Take action. Encouragement can and will come from those around you. But the greatest form of encouragement will come when you put that stake in the ground and take some tangible action toward your desired ends. Where would you like to end up? By when? 20 years? 5 years? 1 year? What will you do this week? That becomes your WOW (Within One Week). Focus on that.
Share with us an action step you will take this week. This will be your W.O.W.
We’d love to hear your thoughts.