Bronnie Ware is an Australian author best known for writing about her experiences working in palliative care where she shared the last weeks of her patient’s lives. Her book ‘The Top Five Regrets of the Dying’ captures what she heard when her patients shared any regrets they had or things they would do differently. The number one regret was:
I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
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. Bronnie Ware
Hmm, this is powerful, and it links back to our previous discussions around fear of what is holding us back in stepping into the arena.
Let’s unpick this concept of regret. We all have regrets about choices made that didn’t go as expected, but humans are built to make mistakes. In fact, this is how we learn. What is usually going on deeper, below the surface though, are feelings of shame. Shame about who we are, who we want to be and where we are in our lives today.
For me, this is what this regret is really speaking to. When it comes to our dreams and our choices – am I living for myself or am I living for others?
You see at any moment, in fact right now, you can choose to let go of the weight of who you’ve been. You can allow yourself to choose to become who you truly want to be. What you did or didn’t do can either paralyse you or motivate you to do something now. You can continue to react to past disappointments, or you can proactively step up from a position of courage. To honour your dreams through often hard but courageous choices.
I don’t know about you, but I have every intention of living a full life. In fact, I’m taking some advice from Sister Andre, the world’s second oldest person who recently celebrated her 117th after beating a COVID diagnosis in February this year. One of her secrets of longevity is red wine and champagne with dessert!
As Bronnie says, let’s use the wisdom from the dying as a tool for the living.
Now, some questions for you to reflect on:
- How will you use this wisdom as a tool for living?
- What’s the most important choice you can make right now to live fully?
Feel free to to share your thoughts and responses below.
If you think others could benefit from stepping into the arena, please share with a friend.
Welcome to the Arena!
I’m Dr Jess Murphy, Founder of Pathway to Your Potential Pty Ltd.
We collaborate with people and organisations at all levels, around the world, to enhance leadership effectiveness, drive more inclusive, higher performing cultures, and leverage difference in all its forms.
Want to challenge the status quo? Develop yourself, your team or shake up your organisation & industry? Join me in the arena as I share learnings, insights and importantly, dare greatly to take action.
Dr Jess Murphy – Founder
Having spent 20+ years in the corporate world holding various senior leadership roles, alongside her Adjunct Professorship in Business Leadership, Jess delivers a unique blend of pragmatism and cutting-edge insights to ensure immediate real-world application.
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