I recently read an article about a nurse that worked with terminally ill patients. She had become aware of the many regrets her patients spoke of as they entered their last phase of their life. One of the most popular regrets that she heard over and over was the following:
“I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life that others expected of me.”
Many of her patients felt that they had wasted years of their life trying to please others; not seeking what was in their heart. Does that resonate with you? If you were to find out today that you were in the last phase of your life, would you grapple with any regrets? So, what has been holding you back from living your dream?
I work with many clients that are struggling with moving forward. Often, there is a part of them that desperately wants to change their life, but they can’t figure out how to go about this shift. But there is more to it than that.
Many people will go to great lengths to avoid failure. I certainly get this; I don’t like to fail either. However, I hate to be stuck even more than failing. If given the choice of failing or being stuck, I take failing. You know why? Because I believe that I’ll just dust myself off and try again. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll just dust myself off…and try again. Rinse, lather, repeat. This is the way YOU need to think about life. The bottom line is this: failing is not a great feeling, but it’s so much better than NOT going after your dream. At least you’re moving in SOME direction. In the end, you won’t regret not being courageous enough to go after your dream.
What is your dream? Is it to quit your boring desk job and do something artistic? Did you always want to go back to school? Do you feel crazy for even entertaining the thought? You need to face this fear and get on with it.
People hold on to values and expectations from their childhood. Maybe you grew up in a house where you learned that success was becoming an accountant and having a steady job with a decent income. You absorbed this because you wanted to please your family and you counted on them to give you sound advice. So you went to school and got good grades, graduated and received a plum job. You worked hard and moved up in the company. But at some point, you begin to feel angry and unhappy. Each day gets a little more difficult but you keep trudging forward because it’s the right thing to do. Hopefully at some point, you can face the feelings you’re experiencing, let go of the guilt and realize that only you can change your life. You can build a life that matches YOUR expectations.
You get stuck in the daily grind and time goes by. How does that happen? One minute you’re wiping the nose of your 3-year-old son, and the next, you’re attending his graduation. Time seems to fly as you get older. You might put off your dreams for a number of reasons. Maybe you feel that your kids are too young and need too much attention for you to follow your dreams. You might feel that you just can’t afford it— you have so many bills to pay and focusing on YOUR dreams is too indulgent. Trust me, it will always be something while time keeps flying by. There will never be the perfect time to go after what you want— you just have to make right now the right time.
I hope you take the next few minutes to think about your dreams and how you need to make a commitment today. Make a commitment to live true to you and go after your best life!