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Regret-Proof Your Life by Asking Yourself this One Simple Question

regret proof your life

During my TED talk, I spoke about the top 5 regrets of the dying. I think about these a lot. I wonder as the medical crew wheels a patient across the helipad into the hospital, what changes will this person make in their life if they survive? I wonder, about my Dad and those weeks in the hospital when he hovered between living and dying. Had he been able to speak would he have mentioned any regrets? Or in recent weeks as I lay on the couch resting and recuperating from my own car accident, knowing that despite my ongoing shoulder and neck pain it could have been so much worse, do I have any regrets?

Regret-Proof Your Life

How do we avoid regrets? Ask yourself this one simple question:

If I already was the person I know I’m meant to be, what would I be doing? 

Here’s what I came up with for myself:

  • I’d be less critical of myself.
  • I’d stop wasting time on things that don’t really matter.
  • I’d worry less about what people think or how it is all going to turn out.
  • I’d forgive more quickly.
  • I’d opt out of gossip or petty disagreements.

As I wrote these, I noticed my statements were all “less of”. Here they are reworded into “more of” statements:

  • I’d be kinder to myself and others.
  • I’d be taking action to make the world a better place.
  • I’d be more accepting of myself and others.
  • I’d know everything was going to turn out just as it should.

It might be my Positive Polly-ness but framing things this way feels a lot better.

Act as if…

A key aspect crafting your own Big Life is acting as if you’re already there. The two reasons we often give as to why we aren’t able to do something is that we don’t have enough time or we don’t have enough money. These are usually just smokescreens for the fear of rejection or failure. If you had all the time in the world, what would you be doing with your time? If you had all the money in the world what would you do with your money?

Making a Difference by Giving Back

Given the mindshift to “I already am the person I’m meant to be”, I’m excited to announce: 10% of the income from this site will be given to a charitable organization. Yes, you read that correctly, 10% of income, not profit. This feels bold and audacious yet completely doable. I love that although the percentage will stay the same, the dollar amount will grow as my business and coaching practice developes. It also feels automatic, so rather than having to decide how much to give, I get to celebrate each month as I determine the exact dollar amount. Right now ten percent isn’t a huge amount, but it will be.

Here’s why I love giving back:

Giving Back Promotes a Wealthy Mindset.

You are wealthy. I know you probably don’t consider yourself as wealthy, I didn’t either until just in the past few months. But think about it for a minute. You have a home, food, and access to clean water. You have the time and the resources to read articles on the internet. This is wealth. You are wealthy. Recognizing your own wealth is a huge step to letting go of the “never enough” scarcity mindset.

Giving back slows us down.

When you are helping people you can’t be in a rush. Life is too short to rush.

Giving back keeps gratitude at the forefront.

Giving back doesn’t have to be a financial contribution. It could be as simple as allowing a driver merge into your lane. Or reaching the milk off the top shelf for the elderly woman in the grocery store. Or volunteering for a local community event. Adopting a “how can I help” attitude promotes empathy.

Together We’re Making the World a Better Place

Each year I’ll revisit the specific charitable organization to ensure it is aligned with our values and ideals. This year, I’ve selected Women for Women International. They support women facing violence, marginalization and poverty as a result of war and conflict. Women in the program participate in paid training to help them develop their own businesses, improve their health, and become leaders in their communities. Since the training is paid, there is no additional hardship on their families as they go through the program. You can read more about the impact the organization is having here.

Why an organization specifically for women? When the lives of women improve, the lives of everyone around them improves: their children, their husbands, and the community.

I love that we’ll be able to put a face to our dollars and get regular updates on the women we’re sponsor. My long-term vision is to sponsor more women and eventually go on volunteer vacations with blog readers (Who’s in?!?). I’m grateful you’re here, find value in reading these posts and take time to share them. Together we’re making a difference.

Now it is your turn to regret-proof your life. What would you be doing if you already were the person you know you’re meant to be? Share in the comments.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Scott McMurren April 14, 2015, 7:53 pm

    One of my goals is to institutionalize the concept of giving and charity into my daily life. I’m reading a biography of a spiritual leader who suggests that you offer a gift or contribution before you pray. If the grammar police were close-at-hand, you might get a warning for the common use phrase “giving back”. Not a citation, mind you, since the phrase is used with such abandon. I would just say “giving”. Fewer keystrokes. More time to make that extra cup of coffee. #DeathBeforeDecaf

    • Lorena April 15, 2015, 3:32 am

      Amen to the grammar police, Scott. :)

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