Today’s guest blog comes from life coach Barbara Waxman. I love this post about learning from others — and living a life without regrets.
Let me tell you a story about my mother. She was leading a rather ordinary day; in fact, she was out food shopping in order to prepare dinner for a friend. On her way out of the market, unbeknownst to her, a market employee haphazardly flung a shopping cart towards the cart rack in order to return it to that area. I think we’ve all done that at one time or another; it’s not a good idea. He missed. Instead he hit my unknowing mother, who by the way is 76 years old, in the back and she went flying. Fearing that she would break her wrists, she shifted her body in such a way that she would avert breaking the fall that way; in so doing, she torqued her back and fractured a vertebra instead. She was in tremendous pain and frightened. An ambulance was called and when they arrived she barely answered their questions…until she heard one of the medical technicians asking what should be done with the two bags of groceries. At that moment she had perfect clarity. Coming out of her fog, she piped up: “Would you please go by my apartment building on the way to the hospital? I have fresh fish in there and I know the doorman will get it into my refrigerator.” Now that is the kind of clarity we’d all like to have.
As a coach, I work with many people who feel as though things in their life have become less clear, foggy, and they feel overwhelmed. They recognize that feeling crystal clear is liberating and frankly, gets them where they want to go—it’s the wind in their sales. But it gets lost so easily when the busyness of life takes over and we lose sight of what makes us happy and focused.
When push comes to shove (no pun intended), we know what is most important in our lives. The question is how to access and live that inner wisdom without falling on our proverbial a**es. A good way to begin is to take a long view. A recent article entitled “Top five regrets of the dying” by Susan Steiner helps put this long view into perspective. Instead of beginning with a list of goals to tackle and struggling to reach them, why not try this deeper, resonant approach as a path to your 20/20 life?
Here is how I suggest you use these: find a friend, partner, loved one and go for a walk. Take these along and discuss them. Listen and feel your reactions throughout the conversation—do you feel that clarity I referred to earlier? Do you feel a lightness and opening that confirms that your choices and behaviors are on target? Or do you feel a tightening, even a headache? Your body’s response is the best indicator of what you know to be true and what you might want to do about it. What needs to shift in your life so you won’t wish you had done things differently?
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish I had let myself be happier.
Learning from one another is one of the best tools we have towards clarity. You are invited to share your response to these prompts in the comment section below. In addition, I’ll send you information about how to set follow-up goals. Simply visit my website and sign up for my quarterly newsletter at http://www.barbarawaxman.com/.