This week’s topic is the second regret of the dying, which is wishing that they hadn’t worked so hard. Sometimes in order to know how to live your life now, you have to think about what will your legacy will be when you are no longer here.
This regret is not only about working too hard but it is also about not spending enough time on areas of your life that really matter; friends, family, yourself, etc. Many of us think that if we work hard now we will have plenty of time for those other things and people later. If we just put in a few more hours at the office we can rest and relax later. If we travel more for work the boss will see how dedicated we are to progressing in the company and we will get that much deserved raise. If we take on extra projects that requires working late nights and some weekends we will be rewarded with a promotion. You get the idea. But one thing we never count on is that tomorrow is never promised. What happens when we put the people and things that matter most in our lives off until tomorrow and tomorrow never comes? That is where the regret comes from, it comes from thinking we will always have more time and before we know it, times up.
I think the best way to combat this regret is to redefine success. What does success mean to you? If you were successful what would that look and feel like? Not just successful at your job but a successful friend, a successful parent, a successful spouse, a successful child, etc. Success should not only be connected with work, it should be connected with every aspect of your life. So many of us only link success to our jobs since that is the one aspect of our life that pays us in return for effort put in, right? Wrong! We are paid by all aspects of our lives, maybe not with money, but with happiness, gratitude, value, friendship, love, etc. What matters most to you in your life? What type of payment means the most to you?
Take this week to assess where you are spending most of your time and effort and what type of return on your investment you are receiving. Are you spending long hours at the office and missing important time with your family? Did you cancel another dinner date with your friends because you had a project to work on? Do you find yourself defining who you are by the job title you hold or business that you are in?
I am not saying you shouldn’t work hard at work or take pride in the work you do, but what I am saying is to spend just as much effort if not more in the things in life that mean the most to you since they are going to be there when you no longer have your job or are working. When your time comes to move on from this life to the next, how do you want to be remembered; as someone who worked late at the office or the spouse, parent or friend who was always there and lived life to the fullest. The great thing about life is you get to decide how your story will end, now get writing,.