A nurse who worked in palliative care listened to the final words of those on their deathbeds. She recorded their thoughts and put them in a book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying:
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 that I had let myself be happier.
There is no mention of making more money, spending more time watching television, updating Facebook, or responding to email. All five regrets reflect a longing for more meaning and connection. Somehow the hustle and bustle of daily life got in the way of what truly mattered.
Avoid this happening to you by creating a weekly work/life check-in. Here is how Qualtric CEO Ryan Smith, master of the universe, created a weekly ritual:
Each week, I examine the categories of my life — father, husband, CEO, self — and identify the specific actions that help me feel successful and fulfilled in these capacities. This weekly ritual helps me feel like I’m doing everything in my power to address my needs and the needs of those around me. This is important because I can’t lose sight of the business agenda, and we’ve all seen or read about what it looks like when you lose sight of your family’s needs.
Think of it as a check engine light to ensure you are spending your time according to your priorities and living a life in concert with your values. Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have.