Too much for an opening question? How about this one: How do you define success? It’s a lot to think about, I know… but don’t you think it’s important?
I think a lot about making the most of life. Don’t you?
What’s your perspective on how to get by in this world and make the most of our limited time on this planet, so at the end of our days we look back with pride, rather than with regret?
I read an article about the top regrets of people on their death beds – written by a palliative care nurse. The number one regret? “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, and not the life others expected of me.”
But it’s tricky, isn’t it? Because we spend most of our childhood learning to live up to others’ expectations – learning to follow the rules. We jump through hoops to please others, and we often feel guilty when we take time for something we want to do. I mean – how do we even know what’s really important? From the moment we’re born, we absorb messages from our families, our friends, the media, from society – everybody has something to say about what should matter.
So how do we learn the difference between what others tell us is important, and what feels authentically valuable to us as individuals?
That’s what I like to talk about. How do we build our own personal definition of success and philosophy of life?
For years, I was an expert at living up to others’ expectations. I was fortunate to be good at math, so everyone suggested I study engineering, and when I graduated, I got a “good job” making good money doing computer database stuff. But it sucked. I didn’t care at all about what I was doing. My co-workers were simultaneously stressed, strained, dulled, and disinterested. I felt myself becoming the same. Within 2 weeks, as I sat in my muggy car on the hour-long commute home, I found myself repeating, “$150 bucks a day – I can do this…” But I was wrong…
I quit after just 4 weeks on the job. And I had even been on vacation for one of those weeks.
Something inside me had changed. It’s tricky to describe, but “waking up” feels like a close analogy. I felt a new sense of control. I could see with new clarity. That was over a decade ago, and life has been quite an adventure ever since.
These days (on most days, at least), I feel full of energy, alive, and excited to face the day! I’m proud of the work I’m doing. I’m happy to be surrounded by people I love. Mostly, I’m proud to say that I’ve been able to create a life true to myself! I think I will have avoided the number one deathbed regret! (…though I hope I won’t find out for sure for many decades yet…)
So what’s the secret to living a life true to yourself and not the life others expect of you?
I have two answers: One kind of complicated, and one incredibly simple. And I’ll tell you next time. I’d tell you today, but I don’t want to overwhelm you...
In this blog, you’ll get my best exercises, tools, and insights to help you redefine success and create a powerful philosophy of life that works for you. You’ll end up happier, healthier, wealthier, and more successful than you ever thought possible!
Let’s help you create the life you want to live!