Top regret of the dying: ex-hospice worker

Image credit: CNBC

People on their deathbeds often share a single, most-common regret: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” This insight comes from Bronnie Ware, author of the 2011 book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.” Ware, an Australian native, spent eight years as a hospice worker, caring for people with serious, often fatal illnesses.

During her time in hospice care, Ware developed close relationships with many of her patients. She noticed that many of them wished they had made more decisions for themselves, rather than trying to please others. “When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled,” Ware wrote in a blog post. “Most people had not honored even half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

Here’s how you can avoid this regret earlier in life, according to Ware.

‘Your life’s work is to find your life’s work’

Living authentically might sound simple, but it’s challenging if you don’t know what you want in life or aren’t comfortable in your own skin, Ware explained on the “Happy Place” podcast. “There’s a lot of pressure on having to find out what you want to do. But a quote from Buddha that I have always loved is: Your life’s work is to find your life’s work,” she said.

Start by writing down your daily activities and rating them on a scale of one to 10, based on importance and satisfaction, advises Rainer Strack, senior partner emeritus at Boston Consulting Group. This exercise helps identify your passions and how you spend your time. You may find that you’re not spending enough time on things you love or that your career is draining you.

Give yourself permission to ‘slow down’

It’s easy to feel anxious if you don’t have your life figured out in your 20s, 30s, or beyond. But discovering your passions is a marathon, not a sprint, Ware emphasized. “For some people, it can take a lifetime to find out what you’re really here to do,” she said. “But I think it’s about giving yourself permission to slow down enough to tune in to yourself, and that takes a lot of courage.”

Many successful people have taken lengthy career paths. Debra Lee, for instance, spent years as a lawyer due to her father’s wishes before transitioning to a career at TV network BET, eventually becoming its CEO. “Permission from yourself is needed just to say, ‘I know I’ve got all these responsibilities, but this is really important to me. And if I can honor myself more, I’m going to show up better for everyone whose space I hold,’” Ware said.

By reflecting on your daily activities and allowing yourself to slow down, you can begin to live a life true to yourself, minimizing the chances of future regret.

Re-reported from the article originally published in CNBC.

Top regret of the dying: ex-hospice worker

Image credit: CNBC

People on their deathbeds often share a single, most-common regret: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” This insight comes from Bronnie Ware, author of the 2011 book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.” Ware, an Australian native, spent eight years as a hospice worker, caring for people with serious, often fatal illnesses.

During her time in hospice care, Ware developed close relationships with many of her patients. She noticed that many of them wished they had made more decisions for themselves, rather than trying to please others. “When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled,” Ware wrote in a blog post. “Most people had not honored even half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

Here’s how you can avoid this regret earlier in life, according to Ware.

‘Your life’s work is to find your life’s work’

Living authentically might sound simple, but it’s challenging if you don’t know what you want in life or aren’t comfortable in your own skin, Ware explained on the “Happy Place” podcast. “There’s a lot of pressure on having to find out what you want to do. But a quote from Buddha that I have always loved is: Your life’s work is to find your life’s work,” she said.

Start by writing down your daily activities and rating them on a scale of one to 10, based on importance and satisfaction, advises Rainer Strack, senior partner emeritus at Boston Consulting Group. This exercise helps identify your passions and how you spend your time. You may find that you’re not spending enough time on things you love or that your career is draining you.

Give yourself permission to ‘slow down’

It’s easy to feel anxious if you don’t have your life figured out in your 20s, 30s, or beyond. But discovering your passions is a marathon, not a sprint, Ware emphasized. “For some people, it can take a lifetime to find out what you’re really here to do,” she said. “But I think it’s about giving yourself permission to slow down enough to tune in to yourself, and that takes a lot of courage.”

Many successful people have taken lengthy career paths. Debra Lee, for instance, spent years as a lawyer due to her father’s wishes before transitioning to a career at TV network BET, eventually becoming its CEO. “Permission from yourself is needed just to say, ‘I know I’ve got all these responsibilities, but this is really important to me. And if I can honor myself more, I’m going to show up better for everyone whose space I hold,’” Ware said.

By reflecting on your daily activities and allowing yourself to slow down, you can begin to live a life true to yourself, minimizing the chances of future regret.

Re-reported from the article originally published in CNBC.