Think of the end

We are right around the corner from the start of the new school year. (I mean, it’ll be the weirdest school year start in decades, but it’s coming in a couple of weeks nonetheless.) September typically brings a sense of new beginnings, and so I wanted to share something about endings as a counter-balance.

Some years ago, a woman named Bronnie Ware published a book on the top regrets of the dying. Bronnie was a palliative care nurse from Australia who spent her entire career caring for and supporting people in their dying days. She heard the same regrets over and over from her patients and decided eventually to write a book about them.

What’s the number one regret people have on their deathbed? Not having the courage to live life true to themselves, and instead doing what everyone else expected of them. Most commonly, people die with unfulfilled dreams and ambitions, and recognize that it is their choices that made the difference. (You can jump to the full list here.)

I mean, I can’t speak for everyone, but those milestone birthdays sure get you thinking, don’t they? At least at 40 or 50, you feel like you still have time to attempt some version of your dream. But on your deathbed, well, time is a bit more limited.

A coaching question I love to ask clients is, “what did you want to be when you were 10 years old?” Because very often, it gets them thinking about the things they loved and were good at before life and jobs and kids and societal expectations got in the way. Everyone changes over time, but sometimes, there are core things about you that are the same as they were when you were 10 years old.

No matter what your age, are you considering an unorthodox career? Or even just something your parents, friends or partner wouldn’t think is appropriate? Are you thinking of a move that seems like a risky pipe dream? Maybe it’s time to give those things a second look. I’m not saying throw away your life savings or re-mortgage your house to start your rock star career. Or that you should stay in a job that is so stressful and disillusioning that you’re giving yourself cardiovascular disease. But there is an awfully big grey area between those two. I mean, remember this guy?

My point is, can you meet those dreams in the middle? Can you do one thing this week that will start to move you in that direction? Because right now, you still have time.

That won’t be true on your deathbed.

Could you use a hand figuring out how to choose a career that aligns with your values? Let’s chat!

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