Living without regrets is something I have been working towards for many years. The first time I really realised I wanted to live this way was after we lost our second son. When a baby (or any loved one) dies, you realise many things. Of course there is pain and grief at the loss. But it also reminds us of how precious, and short, life is.
Reminders of our mortality certainly change our perspective about life and what we wish to achieve in the time we have.
And yet despite that realisation, it took me some time to really accept and embrace what living without regret truly meant for me.
Living true to yourself
The first step was to live true to myself. For many years I simply did what was expected of me; university studies, great graduate position, get promotions, a suitable boyfriend who became a fiancé and then husband, saving up to buy our first home, having our first child, buying a bigger house, returning to work, growing our family.
This was the expected path, which I followed diligently.
Much of what I had been working towards I deeply desired, but some of it was not true to who I was at my core. Increasingly, my own integrity and ethics started to shift the way I was showing up in the world. My values, whilst always strong, became even more important as a compass to guide me in my interactions with others and the choices I made.
My own integrity and sense of justice was what ultimately lead me to re-train as a life coach. I’d been wanting to be a coach for more than 10 years, but had been caught up in doing what others believed was a more appropriate path for my career. But I finally was courageous enough to voice the fact that my corporate consultancy career was no longer fulfilling me. It had taken some time, but came to a head when I realised the work I was doing meant my integrity felt compromised on a regular basis.
It came to a point where this felt no longer sustainable. I had to make a change.
Stepping towards your true self
It was at this time that my long held dream resurfaced and I started exploring how to re-train as a life coach. This required a lot of courage and resilience as I was stepping away from an identity I had worn for nearly 20 years.
More than just stepping away from the identity, I was actively stepping into the unknown. Stepping into a space where I didn’t know people who were coaches, let alone any who were successfully working as coaches. The decisions also involved returning to study, and being without an income for a period of time. It was a risk and yet, it felt right. My heart was happy as whilst I was stepping away from what I had known, more importantly I was stepping towards my true self. My integrity was intact and my values were aligned.
Follow your heart
Acknowledging my second son means I want to make the most of my life. To honour him and his short life, I want to live each day fully.
And that means not looking back and saying, ‘I wish I had….’ For example, I didn’t want to say I wish I had followed my heart and become a life coach instead of working in a job I was very good at but didn’t fulfil me.
Following our heart to ensure we are aligned to the version of ourselves we want to be is not an easy path. It’s a leap of faith. We can be questioned, judged and made to feel uncomfortable about the choices and decisions we make. Yet other times, we can be surprised by the people who come forth to support us, cheer us on and encourage us in even the smallest of ways to follow our heart.
I don’t suggest everybody needs to throw in their well-paying job to follow their heart.
However, I believe we can all find something that fulfils us and ensure we bring some of that heart-led activity into our life. It could be a hobby, a philanthropic activity, a passion project on the sideas long as it is aligned with your heart and who you are, then it will provide enormous happiness to you.
Living without regrets is a journey. It’s not a destination. It requires occasional check-in’s with myself to ensure I have not veered off the path I know is right for me. Sometimes it is blissfully easy, other times it as it is bone wearily exhausting. But it is always rewarding.
Living true to ourselves in our life
Living true to ourselves in our career can require big changes and may not be right for all.
However, living true to ourselves in our general life can be more achievable. Whether it be how we parent, in our personal relationships, or in the way we move through life with kindness and compassion for others as well as ourselves, living true to ourselves and without regret in our personal life can be deeply rewarding and impactful.
Most of us don’t realise until it’s too late how we want to live our lives.
Therefore, thinking about HOW we want to live our life and contemplating living without regret, can ensure we live a life we are excited by and truly love.
Choose to live life on purpose
Living without regrets is about choosing to live life on purpose. Choosing how I show up every day and making sure through the course of my day, week or month I am having more days than not where I am my best self. What that looks like from day to day can vary, but includes stretching myself, being the parent I wish to be, and ensuring I am the friend, wife, daughter, sister I want to be too. It can also mean doing things for the sheer enjoyment and sense of accomplishment that comes from completing tasks I previously thought were either too hard, or had deemed impossible. Many of these ideas start only as dreams, wishes or items on a bucket list.
Through this approach, I’m choosing how I live each day, and choosing to lead with love, kindness, courage and compassion.
And I’m choosing to make the most of every day.
The key is, I am choosing how I live.
Helping us to live without regrets
To help me live without regret I have created my own bucket list, and frequently take myself out of my comfort zone. Courage builds confidence. When we push ourselves to do new things and experience the challenge but ultimate sense of achievement that comes from that, we learn, develop and grow. And that’s part of living without regrets for me.
In January, I made a commitment that I was going to live this year with no regrets. I decided I would actively pursue more opportunities to stretch myself, push myself out of my comfort zone, and achieve some of my bucket list items. By day 5 of the New Year I had already done these things! But my commitment was to do it on a regular basis. To continue to find things and ways to push myself, challenge myself and grow as a person. To live without regrets each day, and to discover new things that bring me joy.
By choosing how I show up each day, stepping out of my comfort zone, following my heart and living true to myself, I am making sure I live without regrets.
Are you ready to live without regret?
If you have enjoyed this post, and you are interested in following your own heart and living without regrets, you might like to take a look at the No Regrets Tribe Beta Course. It’s a group and course I am developing to support you live without regrets. Learn more by clicking the blue button.