August 13, A Personal Story:
Exactly 9 years ago today (August 13, 2012) was the worst day of my life. On the evening of the 13th, my Dad was out on a run at Strawtown Koteewi Park in Noblesville, Indiana. He had a massive heart attack and moved quickly from this life to the next. He was 51 years young and we were devastated.
There are many significant lessons I learned from my Dad, and I’d like to share one that he gave to me when I was about ten years old:
“One day, you are going to grow up, get married, and have kids. Your kids are going to ask you to play with them. Your beautiful wife will ask for your time and attention. Your kids will ask you to watch them do a cartwheel, or watch them make a game winning three-pointer in the basement, or do a flip off of the diving board. Every time someone you love asks for your attention – you give it to them. You will always have excuses. There is always laundry to be done, dishes that need putting away, a yard to be mowed, or bills to be paid. Those things are far less important than your time with your family and loved ones. Stop whatever you are doing and give people your time and attention, you’ll never regret it.”
After my Dad passed, I invested quite a bit of time researching how people feel and what people say as they are approaching the end of their lives. The most interesting data I found was around regrets. Here is a summary of the findings: If you ask those that are on the verge of death what they regret or would have done differently, they generally say that they hold onto more regrets of inaction rather than of action. In other words they say things like: I regret not starting my business, I regret not spending more time with my loved ones, I regret not traveling more with my spouse, I regret not being healthy enough to walk my daughters down the aisle…
I don’t want you to have those regrets, so here is a proactive process to help you minimize your potential future regrets:
- Define my potential future regrets. What are the worst scenarios I can imagine? List a few.
- What can I do consistently to prevent or decrease the likelihood of these things happening?
- What will I do today to help prevent the problem from happening?
- What will it cost me if I do nothing? If I avoid this action (and others like it), what might my life look like in one year, five years (emotionally, financially, physically, relationally, etc.)?
Reflection Question (from Jim Rohn): “In life, we must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Are you choosing the right pain?”
Have a great weekend! I am thankful for you.