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Incredible vision comes from knowing the days you have left on this earth are coming to a cusp.

You look back at what you’ve accomplished with your life.  What you would have done differently. What you would make a priority.

And even though, when you were young and felt like there was plenty of time for change, to be happier, to make more money…the finer things in life passed us by.

We justified it to ourselves by saying, “I’ll have more time when I get that promotion, find a new job, when the new year starts.”

But if this was true, the dying wouldn’t still be sharing the same regrets we’ve seen and heard for decades.

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who covered the palliative care ward for several years.  There she nurtured the sick for the last 12 weeks of their lives.

Over the days she saw these patients through their final moments, she recorded their regrets.  Hoping that one day, she could share them with the world and help us avoid the same remorse her patients had felt.

I first came across Bonnie’s research in a talk by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, called “Of Regrets and Resolutions.”  But what struck me, and why I’m sharing it here on Careertopia is that each of these regrets are things Careertopia is helping people avoid.

In the end, what kind of Careertopia is a place where you end your time looking back at life full of regret?

If you could avoid the same pitfalls of regret these dying patients expressed, would you feel better about your career and home life?

As I go over these thoughts, think about what we’re trying to share with you in regards to your career.  I think you’ll see the connection right away.

So what were these regrets?

1. I Wish I’d had the Courage to Live a Life True to Myself, Not the Life Others Expected of Me

This was the most common regret Bronnie observed. In life, we make great sacrifices to fit in.  It’s ingrained in us the first day we step inside a classroom.  We do things we would never do if we were alone…in order to feel accepted by others.

We grow up so fast that we often pass up the opportunities to truly discover ourselves.  Expectations become the driver of our behavior.

And it’s easy to see how this regret creeps into our career lives.

How many people do you know who become doctors, lawyers, dentists, because that’s what their family did?  Sometimes it works out great.  But it’s dangerous to live your life by other people’s standards.

Hence why the first fundamental we put in our formula for Careertopia is “Understanding Yourself”.

2. I Wish I Hadn’t Worked So Hard

Bronnie comments, “This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

When I picture Careertopia I don’t see a life that’s governed by your job.  I picture balance and harmony.  A job that fits with the way you prefer to live your life.

That doesn’t mean never lifting a finger. It’s the kind of career you can look back on and be proud of what you accomplished and the quality of life it provided for you and your family.

It’s interesting to hear the comment about the older generation of men sharing this regret. Today, women are outperforming men in education.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), boys are 30 percent more likely than girls to drop out of both high school and college. … It is predicted that women will earn 60 percent of bachelor’s, 63 percent of master’s and 54 percent of doctorate degrees by 2016.

The point is, this regret of working so hard is probably not going to be one solely for the men much longer.  Women careerists should take care to monitor this as well.

3. I Wish I had Stayed in Touch With My Friends

The one thing Bronnie noticed about all her dying patients was that everyone misses their friends when they are dying.  It was sad for her to hear dying wishes by those passing that more than anything, wished they could see their old pals one last time.

You’ll often hear us quote Krulwhich’s commencement speech and in particular what he has to say about the necessity of relationships in having a happy and successful career.

“You don’t become yourself by yourself. You become you, boosted on others’ shoulders, buoyed by others’ smiles. You may be a singular person, but your success will always be plural.”

Again, this is why we have “building effective relationships” as the third part of our Careertopia formula.

4. I Wish I had Let Myself be Happier

Bronnie shares, “This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

You will see happiness as a theme here on Careertopia.  We were blown away by the support and sharing you all did when we published our infographic last week…helping us reach over 1000 shares on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

We are advocates of the benefits positivity, gratitude, and happiness provide.

Whether you’ll have an abundance of happiness or a drought, will once again come down to understanding your personality and behavior styles as well as the support systems you will find in friends, family, and peers.

It’s one of the reasons we’re working on adding a place for our community to interact inside of the eCourse we created.

We Didn’t Plan This

When I worked with the team on what our vision and goal of Careertopia would be, I didn’t have people’s dying regrets on my mind.

But it’s fascinating to see how similar their regrets and our goals have become.

If you’re already feeling the same pangs of remorse these patients expressed, that’s good!

It means you’re aware of the need for change…and you’re not going to let the “ease of contentment” or “fear of change” stop you from living a happier, balanced, and courageous life full of friends and family.

If you know anyone who’s in the same boat, pass this article along.  Subscribe to the blog.  Enjoy the journey.

Photo Credit: Emmanuel Smague via Compfight cc

About BryceChristiansen

Bryce Christiansen is a marketer and writer. He's mostly known for starting, a site dedicated to helping others find the intersection between happiness and work.

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