I once read a quote (author unknown) that I often think about:
“As you climb the ladder of success, be sure it’s leaning against the right building.”
I love the metaphor of climbing the ladder because it speaks to me about the commitment and effort it takes to be successful. To get to where you want to go, hard work and sacrifices are required!
Yet the reality is that when life becomes all about doing and achieving, and you loose sight of the most important things— family, friends, significant other, personal growth, enjoyment, health— your values, is it worth it? At the end of your life, is this something you might regret?
Let me tell you a story that impacted my life…
Several years ago when my dad was in hospice, there was a particular incident that I remember that I will never forget. Life experiences impact and teach us many lessons in life.
My Dad was diagnosed with cancer, and when it came to the final chapter of his life, I spent many hours with him at the hospice. He had amazing care and Dad being quite social, preferred to leave his door in his room open. Noticing activity in the hallway was a regular occurrence that often helped pass time.
There was a common occurrence that happened every few days, where there were two men in business suits who came to visit a man across the hallway. I couldn’t help but be curious who these men were. Dressed in such fine attire —who were they in relationship to him? It made me wonder if he did not have family or any other friends.
My Dad’s situation was quite different. Surrounded by family and friends on a regular basis, he was supported with such love and care. His room was often loud with laughter as people visited and shared stories about the events of his life.
It was one late evening when I was alone with Dad, that a sad thing happened. Dad had fallen asleep and as I went to close the door, I saw the undertaker walking down the hallway carrying a large black bag across his shoulder. The “man” had passed away. There were no more visitors coming and the room was now empty.
It wasn’t long after that my Dad passed away too.
Loss of a loved one has an impact!
This was my first experience of loosing someone that I loved and it was not easy. It was a very difficult journey!
Yet this experience impacted me in a powerful way as time gently healed the pain. Experiences like this are life changing. I realized how when you loose someone—things change, you change, and as a result you look at the world in a whole new way.
It is now that I often ponder–
- Do I live a life without regret?
- Am I climbing the ladder that represents my values of success?
These questions open a world of discovery and help me reflect on what is most important and think about the legacy I want to leave behind.
It doesn’t have to take a difficult experience to reflect on living a life without regret. Are you living the life that you most want and are you living your life without regret?
A life well lived is a life that is examined. Pondering questions that inspire us to live our biggest life is something we will not regret!