Why am I not happy?
I was sitting at the airport lounge at the Heathrow airport sipping an ice-cold Red Bull and waiting for my flight to Amsterdam. Something I only dreamed of when I was 19, but the 35-year-old me wasn’t that impressed.
Wasn’t this the life style I wanted?
I got up from my comfy chair and started walking towards the gate, annoyed with myself. I felt ungrateful and slightly guilty for not appreciating the chance I had to explore the world. This is what I had been hustling for since a teenager. I SHOULD be happy.
But you’re not, a little voice whispered.
What would you regret the most if it was your last day?
We high-achievers love to challenge ourselves and go the extra mile. We set up goals and work hard until we achieve them – but are you sure you still have your ladder against the right wall?
I surely didn’t.
Top 5 regrets people have on their death bed are:
- I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard
- I wish I had the courage to express my feelings
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
- I wish I had let myself be happier
It may seem like a grim topic for such a beautiful day, but stay with me ; )
Have a look at the list and write down which one of the five stands out and resonates the most with you.
What would YOU regret the most if it was your last day?
Go on … do it : )
Great! It’s one of the most powerful questions in exponential coaching as it reveals much more about you and your values than you think, especially if you’re feeling demotivated and lost.
Now here’s the twist.
Are you still climbing the right ladder?
Have a look at the phrase that you wrote down: is this what you’d still regret as you’re not doing it or is this something you already live by?
Only few days ago my own answer was number 1: not living a life true to myself. However, after some self-reflection this weekend, I realised that it wasn’t actually true.
That’s the error I made. See, I was looking at my PAST. Not what matters to me right NOW. I’ve changed.
Ever since I heard the song “My Way” when I was 19, I got a burning desire to live an extraordinary life on my terms, not based on other people’s expectations.
“I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way…”
That’s why I picked straight away the first one. The thing is … you can’t really regret something that you’re already doing and what you’re living by. Just like I’ve changed, so have my needs.
This is why what used to make me happy and excited had lost its charm.
What is it that you’d really regret?
My REAL regret is number 5: I wish I had let myself be happier.
Yes, I wanted to live a life on my own terms and that’s exactly what I do. But what I really want now is that life to be filled with joy, silliness and laughter.
I still want to succeed in my career and explore new countries, but I want to do it in a different way. I want to be positive, have fun and banter, make new friends, jump in a pile of snow, play guitar, sing karaoke in a language I don’t know, and share stupid inside jokes that make us laugh until our belly hurts…
Happiness comes from within. It’s a choice.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to choose.
So, have a look at the list again and see if the phrase you chose is still what resonates with you the most? Is it something that you’d still regret as you haven’t done it?
If not, pick a new one or invent it yourself, for example: leaving a legacy.
What can you do today to live a life without regrets?
Now, write down three simple things you can do in the next 24 hours to change your circumstances and live a life without regrets.
Is it signing up finally for that course? Is it putting down your laptop right now – yes, right now – to play with your kid in the garden? Is it sending a message to your childhood or university friend via Facebook or LinkedIn?
Here’s an example of my three steps for today to bring more joy, silliness and laughter in my life:
- Walk on top of the hill in the sunshine with my favourite podcast on
- Sign up for a zumba class
- Whatsapp that friend who always makes me laugh and set up a date for next week
See, it’s easy when you know what you really want.
Come on, write down yours and then go and do it : )
I’m sure you can. I believe in you.
Best of luck x
Ps. If you found this helpful in anyway, please do like this or share your thoughts in comments Would really appreciate it!
[This is part of my challenge to share one personal failure per week to help you see you’re not alone: we all fail. I hope this will help you to get unstuck and succeed in life ]