In April of 2012, my father died at the relatively young age of 54. His death was a shock. At his funeral I kept replaying the last few conversations we had. The one thing he said in those conversations was that he wished he had done more. He told me he had so many dreams, goals and visions of entrepreneurship that he had never done anything about.
He told me to learn the lesson he never learned: don’t die with regret.
His death was the wake-up call that started me on a journey to do what I wanted for my life and business. I left a miseable job to follow my dream of being a worldwide entrepreneur. I lost over 100 pounds, moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Maui, Hawaii, where I lived for two years. Now I travel to 30-plus countries a year for consulting gigs at companies.
Along the way, I learned seven key lessons about living a life without regret to build a business that creates freedom. Here are seven choices you’ll regret at the end of your life if you don’t do something about them today.
1. Not truly living.
Too often, we let our doubt and fear hold us back from the amazing life we could be living. We have so many things we want to do in life, yet, we never do.
Truly living doesn’t mean you’re skydiving every other day or you quit your job on the spot. It means you don’t hold back. You chase those dreams and work hard on the goals you’ve set. You ignore doubts and create an amazing life. It means that no matter how many times you fall, you get back up and keep pushing forward. You don’t settle until you’ve built your dream business and grow it beyond yourself.
2. Not creating big goals and chasing your dreams.
Most people spend 40 to 60 hours of their week working. When you spend that much time doing something, it will affect your life one way or another. If you’re doing work or a business that makes you miserable, every other part of your life will be affected.
There are opportunities all around us. Entrepreneurs are making their dreams a reality as you’re reading this. It’s not going to be easy and it will take time, but it will be worth it. Sit down, create goals that get you towards your ultimate life and business goals, then get to work making them your reality.
3. Accumulating too much stuff.
When I moved to Hawaii, I was shocked by how much stuff I had. We go through life getting things and saving them, we’re afraid to throw things away that we don’t use. Generally, if you haven’t used something in the last year, you probably don’t need it (there can be exceptions, of course). That stuff creates clutter, which will lead to stress.
At the end of your life, you won’t remember any of that stuff but you will remember erery incredible experiences. The “stuff” isn’t only physical items. It includes mental clutter and bad relationships. Declutter everything that doesn’t fit with the goals and your “why”. You will enjoy freedom and clarity once you do.
Related: Why You Need to Let Go of Attachment
4. Letting envy sidetrack you.
Unfortunately, envy is a part of human nature but there are some entrepreneurs who know how to deal with it. If you can’t control envy, you’ll definitely live a life of regret and get sidetracked on a daily basis. Social media makes it easier to see the success of others and that can mess with you. Be grateful for your life. Be grateful that you are alive. You may not have as much another entrepreneur but you will if you do something about it.
5. Constantly comparing yourself to other people.
As I made big changes in my life, one way I measured my progress was comparing my results to what other entrepreneurs were doing. I learned the hard way that comparing yourself to others only leads to bitterness and heartache. Your journey is your journey and shouldn’t be compared. Make changes at your own pace. When you focus on what someone else is doing, you lose sight of your path and fall off.
6. Letting negative people hold you back.
We’re excited to tell our friends or family about changes we’re making in our lives. Sometimes they’re not as excited as we are. Sometimes they’re even negative. If you want to move forward, you have to stay away from negative people. Negative people aren’t happy with themselves and will poison your progress. Pretty soon you’ll start to believe what they’re saying and quit.
Get rid of the negative. You’ll live a happier life.
7. Starting tomorrow.
We always think we have more time but we’re not guaranteed a tomorrow. Everyday is a gift that we should live as if it were the last. The time to start is today because tomorrow may never come. Start today and tomorrow you’ll be closer to living out your dream. Start today and you won’t die with regret in your heart.
I can tell you from personal experience that chasing your dreams and building a business is hard work. There are many ups and downs. There are many days when you want to quit. The best thing you can do is to take it one day at a time. Instead of focusing on the big changes you want to make, focus on waking up and doing what you have to do that day. As you take it one day at a time, you’ll look up after a while and realize you’re there.
Life is too short to spend even a single moment miserable. Chase those dreams, build your business and create an amazing life. Come to the end of your life with a smile on your face knowing that you have few regrets.