Is it Too Late To Change Your Life?

Well, you’ve had some time to think about your lifeline now. Have you made any discoveries, surprised yourself with any patterns or recollections you weren’t expecting? Fantastic!

If you didn’t read my last blog, I encourage you to go back to it by clicking here. We’re embarking on a journey to a new, rich life full of abundance and prosperity. Right now, we’re checking our gear and supplies so we know exactly what we have to get us through the trip. Join us!

Ready to do some work?The first thing I’d like you to do is make note of your most important “prouds” and “sorries.” As you wrote your lifeline, what memory hit you with a wave of sick regret? (I bet that’s the easy question; we tend to be pretty hard on ourselves). And what memory gave you a thrill, as if you your heart leapt: “Hey! I did well there!”

If you’re having some trouble with this exercise, you might be struggling with opening yourself, making yourself vulnerable to reality in the harsh light of day. Maybe you think your life is such a mess that you can’t think of anything you’ve done right. Maybe you’ve lived so carefully that you have no major regrets at all. Seeing some examples from other people might help you access your own (these are compilations of many stories, of course, to protect privacy):

• Carmon, now in her thirties, has spent half of her life using street drugs. Her failed drug tests cost her the custody of her children and a terrific job opportunity. You can probably guess what she wrote for her “sorries.” But what could she, you might be wondering, possibly be proud of? She came up with several things, actually. “I never, never missed a visit with my kids, and I never left without telling them that I loved them. They knew I was a mess, but they knew it wasn’t their fault, and that I would never stop loving them.” “I went into rehab four times – I never quit trying to quit. And the last time, three years ago, I finally got clean, and I have been since then.” “I’m so crazy-busy now trying to work and go to school, but at least once a month I volunteer at the youth center. I just want to keep kids away from the mistakes I made.”

• Jeff, at forty-two, is a successful mid-level manager at a medical equipment company. He’s managed his money well, so his family is comfortable even while his two kids are in college, and he’s a good citizen, neighbor, husband and father. To many, he would appear to be living the life of abundance and prosperity that most people crave. Does he have regrets? “When I was seventeen years old, my dad told me that I needed to stop drawing and start preparing for the real world. Up until then, I spent at least an hour every afternoon drawing these really detailed pictures of dragons and castles and knights. I know I needed to get ready to be an adult – pay the bills and all that – but ever since I put my pens away I’ve felt like there was a part of myself that had been shut down.”

• “I never really did anything to be proud of,” says Anne, now in her sixties. “I didn’t finish college and I never did anything special. My husband died six years after we got married, so I had to work all the time just to keep a roof over my kids’ heads. I never had time to think about doing anything heroic or anything.” Just worked all the time after my husband died so I could keep a roof over my kids’ heads.” It took the people in the group around her to show her what I’m sure you’ve already realized: She did something to be very proud of, indeed. No doubt her three children, now grown, college-educated and successful in their respective fields, would be the first to agree.

In this exercise, I put the “prouds” and “sorries” together because they are equally important in molding you into who you are. Both your regrets and your triumphs combine to mold you into who you are. The day you did . . . whatever it was that made you proud . . . you became a different person. If you could go back and undo that moment when you . . . whatever . . . you wouldn’t be the complex, capable person you are today. Wisdom is never bought cheaply, but since you paid for it with the choices you regret, you might as well pull it out and use it.

Roger K. Allen, Ph.D. is an expert in personal growth, family life, leadership and organizational development. His programs and tools have helped hundreds of thousands of people live richer, more fulfilling lives. Learn more at https://www.rogerkallen.com//.


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