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, balance, enjoyment, and health— 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 the final weeks before my dad passed away, I spent many hours with him in the hospital. Dad being quite social, preferred to leave his door to his room open so noticing the activity in the hallway was a regular event.
One thing that I noticed that became a common occurrence, was that every few days there were two men in dark business suits who came to visit a man across the hallway. I couldn’t help but be curious who these men were. They were dressed in business suits —were they his business partners? Did he not have family or any other friends? How come no one else came to visit him?
Dad’s situation was quite the contrary. He was surrounded by his family and friends as he was embraced with love and care. Coming from a large family, the room was often loud with laughter as we shared life stories about our lives.
One late evening the unexpected happened as I was alone with Dad. He 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. There were no visitors coming to visit this man and his room was now empty. The man across the hallway had passed away and his “earth suit” (as I heard a young child once call it), had expired. Sadly it wasn’t long before Dad passed away too.
Loosing someone you love has an impact!
This experience of loosing someone I loved and the experiences that led up to it changed my life. If you have lost a loved one, you might know this to be true— things change, you change and you look at the world in a different way.
There is a gift in every situation if you look for it. For me, it was the realization that life IS precious and it IS fragile. It is something to not take for granted. It also made me think about my life’s purpose and what my life is all about.
Do I live a life without regret? What is the deeper meaning of life? As I imagine the end of my life, what is the legacy I want to leave behind?
In life there aren’t many things that we can be certain of. Yet one thing I must be certain of is that I lived a life well-lived— that my loved ones know how much they meant to me.
Strong, loving and amazing relationships is the greatest gift in life!
What is the legacy you want to leave behind?
Purpose to live a life without regret. As we live our lives with meaning and purpose and live with intention (defined as “a deliberate act to succeed), we will experience an extraordinary life!