Twenty years ago my wife, Vicki, and I lost 9 immediate family members in a 6 week period. We each lost a parent along with aunts and uncles. It got to the point we were almost terrified to answer the phone. Vicki’s mom was in Hospice Care for a short time and we went to visit everyday. She was in a wonderful place and they allowed us to bring our dog Amanda in with us. Amanda was a huge hit with all the residents.
She had no training in being a comfort dog but she seemed to have a sense about people who needed her. She would sit forever and let them pet her and just brighten their day a bit.
We continued to visit the residents after Vicki’s mom had passed and the residents looked forward to seeing us. Well, okay, they likely didn’t care if we showed up or not but they certainly looked forward to seeing Amanda.
But they did let us talk with them and that turned out to be an amazing experience. I asked things like what was the greatest invention in their lifetimes. Almost all of the residents, most of whom were in the 70’s and 80’s said there were many. But one “invention” changed almost everything about how they lived their lives. That invention was the telephone. I suspect almost all of us take our phones for granted but imagine life without it. Actually, imagine a day without it.
The conversations were amazing. I also asked about regrets they had and as you might expect the answers varied a lot. But there was a consistent theme with all of the answers. That theme was that they had very few regrets about things they had said or done in their lives. Their regrets centered around the things they wish they had said or done.
With all that my family had been going through those regrets really rang true with me. I had meant, many many times, to tell my mother-in-law just how grateful I was for how she raised the women who had become the center of my universe. I never got around to actually saying the words cause there was always tomorrow. Even in hospice care I stupidly figured there was always tomorrow. I’ll always regret that.
We eventually had to stop going for visits because after walking past the bird aviary day after day Amanda finally noticed it one day. It’s a long story but let’s just say there was more action in a few minutes than most residents had seen in the last year.
But the lessons I learned have stuck with me through the years. The biggest one is to stop worrying about the stupid things you’ve done because you won’t remember them in your 70’s and 80’s. What you will remember are things you thought about doing but for one reason or another you didn’t do.
I say more now and do more now than I would have if I hadn’t met those wonderful people. When I asked for their best piece of advice they said; “don’t get to our age still wondering “what if.” I’ve tried to take that advice to heart.
You’ll never know, none of us can ever know, how things will turn out, unless we try. Unless we actually do the things we’re thinking we should do and unless we actually say the things we know need to be said our lives will be a “what if” life.
Later in our lives “what if” will be the saddest words we’ll ever speak. So do or say “that thing” today and you won’t be among the people speaking them.
On a another subject…I’m trying something new on Twitter. It’s called “Super Followers.” For $5 a month, that’s 17 cents a day, people can follow a part of my Twitter stream that is for subscribers only. It features short videos of me discussing leadership topics, sales tips and ideas for better overall relationships. I’m assuming there will be far fewer Super Followers than the million or so people who regularly follow me on Twitter. That will give me the opportunity to answer questions more throughly than I can on regular Twitter. Most of the answers will come in the evening cause we all have day jobs, right? Think of it as ”mentoring on demand!”
My goal with SuperFollowers is to build a better connection, one where I can perhaps help more and have a greater impact. I’m hoping it gives me a chance to mentor to a wider audience. It’s still new, we’ll see how it works. It’s a $5 dollar investment that may be the extra “push” you need to get to where you want to be. I’d be honored to be able to help get you there.
You can find more information by clicking the Super Follow button on my Twitter profile page IN THE TWITTER APP. http://twitter.com/leadtoday Give it a try if you’re so inclined, and if you are, be sure to let me know how I’m doing and how I can be of even more help.