It’s common to live with some sort of regrets, but for some, it has a profoundly negative effect on daily life and is taking a toll on your present and future.
Ask yourself, if you were to die tomorrow, what dreams and ideas would die with you? How would you feel if today was your last day on earth?
You can break free from regrets by structuring your life in a way that is fulfilling for you and your purpose.
The Regrets of the Dying
A few years ago, I heard something that really got to me and helped me to look at things differently.
Brendon Burchard talked about imagining being on your deathbed, surrounded by the ghosts of all the ideas, dreams, and gifts that you never acted on, and now they are to die with you.
I couldn’t help but to think of the things I hadn’t yet done, the dreams not yet fulfilled and gifts that I had that were just waiting for me to use.
In their final days, so many people say their biggest regret is living their lives based on the expectations of others. They wish they ran their own race instead of everyone else’s.
The regrets aren’t usually about what they did during their lives… it’s about what they didn’t do. It’s the opportunities they passed up, the things they missed out on because they were too scared to step out of their comfort zone and too afraid to do things differently than was expected of them.
They allowed fear to stop them and didn’t realize until then that it isn’t about being “fearless”; it’s learning to master the fear, and even turn it into excitement.
What is Approval Addiction?
I too had those fears and was living my life seeking approval.
“Hi, I’m Natasha Hazlett and I’m a recovering approval addict!”
Even when introduced to the whole concept of personal growth, I brushed it off completely! I was trying way too hard to do and to be what everyone else wanted to me, and not looking within to see what I wanted to do and be.
This happens with people in our Unstoppable Influence community as well, and I remind them to be sure to run their own race. We often say, “Stay in your own damn lane!”
It’s your lane. Your race. Your life.
If you spend it all trying to make someone else happy, proud, or just live up to their “expectations” of you, you won’t be living the life you are meant to live.
When we ask others what Life by Design means to them, many bring up freedom. It’s not necessarily time freedom or financial freedom, it’s freedom from requiring everyone else’s approval.
In releasing the approval addiction, that’s when you can experience true freedom.
As Rich likes to point out, it’s not just about approval from certain people, it can be society as a whole. Things don’t have to be done the way society “thinks.” There’s no one right way to live your life. We often get too hung up on what we “should” be doing or “should” have done.
Even though Rich was following the norm for a while, he was studying and exploring all the things that he “could” do.
His open-minded approach and willingness to explore life in an unconventional way and to lead by example are why we are where we are now. We discovered a new way of operating in our business and after shedding my own approval addiction, I learned to be more open-minded as well. Now, the things I love doing are my job!
What if YOU are an Approval Addict
So how do you recover from approval addiction and move towards not having regrets?
When you realize that you are not where YOU want to be just yet, don’t hit the eject button.
Instead, start taking steps. Make small changes in your life. Expose yourself to new ideas and concepts.
Once you lay the foundational groundwork, you’ll be in a better position when opportunities arise. Even if it takes a while, you can use that time to your advantage and prepare.
Get intentional about what it is that YOU want and more forward from there.
It’s all for a reason
Don’t “should” or “shouldn’t” yourself. It doesn’t serve you.
Things happen for a reason so look for the lessons or look for the blessing. Never allow yourself to ask “why” this or that happened. It’s a negative trap that you can avoid.
You can change your current state or how you’ll operate in the future, but you cannot change the past, so why ask why?
Sometimes people wonder if life would be better if certain experiences or opportunities presented themselves sooner.
We believe no, it wouldn’t.
Every experience adds to your story and unique perspective. It is what makes you who you are and contributes to how you fulfill your role in the world.
Subtle shifts as your story builds can make a profound difference. You don’t need to run yourself ragged, just tap into your potential bit by bit so you can do what you are meant for and serve others in a big way.
Then, in your last days, you’ll look back with fulfillment and a smile.
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