Last year this time, I was discussing our next big trip with my travel crew and one of the ladies suggested yachting for a week. I threw the phone down and walked away (dramatic I know). I am not a “boat person”. I’m more of a “land but no sea” type of gal. I mean I’ll go out on a catamaran or something for the day but to spend daaaaaaays on a boat. No way ma’am!
So the other day I had the opportunity to spend a few days on a sailing boat. It was frightening, cramped, and amazing. I was not ready for the tight quarters, rationed water and taking a shower over the toilet (yep…first world problems I know). But I was also not ready for breathtaking sunrises and the freeing feeling of being on the open sea for hours at a time. We’d cut through the water, sails up, wind at our back and saltwater spraying through our hair. One of the things I was most fascinated by was the boat heeling. This is the amount of leaning or tipping a vessel does under sail. In other words –this is when a ship drops it like it’s hot. The boat feels like its going to tip right over into the ocean and you’re literally on the edge of your seat riding alongside the top while the other half of the boat is almost in the water. It was heart thumping, anxiety producing, exhilarating and a wonder to experience. This idea that the boat could tip nearly on it’s side and continue to glide through the water at what felt like lightening speed fascinated me. I’d talk to our skipper– Calum — about his love of sailing, how he went to university for political science but loves the water and how being at the wheel of a vessel makes him feel…alive. Calum told me that heeling was one of his favorite parts of sailing because it was a necessary but calculated risk to keep the boat from bouncing up and down in the water (yikes….rough ride) and you really needed to have good command and trust your instincts to do it right. Heeling represented his approach to life and his career and he lives life with no regrets. With so much water in front of us and no land in sight, it gave me time to reflect and think about my life and career.
It got me thinking about how to have a life where you had no regrets. What would that look like? Is it possible to do something you love? Is it possible to have the life you love? Take risks? If you’re not careful, you’ll look up in 10, 15 or 20 years and realize life has passed you by.
I came up with a live life with no regrets short list that will keep you focused on living and not surviving EVEN when it seems your life is heeling (you see what I did there?)
- Don’t stay in a job you hate. It’s a simple statement but impossibly hard to execute. Especially if you’re compensated well or feel like you don’t have time to look for something else. But if your stomach drops every Sunday from the thought of going to work Monday…my friend you hate your job and you’ve got to GET OUT!
- Kick that destructive relationship to the curb. It’s making your skin dry, your hair fall out and cutting your lifespan short. This applies to personal relationships annnnnnnd professional relationships. If you’re not growing you should get going!
- Spend more time with your people. Take the time you’re spending with your loved ones and multiply it by 3. Our parents are getting older and our kids are growing up so fast. If you don’t have kids or your parents aren’t your jam, spend more time with the people that matter most to you. Create a tribe of loyal friends and colleagues. They will make you laugh, open doors for you, hold your hand when you cry, push you and elevate your life! And if you’re one of those “I hate people” people…suck it up! You need people so cultivate a tribe of people you like and want to be around.
- Don’t settle for less than you deserve. Let me say it again for the people in the back. You deserve more so stop settling. This applies to everything from asking for a raise (you know you’re not getting paid enough) to taking time off. This means telling your parents, kids, boo or boss no when you know you’re getting the crappy end of the stick. This means believing you deserve it before you go out and ask a donor for a significant gift. This is all of it. The foundation of your personal awesome starts with the belief –not entitlement — that you deserve IT.
- Spend time on things you like and learn new things. With all the GO GO GO of our lives (and I am guilty as charged on this one) we forget to stop and live. Travel. Get back to the sport you loved growing up (there’s a league for everything and age), volunteer, take a class…something! Your happiness meter will increase exponentially if you take time to expand your world. Easier said than done I know but aren’t you worth it?
- Faith it til you make it. Having faith actually gives you the courage to take risks, to step outside of your comfort zone and do something you’ve always wanted to do. Fail fast and try again. It’s actually a-ok. Kick worry to the door. It saps your energy and eats at your good health and ain’t nobody got time for that!
You’re a work in progress. Don’t worry…I am too. We are in this together. How will you live your life with no regrets? Hit reply and tell me…I wanna know!