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How to Live Without Regrets


Have you ever felt disappointed about an opportunity that was lost, or a decision that you made, and wished you had taken a different path?


When I was in studying for my MBA, I did my thesis on Shiseido, the Japanese makeup company. I was fascinated with the culture and worked closely with the top executives who were introducing the line to North America. When I graduated, they offered me a job in sales or marketing, which I did not take, and for years, maybe decades, I wondered what my life would have been like, had I accepted.


Regrets – they can re-emerge at unexpected times, but the good news is there are ways to come to peace and release them forever. What is your top regret? Does it involve relationships, a career path, not listening to yourself?


Bronnie Ware is a nurse who worked with people at the end of their lives, and she asked them "What are your top 5 regrets?" They answered:


Do any of these resonate with you? Today, we’ll talk about 5 ways to live without regrets, and how to release and reframe the steppingstones of your life. 


1.Recognize that we are in the School of Life. There are lessons all the time. We have a choice when these come up. Do we beat ourselves up for “making a mistake,”  or position it that there are no mistakes, only learning.

Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.   —Arianna Huffington

 Consider asking yourself 3 questions:

  1. What did I learn from this: about myself, about others, about life?
  2. Was I aligned with my values, and how could I do more of that?
  3. How will it make me stronger going forward?


2. Express feelings including forgiveness for yourself and others

Keeping emotions inside and beating yourself up mentally is like carrying a suitcase full of rocks when you want to sprint forward. It prevents you from being emotionally free and nimble. It’s harder to take advantage of opportunities when you have one foot in the past.


Express how you feel and cut yourself some slack – we are all human. Self-compassion will actually speed your progress. And while you’re at it, forgive others too. Not because you are minimizing what may have happened, but because it often was not in your control. Your emotional peace is at stake, and it’s time to put that first.


3.Stay curious + explore what makes you come alive

There is so much inside of you that is yet untapped. If you’re in a job or a rhythm that you don’t find meaningful, get to know what you find intriguing. What would be fun to try? In a journal, write down your bucket list, and see what speaks to you the most.


What makes you feel alive? How can you move in that direction? Awareness is always the first step.


4. Put passion into action

 If you always wanted to paint, take some courses. If you want to meet like-minded people, volunteer. If you secretly want to open a bakery, get a job in one on the weekends - just to try it out. Whether it’s in the realm of career, creativity, or consciousness, something in you wants to step out. Use fear as fuel and go forward.


And the day came when the risk to remain tight in abud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ” ~ Anaïs Nin


 5. Prioritize relationships, appreciate the journey, and trust and stay open.

  • Nourish meaningful relationships. At the end of the day, it’s those experiences that we remember most.
  • Cultivate gratitude both for small moments in day-to-day living, but also for the steppingstones that brought you here.
  • Reframe disappointments into learnings and have a mental highlight reel (some call it Life Review) of how you have grown into your true self.
  • Savor the moments that made you smile, and how lucky you are to be aware of them. Finally, trust and stay open.

Not only is life happening FOR you, but you get to decide how to hold it.


For myself, I no longer have regrets about not taking that job. I believe I would have ended up wanting the life I have now, and I’m so grateful for the people in it, including you.




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