This letter is dedicated to my friend Scott who lost his Mom this week. Her last words? “Too soon.” I can’t shake this feeling and it inspired my letter this week. Here it goes.
You’re in a car on your way to heaven. Your life ends in 30 minutes. What would you regret not doing? What would you regret not saying? Who do you want to talk to?
Don’t tell me. Write it down. It’s a prompt for journaling, but it’s a prompt for a reality check, too. Face it. You won’t get 30 minutes to process and ponder at the end, knowing everything is wrapping up. You won’t get to make a last phone call or pick out your favorite meal – assuming you leave this world without a death sentence and a jumpsuit on, of course.
I wonder if I’d worry about the same things that keep me up at night – the things I said wrong or never said at all, the moments that didn’t quite feel right, the not knowing. I know I would be wondering why I didn’t live this life a little more if I jumped in that car today.
I think about the people I know that carry great regret. The people who never spoke to family members again. The 20-year friendship that longed for a kiss. The love left lingering because no one would understand. I think we all know a story or two like that. What would they think about on the road? I wonder if they would regret lost connections. If their drive would leave them thinking about soulmates.
Surely, I have to believe they wouldn’t be worrying about what everyone else thinks.
That’s the foundation of so much regret – the perceived threat of losing it all based on everyone else’s perceptions. Perceptions created by anticipation and our insistence on controlling what others think about us. All the while following rules made up by people we don’t even know, rules we made up in our minds. Rules that dictate our lives and reward these deep regrets with more of what we never wanted. Things that are good on paper but don’t sit well with our souls.
Until you start saying hell yes to yourself.
As I prepare for the next chapter of my life (big update I will share this month, promise), hell yes is the vibe. For the first time in my 30+ years on this planet, I am rewarding myself with a life that holds no regret. Probably a few wrong turns and a lot of “oh shit, what now?” but no regret.
Just wonder and a lot more hell yes.
Do the prompt. What do you need to say hell yes to? I know it’s not more regrets.
Regret is why I stayed in the closet at work for so long – the fear of finding out. That if they knew who I was, it would make them feel like they knew nothing about me all along. Mostly because of how I thought they would react. My fear played out at least 70% of the time when I was younger, so it wasn’t just projection. It was reality.
Now, it has been a few years since I came out at work. More than I want to admit right now. But the reactions haven’t changed. So, this week, I wrote about how straight people should respond when their co-workers come out.
Short advice: be cool.
You can read the longer version of that advice here.
Until next week,
Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.
Katrina has written for Monster.com, HR.com, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.