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S2 EP1: 5 Keys for Living a Life of Least Regret and Most Joy

In this episode, we explore the powerful and often overlooked emotion of regret. We all have moments where we wish we had done something differently, and today we’ll be exploring the importance of addressing these regrets before it’s too late. Our guest, Fiona, is a 35-year nursing veteran and personal growth coach of 16 years, who brings a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to this particular topic. Tune in as we discuss the impact of unresolved regret on our mental and physical health, and gain some insightful tips on how to avoid it.

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Transcript

Victoria: welcome to Season Two of Hello CoachCast. Today we’ll be discussing something that hits close to home for many of us, which is regret. We all have moments where we wish we had done something differently. Maybe you didn’t pursue an opportunity when you had the chance, or perhaps you feel like you didn’t spend enough time with someone who has now passed away. Today, we’ll be exploring the importance of addressing these regrets before it’s too late. And how doing so can have a huge positive impact on your mental and physical health. Our guest today will be sharing some insightful tips on how to avoid these negative impacts of unresolved regret, taking inspired action, and ultimately improving your overall wellbeing.

So, let’s jump right in. Today I have with me coach Fiona, who is a 35-year nursing veteran and a personal growth coach of 16 years. So, I’m very looking much forward to having our conversation today because I know Fiona brings a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to this particular topic around regret. So welcome, Fiona.

Fiona: Oh, thank you, Victoria. I’m looking forward to the conversation.

Victoria: So am I. Regret. Death. So many different loaded emotions, guilt, they’re not spoken about. I don’t believe they’re dealt with, and I don’t think we often have the tools or the capabilities to sometimes navigate these very large emotions. And regret is certainly one of them.

I’d love to hear your background and your experience with regret and how it can impact people, and also some of the signs and symptoms that are showing up in our lives that may be pointing to… we need to deal with something and we need to address this.

Fiona: Sure. So, as you mentioned, my background is in nursing, so I spent 35 years as a nurse which taught me a lot. You know, as a nurse, we think we are bringing a lot to the patients, but the patients also bring a lot to us and they teach us so much. So, I had many experiences with people who were at the end of their life.

Some people, you know, died of unfortunate circumstances. Some people knew they were dying, other people took their own life. So, I was able to glean from a lot of experiences. Um, you know, what people were feeling towards the end and how that played a part on, especially the last few months in their life, uh, particularly in the area of relationships. My own personal experience of regret isn’t that, um, groundbreaking? I don’t actually have many regrets at all, partly because I’ve been super reflective all of my life. So, I learn from others’ experiences and I apply that knowledge myself, and I always practice what I preach. So I’m very much someone who tests the waters, tries different things, sees if it works or if it doesn’t, and then share it with others in the work that I do as a coach and, and a bunch of other random things I do on the side to support people to live their best life.

Victoria: I love that concept and also a philosophy that I have also lived my personal life with, which is obviously, yes, we hear the saying ‘Don’t live in regret’, but I think that there’s a formula, so we don’t fall into that trap of having a lot of regret. Doesn’t matter whether it’s the end of our life or midway through our life.

For me, as a coach over the last two decades, it’s, and you, you hit the nail on the head before when you said that you also have lived your life in a very reflective mode. And I do believe that there is a skill, and an honesty, and an authenticity that comes with the ability to be able to use reflection to get to a landing pad.

That I do believe in a lot of situations. Where there has been regret to be able to turn it into a source of learning and probably go so far as to say there’s another saying, being able to find a silver lining. Now I know in some cases, there is no silver lining, but I also know that there is deep learning that can come from that reflection, Fiona, and it’s probably a wonderful segue, how can we encourage people to adopt and be open to having more of a reflective and a pause moment in their world to avoid sitting and living in a space of regret because we know like anger, guilt, it’s a, to, you know what I call, it’s a toxic emotion. I don’t think it, it serves a purpose long term if we are unable to move beyond it.

So I’d love to hear your insights and some tips and solutions that can help listeners start to understand, am I in a pool of emotion right now? Is this something that I can use as a reflective opportunity?

Fiona: Oh my goodness, Victoria, there is so much to unpack there

Victoria: I know there were lots of questions in that question.

Fiona: Loads. So firstly, I think perspective is really important and I encourage people to go from, you know when they’re in the detail of making a decision. Also go to the big picture of what’s, the greater implication if I make this decision or that decision. So, understanding the ecology, so how your decision fits in with your own life and how it’s going to impact on those around you.

And also taking it out into the future. I might make this decision now and it might feel right now, but will I regret it in one year, five years, or at the end of my life? So, and that’s where, you know, the tools of reflection and perspective-taking come in there. I’ll give you an example. One of my best friends last year died was stomach cancer.

And the closer we have experiences of regret, even if they’re not our own. It cannot not impact on us. And yes, we can feel a whole lot of emotions. And you touched on things like, you know, anger and guilt and shame. There is no bad emotion, it’s whether you let them move through you or not, or whether you hang on to them.

So anytime you feel anything, look at it for what it is, understand it, and then move through it in a purposeful way. So my friend only lived for about 15 months after she was diagnosed. We had some beautiful conversations about this very topic and about regret. Her biggest regret that she shared with me was, I wish I hadn’t kept putting things off. And at 46, she had a whole lot more to do, but never had the chance. So, she was actually my inspiration for writing my book, which will be released in August, which is all about trying to live a life of least regret and most joy. And it all comes back down to every single moment. When you make a decision, you can either go, you know, left or right, or up or down, but whatever decision you make, it will take you in a tangent either way.

So being really clear about in that moment when you make the decision where it’s taking you, but also when you’re there, are you making the decision with the right mindset, from the right sort of state of emotions, because we know making a decision when you are angry or cranky or really sad can lead to outcomes that you, you won’t necessarily like.

So, it’s important that we make decisions, and give ourselves time to make the decision to, to enable us to end up where we wanna go. So, if I can share with you the five guideposts that I’ve developed that I’ll be talking about in my book. So the first one I talk about accepting because, you know, we can’t move on if we’re not accepting something.

So we need to accept that the past is in the past and where you are right now is exactly where you are meant to be because it’s exactly where you’re at. I mean, there’s no disputing that at all. So, uh, it’s really important to accept. So just some tools for being able to do that is, for example, writing a letter to your past self.

And forgiving yourself for the decisions that you did make if you think that they weren’t the best decision at the time, we might need to write a letter to others and we don’t need to necessarily post these letters, but just to get it out of ourself and unpack the, unpack that from the mind, the monkey mind, that sort of allowing all those regrets to swim around in our head and take up space where they don’t need to. There’s also, I don’t know if you’ve heard a beau of a beautiful Hawaiian practice called ho’oponopono. It’s a beautiful way of helping people, uh, practice forgiveness and reconciliation. And it’s simply saying these four mantras, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. And I love you.” And you can say it in your mind to yourself, you can say it to others, but it’s a beautiful practice and a lot of people use that in meditation to help them accept what has been. So that’s the first key. Will I keep going and share the others?

Victoria: I would love you to, I love, I love going through tips and particularly when you know you, we have shared too. I’d love to hear the other three.

Fiona: Sure. So, um, the other thing that I like to get people to do is to aim, so, um, If you know where you are headed, you’re less likely to regret the outcome because you’ve chosen it rather than, you know, it’s the old, ‘living by design, not by default’. So if you can imagine when you get in your car and program your GPS, it never asks where you’ve been and it never shows you what you don’t need to know.

So, if you aim for whatever it is you want and trust the process, you will get there. But you, you know, it’s important to have that. That goal to work towards. And you know, as a coach, we’re encouraging people to set goals so that they do live on purpose and intentionally to get to where they want to be. Uh, but of course we have free will!

So, as we are journeying along, if we’re, if we find we’ve changed our mind about the destination or we’re not enjoying the journey, we can change our mind, but we need to make sure we do it intentionally. So yes, I like to get people to aim for where they’re headed.

Okay, so my third key is all about advancing because if you live your life authentically in, in a way that is of value, you’re much less likely to regret it. And, you know, regrets teach us how to live a good life, essentially, if we pay attention to them. So, in being authentic, it’s all about making sure that you change your narrative from one of perfection to progress.

So, allowing yourself to stumble along the way, make mistakes, fall over, but learn from them and get back up and always be prepared to grow. And the other thing I like to. Um, be very aware of as the impact of our relationships between ourselves and others. So, you know, I always think to myself, is what I’m saying or doing truthful, helpful, important, necessary, and kind.

So in advancing, I encourage people to make sure that they’re thinking about the character traits they need to develop and the mindset they need to have. And even, when it comes down to our physiology and our body, are we bringing it all together, all parts of ourself to be able to live a life that we really want?

Uh, and you know, I encourage selfishness because if we don’t fill our own cup, if we don’t look after ourselves, we’re not really good to anyone else, firstly our own self. But, yeah, it’s important to be kind and look after yourself and be very, really determined about, this is my life, what do I wanna get out of it?

You know, essentially we’re the only person that travels with us from birth to death. There are not many people that journey that whole way with us. So we have to have our back and look after ourselves. So, the next step or the next key that I talk about is, um, alignment or to align. I have, I’m a very visual person, so when I think about concepts, I see images in my mind.

When I think about living life in alignment, if you can imagine an Olympic running track and you have everyone with their own lane, and your job on the track is to get from the beginning to the end in the best way for you. And it’s not, life is not a race with other people. And there are other people on the lanes beside us.

Some of them will pass us, some of them will struggle behind, some of them will trip over. But if we hop out of our lane and jump into someone else’s because we think we can show them the best way or do it better than them, or we feel it’s our job to carry them, then we’re, creating co-dependency. And we’re really not living our best life.

So I’m all for supporting people and calling out, you know, go you. Good thing you’ve got this, I have your back. Here’s some tools. Let me help you run your race, but I can’t run it for you. We’ve all got our own shoes to wear. So it’s important that we stay in alignment and practice something that I call compassionate detachment.

So be there for people, but also be you along the way. And yeah, so, so do I. Uh, I often, when I’ve coached kids or worked with children in the past, I, I talk to them about that and kids love metaphors and visuals, so they really get that and they think, right, I’ve gotta run my best race. And, you know, and we all have a child inside us, so we all need to do that.

Uh, and the last care I talk about is to appreciate. Because we’re given this life and we need to value it, you know, for every moment that we are given. And we need to make sure that we make the most of all the time we have, particularly our discretionary time, which we often waste. We waste scrolling through social media.

We waste watching mind numbing television. You know, we waste so much time not doing what we want to do or what we need to do, but just checking out. And numbing ourselves from the stresses of the day or the challenges that we are going through. It’s like we just wanna switch off. But if you really wanna switch off, the best thing to do is go and have a sleep or a nap.

That’s way better for you than watching hours of Netflix.

Victoria: They’re all a wonderful summary. So, I’ve heard along the way that the importance of being able to. In relation to your regret, being able to have deep acceptance for the situation, and take control. And I think Fiona, one of the other important things that you have touched on is absolutely being authentic to your own journey.

I, you know, in another way, calling it the hero’s journey, being able to consciously choose your decisions and. Not to allow life to happen to you, but rather be a participant and a driving force in the direction of where you want to take your life, because that’s a much more powerful seat to sit in. And that moves us away from regret and it moves us towards empowerment.

Um, and I’m loving that, that the five tips that you’ve taken us through, or five points of awareness around acceptance, being able to aim for where you want to go. Advancing your life in the direction that you want to take it to, and aligning with your purpose and the goals and the intentions that you wanna create for your life.

And then obviously, having that deep appreciation and gratitude because, absolutely. I mean, one of the other things that you’ve, you’ve said is we, it’s interesting if someone did this exercise to actually log down their activities in the day of where they’re actually focusing and utilising time and how much of that discretionary time is actually unconscious to then be able to move towards conscious choices on where we focus our energy and efforts, not just with time, because we’re not talking about time, but the relationship space that we are holding for ourselves and therefore the space then that impacts others that also are in our lives and.

I’m, I always end this as a, as a personal, um, insight in my own day of having that deep gratitude every morning and every night. It just puts more of a, a velvet touch on the day and it just creates a space of far greater joy, Fiona, and I think it’s like anything, it’s being able to practice and develop the muscle of joy, rather than the muscle of other emotions, such as regret, anger, fear, because they often become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So, a big part of this is being, and I’ve used this saying over the years, being awake at the wheel.

Fiona: Yes.

Victoria: Don’t be a passenger. Don’t be asleep in the boot. Get out of the boot. Get out of the backseat, and actually put your hands on the steering wheel, which is obviously a metaphor for your life, and you have conscious choice as to where you would like to take your life, and also you have choice in a lot of situations to the circumstances and how you deal with those circumstances.

And you said something very early on in our conversation, is that regret is actually something that we choose. And I absolutely believe that. I think we can choose to sit in an emotion and we can choose to let it envelop us, rather than being able to unpack it and help ourselves become more accountable and move us towards what we actually want, rather than sitting in a state.

And I’ve said this a lot over my years as a coach, how easily we can fall into a victim mindset rather than choosing to be sitting in more of a victorious mindset. And when we choose to sit in a victorious mindset, then it requires action, and it requires consciousness, and it requires honesty. And it’s all the ingredients that you’ve taken us through today around aiming and acceptance and aligning and appreciation.

I’ve loved our conversation.

Fiona: Thank you, Victoria. People don’t realize how capable they are and how much, I don’t wanna use the word control, but how, how they, they are at the wheel of their life. And it’s important to make sure that they’re headed towards where they want and focus on that, as you were saying, rather than focusing on what they don’t want because of whatever you think about, you get more of that.

Victoria: Absolutely. We need to call you the joy Coach at Hello Coach.

Fiona: Oh, thank you.

Victoria: That should be your tagline. Well, thank you very much for joining me on this conversation today, Fiona. I’ve loved, I’ve really loved it and it’s, it’s refreshing to be able to tackle some of these bigger emotions that I know can have a deep impact on people’s lives.

Fiona: And, you know, I encourage everyone to be brave because that’s where, that’s where life happens outside of our comfort zone. It doesn’t happen when we’re, you know, caught up in our beds, not living our life. And it’s okay to experience all those crappy emotions and go through those sad times. Everything teaches us a lesson, and everything does have a silver lining, even if it’s, I learned something more about me – and that’s really important.

Victoria: Thank you. Do you have any final tips or insights, or suggestions as we wrap up our conversation here?

Fiona: Yes, talk. Talk about what you really want in life and think about what you really want, and each day go to bed reflecting, how did I do today? Am I moving towards what I want out of life? And if I were to die tomorrow, would I be happy with how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved, and most importantly, how I’ve contributed to the world?

Victoria: I love that. Thank you very much. Thank you for tuning in to today’s episode of Hello CoachCast. If you’ve enjoyed the content, we would love for you to subscribe, like, share, or leave a review on your favourite podcast platform. Also, if you’d like to work on living your very best life with less regret and more joy, or if there’s something else that you would like support on, you can get matched and booked with an incredible coach such as Fiona by heading to hello-coach.com.

Thank you for listening today, and we look forward to catching up with you next week.

M
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