Deathbed Regrets and Choosing to be Happy in 2012!



by Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, president

This is the time of year when most of us take stock of how we’ve done and where we are going. I encourage our clients to do this on a regular basis, but the end of the year just naturally makes us all want to take a look at how far we’ve come toward meeting our goals, what we need to do to get closer than we are today and how we need to revise them for the next year. I do it myself, too.

When I look at where BBR Marketing has been and how far we’ve come, I have to admit I’m pretty proud of what we’ve done. First, we are still in business, which in and of itself is quite an accomplishment considering the statistics stacked against any new business endeavor. We’ve managed to grow by over 50 percent this year, which is incredible. I work with two incredibly bright, and funny, women and wouldn’t be where I am without them. We have plans for 2012 that include some pretty amazing and innovative stuff too. We’ve worked very hard to get where we are today. However, we also know that we would never have been here were it not for those of you who have supported us with your trust and business, those of you who have referred us to your colleagues and friends, and those of you who have simply bought drinks and listened to us vent on a particularly tough day. Cheers to all of you!

So business is going well, check. How’s the personal life going? For me, I have an incredibly supportive husband who keeps me in check, fixes dinner on my frequent late nights and tells me he always knew the company would succeed even when I didn’t. I have a network of friends and family I can turn to when needed, and I do my best to return the favor as often as I can. I am working a bit too hard, am not making it to the gym and not traveling as much as I’d like, so these are areas I plan to work on in 2012. (Though I hate to be so pedestrian as to have a “work out more” New Year’s resolution. How boring!)

What really got me on this topic is an article I read recently entitled, “The Top 5 Regrets People Have on their Deathbed.” Maudlin, I admit, but informative and enlightening too. Here are the regrets, and my thoughts on each.

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. I have to admit, I sort of addressed this one during the awful summer of 2009 and when I started my company. I even wrote a blog post about it earlier this year. I’m a big believer in the philosophy that you are who you are, and while not everyone will like you, there are many more that will appreciate the authenticity with which you live your life when you are true to yourself. So, do it!

I wish I didn’t work so hard. I’m of two minds here. Yes, I need to take more time off and not work so hard. In fact, I’m writing this post on a Sunday. However, I also believe that it is hard work that has allowed my company to grow and succeed. So I guess we should all seek and strive for a balance that allows us to live our lives in the way we want, reach our goals, and yet still have some time for fun and frolic as well.

I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. I like this one and vehemently agree. We should all take the time to let those around us know that we love them and express how much they mean to us. If someone is taking advantage of you, stop it and make it clear  that you won’t stand for it. In the end, it’s the people in our lives that make life worth living, and we should all take a bit more time to let them know how we feel. It makes you feel good and makes their day too.

I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. I’m starting to see a theme here, and this is one of my personal resolutions for 2012. I have turned down invitations to spend time with loved ones because I had work to do, and that needs to stop. In the end, it comes down to managing my time in a way that allows me to take care of my clients while still being able to enjoy time with friends. Most of the time we can make it all happen, it may just take a bit of crafty juggling.

I wish that I had let myself be happier. This one makes me a bit sad. So there are people out there who choose to be unhappy when happiness is an option? I guess we all get caught up in our day-to-day activities and don’t take time to do the things that make us happy. All the other regrets above lead to this one. If we make time for our friends, live an authentic life and express our feelings, then happiness is bound to follow, right?

So what about you? How has 2011 treated you and what do you have in mind for 2012? Which of these deathbed regrets hit home the hardest? And most importantly, if I haven’t told you recently, I truly appreciate the role each of you plays in my life. Here’s to a successful, balanced and HAPPY 2012!

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