20 Jan 2011

If You Could Do Life Over Again … What Would You Change?

As entrepreneurs, business owners and professionals, very often we can get lost in our busyness and forget why we do what we do and what life is really all about.  As B.C. Forbes warned us, “Don’t forget until too late that the business of life is not business, but living.” Let this business coach ask you, “Are you living a balanced, fulfilling, meaningful, and rich personal life?” If not, let this Growth Coach Blog serve as a gentle wake-up call for you.

Today we are pleased to introduce a guest blogger to help us focus on the big picture and remember what’s really important in life. Our guest author is Keith Boudreau, owner of the Growth Coach franchise in the North Shore and Boston, Massachusetts areas.  He has a wealth of business experience and you can learn more about Keith, his business coaching services, and his blog at www.GrowthCoachNorthShore.com.

Keith was kind enough to give us permission to re-publish his three-part blog series below, “If I Could Go Back and Change One Thing.” As busy business professionals, it makes sense for all of us to slow down and reflect on meaningful life lessons whenever we can … here is some tremendous wisdom shared by 90-year olds ….


By Keith Boudreau … “If I Could Go Back and Change One Thing”

A survey was recently conducted of people aged 90 and older to discover what one thing they would change about how they had lived their lives, if they were granted such a wish. Their responses were wide-ranging but there were three primary themes that really stood out as reflecting the collective wisdom and experience of this group.

The most common response was that, if there was a “Do Over” available, these 90-year olds would spend a lot more of their time in REFLECTION. They would be much more acutely aware of the passage of time, how they were spending their days and who they were spending them with. They would set aside time to stop and think about the choices they were making and if that was really how they wanted to live their lives.

This theme spotlights a reality for many of us that we live mostly on Auto-Pilot. We set our routines, and go through our days, weeks, and months within the Comfort Zones these routines provide, without thinking much about the big picture. Before we know it, huge chunks of time have passed and we wonder where it all went, and why we didn’t do some of the things we set out to do. And, sometimes, why we did some of the things we did.

The second most common response to the survey of 90 year olds was that, if given a “Do Over” they would TAKE MORE RISKS. Not necessarily risks of the Death-Defying sort, but more willingness to take a chance without being fearful of an unknown outcome. Can you relate?

They are restating the familiar advice that “Life is meant to be LIVED.” By staying within our self-generated Comfort Zones, how much are we missing? Why didn’t we ask the person we really wanted to ask to dance? How did our Fears (rejection) and Limiting Beliefs (“I’m not a good dancer”) keep us from experiencing what very likely would have been at least a pleasant time and just possibly could have been a life-altering event? As Wayne Gretzky said: “You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Sometimes, we just need to ask ourselves “What’s the worst that could happen?” and, once we recognize that the worst is both a) highly unlikely and b) not really all that bad … Take the Plunge!  At the very least, you’ll learn a few things about yourself and the world around you by stretching into the Un-Comfort Zone!  That’s the only place where real personal growth can happen.

The third most common response to the survey of 90 year olds was that, if given a “Do Over” they would BUILD A LEGACY. They would spend a good amount of their time, effort and energy striving to create something of significance that would survive them.

Certainly, many of us point to our children and grandchildren as our “legacy.” But there’s nothing unique about procreation, or humanity wouldn’t be here. Being a responsible, supportive and loving parent is just what we signed up for by participating in this great Circle of Life … no recognition deserved or required.

What was lacking, in the view of the nonagenarians, was fulfillment of a desire that we all share … to have made a difference. To have left behind something that would endure and would represent an important contribution we had made to our community and society. For many business owners and entrepreneurs, that legacy is the enterprise they have built, and the positive impact their enterprise has had on the lives of employees, customers and other stakeholders.

Since time immemorial, humanity has asked “Why am I here?” The desire to have built a legacy is one way to offer an answer; to prove that our lives have had purpose, meaning and significance. To have, indeed, made a difference.


Thanks Keith for sharing these pearls of wisdom … to reflect more, take more risks (get out of our comfort zones), and build a lasting legacy. The Growth Coach has a year-round, quarterly coaching and accountability process to help small business clients do just that … and so much more.  Our coaching is designed to give you greater clarity, confidence, capabilities, business results, and a richer life. Our proven business coaching process will help you to slow down, reflect, face reality, decide on the strategic changes YOU want to make, put action plans together, and receive on-going accountability to keep you on track to reach your goals and destination. After all, a business managed right is a powerful vehicle to provide you with MORE LIFE, MONEY, FREEDOM, FUN, and FULFILLMENT.  If necessary, get some business coaching help before you are 90 years old and wish you had made some changes.  All the best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *