Midsummer Night’s Check-In: Are You Living Your Dreams?

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Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. Her dream is to publish this first book and teach the world how to discover their hidden joy. Her post day is Tuesday.
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SUMMERTIME midsummer nights dream

It is midsummer, and the living is easy — Saturday mornings at the outdoor Farmers’ Market on the river, breezy evenings spent enjoying dinner by candlelight on my best friend’s back deck!

Yet “midsummer” also means that half of this year has magically evaporated.

Midsummer feels like the perfect time to check in on again on how you are doing with living your dreams, and to regroup and make sure you have a plan for the rest of the year.

Mid-Way Check In

The verdict of my living my dream check-in? I am on-track with some goals, off-track with others, and reevaluating whether the goals I set at the beginning of the year still feel meaningful to me. An article I recently read online by Bronnie Ware, “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” (excerpted below) inspired me to re-examine my dream goals and where I am putting my energy.

The goal on which I have made the most progress, which I am most proud of, is creating my successful life coaching business. This year I took on my first coaching client at market rates (my other, first few clients were at highly discounted rates, just to help me build my confidence to do this work!).

I have created a clear vision for the future of my successful coaching business, including bringing in six figures next year, coaching 12 individual clients, leading three group coaching programs a year via phone, and teaching a dozen live workshops or retreats a year, as well as one longer retreat for “Goddesses” in a remote, exotic location.

I am not where I want to be yet with some of my other goals, but I remain optimistic that I will make more progress this year. I set a goal to pay off all my credit cards, for example, and instead put more debt on the cards for my life coaching training program. I’m confident I will make that money back, but I definitely need to be more mindful in general about how I’m managing my money.

I have completing been procrastinating on revising my book manuscript, and that clearly needs attention! I’m updating my goals and timelines for that so I can have a polished manuscript completed by the end of the year, as intended.

I’m reevaluating all my goals now to be sure they are still meaningful to me.

Are Your Goals Really Meaningful?

When you are setting goals it’s important to be sure they really serve you, and help you to actualize on the dreams that matter most to you, so you aren’t focusing your energies in a way that you will later regret.

The article, called Top 5 Regrets of the Dying  was written by a woman, Bronnie Ware, who worked in palliative care for many years. In hospice work, many patients return home to die. Bronnie spent time with them and learned about their lives, hopes, fears, dreams and regrets. She said that the following were the top five regrets of her patients (the article is excerpted, below):

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. It is very important to try and honor at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

And It’s a Home Run…

This article really hit home for me. BE who you want to be. Follow your heart’s desires and dreams. Don’t work too hard. Choose to be happy. Express your feelings.

One of the top regrets that people have on their deathbed is not following their dreams.

How are you doing on the primary goals? Are you pursuing your dreams?

Check in with yourself this week. Set some meaningful goals that help you live your dreams.



  • duke

    One so pretty should be happy.

  • Great set of goals and a terrific idea to check in half-way through the year and see where you are. I can see you as a life-coach, traveling the world … creating joy.

    I love this, “I wish that I had let myself be happier” wow – now isn’t that a true statement. When you have kids you begin to take so much seriously and you worry about them constantly. Every now and then I catch myself and remind myself to just enjoy him (which I do) without so much worry.

    Lovely post.


  • Lisa Powell, Author & Serial Traveler

    Reading the excerpted article by Bronnie Ware really was life-changing for me… Hope it is inspiring to others as well!

    Love to hear how your dreams for 2011 are progressing – do they feel meaningful to you still? How do you want to focus your “dream energy” for the rest of 2011?

    And how can I best support you in that?