This post was inspired by a sermon given recently by North Point Ministries' lead pastor, Andy Stanley. Andy referenced the extraordinary journey of Bronnie Ware and her discovery of the top 2 regrets of the dying.
Bronnie is an Australian who spent years working in palliative care. Her patients were those who had gone home to die. She was with her patients for the last 3-12 weeks of their lives. It was through this experience that she gained the insight into the top regrets of the dying.
#1 Regret of the Dying: I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
Millennials are infamous for being true to themselves. They express themselves through tattoos, unique fashion, personal blogs, their Facebook cover photos, and every Instagram picture they capture and upload to the world wide web. They take advantage of the countless platforms and outlets to express themselves and show off to the world.
So if this is truly what pains our souls the most on our deathbeds, why are so many leaders and organizations demanding that the next generation workforce change to fit into the established box? Zappos, Google, and Facebook embrace individuality and continue to win the Millennial recruiting war.
Rethink existing traditions and begin to infuse more margin for your team to bring their true-to-myself mentality…and in doing so you will alleviate the #1 human regret that plagues our culture.
#2 Regret of the Dying: I wish I didn't work so hard.
All of the men Bronnie nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence. Women also spoke of this regret but most had not been the breadwinners as they were from an older generation.
Millennials also cause tension inside organizations with their desire for work/life flexibility (a more accurate term than work/life balance). I believe this Millennial desire was cultivated by seeing their Baby Boomer parents coming home from jobs tired and unfulfilled. Millennials have embraced the extinction of company loyalty.
Due to today's emerging mobile technology, we are no longer tied to a desk or held captive by 9-5 work days. Checking work email before getting out of bed in the morning, going for a late-morning run, working from home, taking a 2-3 hour lunch break to meet with friends and hang out in the park then back to work and sending emails well past 2am can be a realistic work day for the Millennials.
Granted some industries and/or positions require a set availability to handle client requests or customer demand. But in my experience, the more restraints and firm time-frames you burden the Millennials with the less they will go above and beyond those limitations.
Consider more work/life flexibility in order to alleviate your Millennials fostering this loyalty-killing regret.
The Millennials grew up observing these 2 regrets and are now taking action to live a life where work and play begin to blend. Use the regrets of those that have gone before us to empower those that go after us.
Question: What will you do today to alleviate future regret?