When you’re on your deathbed, will you regret having spent so much time at the office? Probably not, say health care workers who counsel patients in their final days. In fact, one such worker, Bronnie Ware, an Australian palliative care nurse, collected her patients’ disappointments on her blog, eventually publishing a book on the topic called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying; A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing.” ProducersWEB.com and LifeHealthPro.com recently published a blog discussing her work and how it relates to advisors.
According to Ware, the top five regrets in ascending order are:
5. “I wish I had let myself be happier.”
4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
2. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
1. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
These are powerful insights—and a learning opportunity for the rest of us. So much so that I’d like to pose a related question: “What are the top five regrets of (you guessed it) unethical advisors?”
This question flows from my hope that even rogue advisors have consciences and might look back with sadness on their dubious business practices. Furthermore, ethical advisors who understand and learn from those regrets will be better able to resist temptation as their own careers play out.
Here’s my take on the top five regrets unethical advisors feel when they leave the industry:
1) “I wish I had spent more time getting to know my clients’ needs, rather than selling products that served my needs.” This is an issue because advisors who pursue their own agendas rather than those of their clients lose sight of the noble purpose of our industry: To help people achieve their cherished dreams through wise leveraging of financial resources. Advisors who tap into that purpose go to work every day truly energized.