When you’re on your deathbed, will you regret having spent so much time at the office? Probably not, say healthcare 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.” LifeHealthPro.com recently published a discussion of her work here.
According to Ware, the top five regrets in ascending strength 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 we’d like to pose a related question: “What are the top five regrets of (you guessed it) unethical financial advisors?”
This question flows from our hope that even rogue operators have consciences and might look back with sadness on their dubious business practices. Furthermore, ethical individuals who understand and learn from those regrets will be better able to resist temptation—and errors-and-omissions problems—as their own careers play out.
So without further adieu, here’s our take on the top five regrets unethical professionals feel when they leave their 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 salespeople who pursue their own agendas rather than their clients’ lose sight of the noble purpose of their industry: to help people achieve their cherished dreams. Advisors who tap into that purpose go to work every day truly energized. Those who don’t are instead motivated by greed, a shallow emotion that makes them small.