I am going to die.
You are going to die.
It’s a fact that we can’t escape.
Even though it can be hard to talk about, it will help you live a better life if you have the courage to accept it.
You might spend more time with the people you love, say how you were actually feeling, or go after that dream.
In the end, the key to life might actually be death.
On today’s episode of The School of Greatness, I talk about the power of accepting death with an inspiring woman who spent 8 years working with the dying: Bronnie Ware.
Bronnie Ware is a teacher of courage and regret-free living. Having sat by the bedsides of the terminally ill for several years, she knows the pain of dying with regret. She has written three books: The Top Five Regrets of Dying, Your Year for Change, and Bloom.
Bronnie says that the way to have more inner peace is to be kinder to yourself. We have to be willing to let more joy in.
If you’re doing your best, you’re doing enough.
So get ready to learn about the top regrets of the dying and how you can live a more fulfilling life on Episode 737.
Lewis: Episode number 737 with best-selling author Bronnie Ware. Welcome to the school of greatness my name is Lewis Howes, a former athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today, now let the class begin.
Brett Favre said “You’re never guaranteed about next year. People ask what you think of next season, you have to seize the opportunities when they’re in front of you.” Welcome to this episode it’s all about regret and defying regret and breaking through the limits that we have on our own life that hold us back, and that later in our life we end up regretting because we never did the things we wanted to do, we never said the things we wanted to say. We never took the chances or the risks on living the life we wanted to live, we allow fear, insecurities other people’s opinions to hold us back in such big ways that we end up regretting later in life. That’s what this is all about Bronnie Ware is the author of the megahit and memoire of ‘The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, Your Year for Change and Bloom.’ She is an inspirational speaker and song writer and took over the world with her book the top 5 regrets of the dying. In this interview we talked about the biggest lessons Bronnie learned while working with dying patients for so many years. The power of being comfortable with vulnerability when someone is in that state, the importance of unplanned space and time. You guys know that I always talked about scheduling your days and scheduling the action steps you’re going to take in order to prove that you’re capable of this things and move your life forward and move your dreams forward. But there’s also power in unplanned space and time, I actually plan my space and time I’ll put it in the calendar and schedule it as free time, but there’s power in having that space so that you could be more creative and how to appreciate life more now and not at the end of our life that and so much more. I am super excited about this one make sure to share this one lewishowes.com/737.
Now is the perfect time of the year to reflect back and ask yourself anything that you’ve regret this year, is there anything that you wish you would have done and make a list of these things what do you regret from this year, what held you back this year and how can you make it right, how can you move forward, how can you accept, learn and grow moving forward and continue to live a life that impacts service to other people.
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All right guys I am excited about this one don’t let 2019 or any year be the year that you regret not going for something. Don’t let yourself reflect at the end of next year and say ‘what is it that I wish I would have done’ don’t regret moving forward. Without further ado let me introduce you to the one the only Bronnie Ware.
Welcome everyone to the school of greatness podcast we’ve got Bronnie Ware in the house. Good to see you thank you for being here all the way from Australia.
Bronnie: Yeah pleasure.
Lewis: You’re the author of a number of books 1 your biggest hits called the top 5 regrets of dying, which most people have seen or heard about this and you’ve got a new book out called Bloom: The tale of courage surrender and breaking through upper limits, which I think is really insightful as well. So, thank you for being here I want to share a little bit about yourself story and learn more about this because this book came from working with who are about to die, like they had a few years left or they’re.
Bronnie: Few weeks or months.
Lewis: Few weeks. So it was like the worst of conditions?
Bronnie: They’d gone home to die.
Lewis: How many people are you working with?
Bronnie: Well I worked for about 8 years looking after dying people, so a couple of hundred. These are people who could afford home care and they were in hospital and they knew they were dying and they chose to go home and have care at home.
Lewis: And you are the one that would go in to their home.
Bronnie: Yeah for 12 hour shifts from 8 in the morning until 8 at night 5 or 6 days a week and I’d stay with them for some it was 3 weeks, some was for 3 months but no one longer than that.
Lewis: 3 months was the max usually. And where people still able to communicate well and expressive and or some of them kind of fading?
Bronnie: When I first met most of them they could still communicate well but they certainly faded overtime and because of that their energy levels became so low that they didn’t waste time on small talk.
Lewis: Because they knew that life is ending soon
Bronnie: Yeah, some of them had a lot to say some of them were just in deep contemplation for quite a while with the shock and the grief of dying, but some of them just had. There were some who have written about in there actually made me promise that I would share their message onward because they had such powerful regrets and they didn’t want other people to make the same mistakes. So I was very blessed you know to be able to hear these messages over and over again and realized this is what it looks and feels like to be dying with regret, there’s no way I am going to end that road myself.
Lewis: Was there anyone that you were working with didn’t have regrets?
Bronnie: Yes there were and there were people who would have done things differently but didn’t sort of judge themselves harshly as to call it regret.
Lewis: They just accepted what they were?
Bronnie: Yes. But there were more people who had regrets and didn’t and those who didn’t were people who most of them had a really good sense of humor, they also had very good communication or family relationships or good network of friends around them.
Lewis: And they came and supported and saw them and you got to witness that.
Bronnie: Yeah and they live full lives in terms of love and connection.
Lewis: What would you say is the sixth regret if there was a sixth one? Because usually there’s 5 regrets and we can share those quickly, the first one is: live a life true to myself not the life that others expecting me and I think so many live what their parents want them to do or friends or society right. We see that a lot and we were just talking about this with another guest Robert Green who is like most people they wake up like 27 to 30 and they realized they are down a path that I don’t want to do.
Bronnie: Wake up at 50 or 60 and say that.
Lewis: It’s even worse.
Bronnie: It happens a lot.
Lewis: So that’s the first regret the second one is: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard. Now I am curious about this because I actually believe in working really hard on a greater purpose. My purposed to impact the people around you, your society and community and to spread a message. So, I go back and forth when I read that I’m like ‘what does that mean?’ Does it mean like chill out all day and relax with your friends and you know. You got to make a living you got to make an impact and achieve certain things.
Bronnie: Yes, but it’s also about working efficiently which I’m sure you do and it’s about leaving space for other areas of your life and not making work your whole life. So it’s about working so hard that you don’t put all your passion into what you love doing especially if you’ve done the work and got yourself onto a part where you are doing your life’s work. So, of course we are passionate about it, we wanted to bring that message out and share it and give it our best love, but it’s not our whole life and we need to actually turn off from work sometimes and say “Okay, now I’m going to spend time with relationships, with family”
Lewis: Right, adventure play.
Bronnie: All of that because all of that nourishes our soul as well and the more we can find space or create space for those other areas the more part we bring to our work anyway and the more efficiency we bring to our work.
Lewis: That’s right.
Bronnie: 60 hours a week but if you really doing only 10 hours of quality work.
Lewis: And if your health is suffering or relationship suffering you’re missing the juice of life.
Bronnie: And that’s not success.
Lewis: The third regret is: I wish I had the courage to express my feelings. Do most people not express themselves?
Bronnie: Not to the tip that they’d like to.
Lewis: Why is that? Are they afraid of what other people might think?
Bronnie: Yeah, vulnerability and sometimes just communication channels haven’t been develop enough so they don’t actually know how to. It’s not so much that they don’t want to there are certainly a couple of patients in there who really wanted to but just didn’t know how to stop the ball rolling even when they, you know a gentleman in his 90’s died feeling like his family didn’t even know him and he wanted to but he just couldn’t start the ball rolling to open up to that level off vulnerability.
Lewis: A lot of these individuals write letters on their feelings and then like leave them behind when they’re gone?
Bronnie: Well some did but no not many. I had to pass messages a lot and I think other care sometimes play that role as well but what I found with my patients I ended up being their main care, so I would go in for a day or 2 and that’s what happens when someone is home sick they get 3 or 4 different cares over the first week or 2. So you know there were times they’d say ‘I want you to tell my son this’ and I say ‘well you’re still alive you can tell him yourself.’ Or I would facilitate or start a conversation sometimes and then silently leave the room.
Lewis: Sneak out that’s good. How do you think we can express our feelings now that we’re alive and healthy and well? What is the process to expressing ourselves better?
Bronnie: Well I think it’s how to avoid all the regrets and that is to face the fact that we’re going to die and there aren’t limited time and the more we can actually bring that realization into our belief systems and our conversations and societies beliefs then the more courage we have anyway, because we realized “Okay, I didn’t have all the time in the world to do what I want to do and to say what I need to say and everything else.” So to find those levels of vulnerability it takes courage, any form of regret for living is going to take him into courage. But when you use it as a tool for living and you say ‘I’m on limited time’ you do find that courage because not only do you realize you got to say stuff or you’re going to regret it later or you going to leave it too late. But you also just end up not caring so much for people think of you because they gonna die, you’re all going to die, we’re all just doing the best we can and you really do let go the opinions of others when you face death completely like when you courageously.
Lewis: Stop caring.
Bronnie: Yeah and it doesn’t mean you don’t stop loving but you stop caring about all the superficial stuff and so you do learn to be more courageous because you realize this may or may not be receive how if you are expressing some deep vulnerability, it may or may not be received how you love it to be receive but it’s better than not saying, it’s better than dying with a regret of not saying it.
Lewis: Right not sharing. The fourth one is: I wish I stayed in touch with my friends. People lose out of touch with their friends a lot you think?
Bronnie: Well this was before social media.
Lewis: Yeah and now you can make check in and.
Bronnie: Yeah and even checking through social media and letting people know that you are there it’s fantastic but this never going to make.
Lewis: Just superficial at a level right.
Bronnie: It’s not the same as having a face to face conversation or a good laugh with your old friends or even a phone call is better than social media or a text. But yeah it was a deep regret because friends become your family in so many ways and they hold a lot of memories for you as well. A lot of fun memories that you may not necessarily have shared with your family, most of us choose our own family and friends. So friends can really bring home memories and do reminiscing because dying people want to live as long as they can and they want to reflect and they want to do some storytelling and some giggling and some reminiscing about the good old days and if you lose touch with your friends you’re there with maybe a loving carer and your adult kids or your young kids whatever or no one.
Lewis: You just reflecting to yourself having a conversation about the good old days or something.
Bronnie: Yeah and then you might be able to handle only a 10 minute conversation every few hours, but that 10 minute conversation can just, I’ve seen people just lying there with tears of laughter in their eyes and they can’t talk anymore and just rest but they are so happy because they have friends visiting and sharing those memories.
Lewis: That’s nice and I wish I let myself be happier. Why do we not allow ourselves to be happy?
Bronnie: I think a lot of it is probably work, you know we don’t realize we deserve to be we’re shape again by the opinions of others and don’t want to be silly and childish and that’s actually great medicine to be like that. It’s about the opinions of others and just realizing we actually are allowed to be that just because someone says we’re this and this and this doesn’t mean we’re any of that. So you know something I used to cope as a kid your dream will never amount to anything you know stuff like that.
Lewis: You used to hear that?
Bronnie: Yeah all the time particularly from my father and you know.
Lewis: That’s encouraging.
Bronnie: That’s okay though we healed as best we could. But I did take that on for a long time because whenever I’d have this dreams I think I am never going to amount to anything and as a singer song writer I started at 35 wrote my first song and I’d be up on the stage and I’d be playing and that’s all I’d hear in my head. Then eventually I did my own healing and realized that’s all his stuff his regrets and it’s really got nothing to do with me and if I’m not going to dream I am not going to get anywhere. You’ve got to be a dreamer you have to dream and it’s only the dreamers that make huge significant change in the world that shake up things.
Lewis: That’s it. If there was an additional regret what would it be? Like another top regret a sixth one or the missing regret or maybe something you see in the last six years.
Bronnie: it’s about kindness. Don’t underestimate the power of kindness to ourselves and to each other because there’s a lot of self-loathing with the dying people and you see it with the living people.
Lewis: Yourselves up constantly.
Bronnie: Regret is just a very harsh judgement of ourselves, I’ve learned to look back on what I could call regret and see them now with compassion and think, well that’s who I was back them, I’m going to love that broken person from who I am now, I’m not going to judge her with regret I’m going to love her and think you did the best as who you were then. So I would say the sixth regret would possibly be not learning the power of kindness because.
Lewis: To yourself and others.
Bronnie: Yeah to ourselves and to others because we can only give it to others it really has to. You know the hardest bid is not giving it to ourselves it’s receiving it from ourselves.
Lewis: That’s true.
Bronnie: You can say I love you in the mirror to yourself or believe it but to actually stop and think ‘Okay, I’m actually kind of receive this kindness and this love.’ That’s a whole different.
Lewis: Most of us do bad job in receiving in general in complements, acknowledgement and love. We seem to like push it back on people or reject it when someone compliments us. What are we doing when we reject that love or kindness from others or from ourselves what are we saying?
Bronnie: Well we’re denying the pleasure of giving you know we’re disregarding the love and the quality of words and you know the intention that they’re giving us. So that in itself is creating a wall and not actually leaving an open slow to say ‘Okay, thank you good on you.’ And when we’re doing it to ourselves and not receiving or [?] well we just keeping ourselves small and undeserving when we’re a part of God, we’re a part of divinity and the grandest of infinite unconditional love so we are disconnecting from that.
Lewis: So to be willing to receive how do someone learn to do that when they’ve condition themselves to never receive their whole life?
Bronnie: Well like anything you can get better with practice step by step and even practicing in front of the mirror initially if you can’t do it in other ways just stand there and I can guarantee if you’ve never done it before you’ll cry your eyes out you know, if you are standing in front of a mirror and giving yourself love and then trying to received it you know you’ll have a good cry, your heart will crack open you know.
Lewis: If you’re willing to do it. How long where you working with patients who are dying?
Bronnie: About 8 years.
Lewis: And then after those 8 years you decided you wanted to have your own child is that right?
Bronnie: In between that my daughter I setup a songwriting program in a woman’s jail and I taught songwriting for a year in a woman’s jail.
Lewis: After you were done with the 8 years of working?
Bronnie: I wanted to be there was some hope and because obviously with the dying they may find their peace but this people whose bodies were closing down. So I wanted to work where I could actually give hope and potentially change lives that way.
Lewis: How long did you do that for?
Bronnie: Not quite a year through one of my patients I got some funding through one of my patients, a friend of one of my patients. The patient was a really hard woman and this friend of hers said “If you could look after her you can do anything, I’m gonna find the funding for you.” So she helped me find the funding it took as a while to get the money and then I approach the jail and they said sure, it’s like a volunteer in their eyes. So, I did it for about a year and then I burned out you know giving and giving and burned out big time became suicidal depressed for a while and then as I started coming through that and got bored of being a victim and bored of being depressed and was healing, that’s when my work just exploded and then I started having a dream that.
Lewis: Where you writing your books or.
Bronnie: I was blogging and I had already written.
Lewis: During the depression?
Bronnie: Yeah I wasn’t brave enough to say I was depress by those blogging, I was just blogging about beautiful things I was noticing and finding the beauty each day and then it just came a time I remember I’m over this so just I’m ready to get back into life like help me find a way to get back into life. The regrets of the dying that I’d written 6 or 7 months earlier and had notice it just exploded then.
Lewis: All of a sudden it took off somehow?
Bronnie: It just took off.
Lewis: Caught it and shared it.
Bronnie: Someone in business review shared it and then the financial time in London slam it because I said ‘Don’t tell us not to work too hard.’ I was like “don’t shoot the messenger this are dying people who said this was just some young woman from Australia living on a farm and not knowing anything.” So from there it sort of went from one place to another then I kept having a dream that a girl kept saying hurry up I want to come through, I had the same dream 2 or 3 times and at the time I was 43 I’d written off the decision to have a child and then I met my child’s father, I was 44 when we conceived the 2nd month we try and became a first time mom at 45. In between that time my article I was approach by an agent in America who signed to write a book ‘The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying’ that was rejected 25 times.
Lewis: You publish it yourself that’s what happened?
Bronnie: Yes, I’ll do it myself and then it took off because the article was still going viral and the guardian in the UK called book heart wrenching and it made a really prominent page of the guardian and I didn’t know any of this because I was just about to have a baby and I knew it was taking off because the interview request was coming in.
Bronnie: Yeah. Well potentially because I didn’t know what to do with any of it and I was just saying we’ll get back to you sometime. So you know he added a new file for queries check them all in there, and then I was in hospital in labor and getting really harass for interview. You know I was trying to get as much out of the way before the baby came, I was in labor and so you know doing this and I did a few voice ones not many, people who somehow found my phone number and caught me. So I’d be doing this interview and just like yeah and then this happened ‘can you just hold on one sec?’
Bronnie: You know going through that and then going back. So, I close my computer about 11:30 at night and I just sent out a very clear prayer and a bit more demand really and just it had taken me 14 years to become an overnight success. So from when I first started doing photography and writing inspirational quotes this is before the internet, like years before that and then doing a sing songwriting theme and then writing the blog and then writing the book. So, I was ready to quit because I was about to become a mom I knew there was no second chance I was 45 there wasn’t going to be a second baby and so I just sent out a really strong prayer and said “Send me some help and send it now because I’m gonna quit on this work, I don’t care how important it is how much I’ve worked on it I am going to be present for my baby.” And the next morning I had my baby Elena, and then I was back in the room and my mom was there and some hospital staff flopping around whatever and then my phone rang it was Leon from Australia and he just said “Hi Bronnie its Leon.” It was so busy in there and the dinner lady wanted to put down plate and I still had my computer out with the baby on the boob and you know it’s just crazy. He said “We wanted to offer you an international publishing deal of the top 5 regrets of the dying.” And I just burst into tears and said “The answer is yes but I’ve got to call you back, I’ve got to attend to my baby.” So, I rang him later that day so within 12 hours from my baby being born I birth a book as such and lift the hospital with a publishing contract and a beautiful little girl, because I had all those inquiries from the foreign rights thing I just sent all of the straightaway to hay house. And my book is the fastest selling foreign rights book in history.
Lewis: How many different?
Bronnie: 29 language with the film and the plotline. So you know just from a blog and a book rejection you don’t know.
Lewis: You got to keep going. This new book that came out just recently called ‘Bloom.’ What’s the premise behind why you want to do this new book? And what’s the message you learned from this?
Bronnie: Well, they’re both memoirs certainly didn’t intend to write a second memoir I had to share a lot in five regrets that I didn’t really want to but did. But the book just came through me my dad had just died and I took a few months off from work not because I was devastated dad and I had hailed really well and I felt very grateful for our relationship ending the way it did because there was no regrets, but because I gave myself a few months off as an excuse. This book just came through and so just after my daughter was born I basically have 3 things happened together: A baby, a book deal and then I was diagnosed with arthritis immediately following her birth.
Lewis: Right afterwards?
Bronnie: Yeah about within a month.
Lewis: How did that happened? What do you think?
Bronnie: Well there was signs of it beforehand but I guess life just wanted me to get to know myself even better and truly heal. So it is common for woman in their 40’s after they have a baby and I used to get aches and pains when I go back to my hometown, so I know there was some sort of pain, residual pain.
Lewis: That you hadn’t healed yet?
Bronnie: Yes. So I just had to go into a journey of surrendering and things haven’t worked out with my daughter’s biological father so I was actually a solo mom almost immediately, well from when I birth her and I left the relationship when I was pregnant. So, yeah I was a single mom, 45 and couldn’t even get up and down from a chair somedays and yes, so I learn a lot about surrender and trust self-love, self-care space especially space, that’s probably been my greatest gift.
Lewis: What do you mean by space?
Bronnie: Understanding the importance of leaving space and unplanned time.
Lewis: Not being busy all the time.
Bronnie: Yeah and allowing yourself to actually have space not just like stay home and watch a movie but to actually have time with no plans just to say I’m going to create some space now and just gonna have a day or 2 off from life. With no plans and just see things go and it’s through that stillness and space that so often the answers that we are looking for just come through and give you shortcuts to what you are trying to do and instead of trying to control every step of the way and have to know every single step is, you know we’ve got our goals and our plans but to have by creating space I found that I often jump 2 or 3 steps of what I thought I had to do. Because within that space either an inside has come or I’ve ended up with a random conversation with someone and they’ve given me an answer that I needed or they know someone who knows someone, yeah just space and just how healing is for joy and just to allow yourself be, I was going to say be a [?] like in Australia and it’s an infliction word for uncool silly sort of thing. So to just hangout and just not have.
Lewis: Your life.
Bronnie: Yeah be present.
Lewis: So you have this disease right after your daughter is born and it’s caused a lot of pain, how do you handle that the last 6 years now?
Bronnie: Well it’s been a love and hate relationship.
Lewis: What do you love and hate about it?
Bronnie: Well I hate that I can’t currently play the guitar because my fingers don’t bend the way they used to that’s my greatest grief that my music has been taken from me. But I don’t lose hope from that either and what I love is that it taught me how to be kind to myself and not have, we don’t have to just keep doing tough and doing it tough and to prove ourselves or to even be worthy of what comes our way, like saying “They deserved it they worked hard.” Well that’s fine they do deserved it that’s fine but they also missed a lot of life in the meantime. So being ill has taught me that as long as you’re doing the inner work and you’re courageously being as vulnerable as you can and honoring your heart and being the best person you can and who you are called to be, not as who society thinks you should be and that’s letting go of all expectations then that’s enough and life will support that.
Lewis: What’s the greatest lesson your daughter taught you?
Bronnie: Joy. Well joy and worth because children just love you so unconditionally and to actually allow yourself to received that and realized like ‘why would someone love me this much? Like doesn’t she know I got this fault and this one?’ But they don’t, they just so giving and forgiving, but joy because she is full of joy, she’s a very strong personality she’s deeply introverted I’m deeply extroverted. She’s so very smart but also highly sensitive so she naturally commands a lot of attention. But within that she is just fun, she is so fun.
Lewis: Do you think life is going to have a lot of pain no matter what we do? That we will experience a lot of pain throughout life or does it not have to be so painful?
Bronnie: That’s a great question. I’d like to say it doesn’t have to be so painful and I do believe that it doesn’t have to be so painful, I do believe that but to bring ourselves to a point where we can allow ourselves not to be painful is painful.
Lewis: How so?
Bronnie: Well we can give up a lot of resistance, we have to give up all our conditioning, we have to find the courage to really honor who we are and be ourselves and that is where the pain comes in. It’s not because life necessarily wants to force us to suffer, it’s because we’ve got so much resistance to who and fear of who we can actually be.
Lewis: Change and evolving.
Bronnie: And that potential as well to actually shine and be as radiant and amazing as we’re capable of being.
Lewis: You talked about breaking upper limits in bloom. What are we afraid of breaking through most?
Bronnie: Well I think it’s about learning to allow in more increase happiness.
Lewis: Because that’s one of the big regrets we don’t allow ourselves to be happy.
Bronnie: Yes and there will be contrast and there will be pain because we can’t grow and realize our blessings if we don’t have the contrast and the contrast gives us a mirror of what.
Lewis: What we are grateful for.
Bronnie: Yes. But just as when life gets hardest as ever become for you and you think I cannot take any more pain I’m at the bottom and I cannot take any more pain, it’s the same at the top. We get up to a certain point and we don’t know how to allow in more joy or more happiness. So it’s a process a layer by layer process to chip away at those upper limits and say “Actually I’m allowed to be this happy, it doesn’t matter how I pursue if I’m working down the streets skipping with my 6 year old or.” It doesn’t matter how people see me because more often than not people laughing you know to some level of other observers sort of wishing they could do that themselves. But that doesn’t matter anyway because you don’t care, you’re just being goofy.
Lewis: Yeah, they’re gonna die I’m gonna die so let’s just do our lives.
Bronnie: I know and we’re all so beautiful and broken and fragile and amazing and brilliant, we’ve got all of that within us but it takes a lot of courage to actually let it through.
Lewis: Who are the most courageous people that you worked with during this 8 year time? Did you see people become more courageous or?
Bronnie: Yeah probably a patient I write about, Rosemary she had been in a physically violent marriage when she was younger, she’s from a different generation entirely so she stayed within that for the sake of the family and then eventually she divorced it was a scandal, a complete scandal to her family and so she married again, never had another relationship and just worked up the way of corporate ladder in the times when no woman were working their way up the corporate ladder. She didn’t realize that she deserved happiness and she was an [?] to start with, she was shocking and really bossy like mean cruel. But she evolved over a few months and I think she’s probably the most courageous people because she didn’t realize that she couldn’t actually be happy and that she is allowed to be happy and she had such a dry sense of humor but I didn’t even see that the first month or so and it started coming out. There would be little giggles and this is a woman who told me to stop humming because I’m too happy and by the end of it she was ridiculously goofy and wonderful.
Lewis: Humming with you?
Bronnie: Yeah, so I would say she’s probably the most courageous because she did give it a go.
Lewis: It seems like some of this individuals get to a place of acceptance and they find inner peace at the end of their life. Some will some don’t, how do you think we can find inner peace now if we’re not dying so soon?
Bronnie: Again face the fact that we’re going to die. Honestly, it changes everything if we as a society and as individuals could speak more about death and realized that we are going to die then we will just, it just changes everything in terms of how sacred our time is and so it gives you courage. Well it has for me where I’m just going to think that I’m gonna die, I’m not going to live with a pain and regret. I don’t have all the time in the world I’m in my 50’s now, my taxi driver he’s on his way here his wife died a year ago she felt sick at 8 o’clock at night she was 43, she was dead at 10 at night from a heart attack and leave himself 2 teenage children. So, I’m in my 50’s and think ‘I’ve got 3 grandparents who live through 90’s I’ve got 40 years.’ But that’s not how it works.
Lewis: It could be any day.
Bronnie: It could be today you know, you could be the last lovely face I’d see you know. But we don’t know and we really need to see that time is a gift, it’s a resource that is decreasing every single moment that we’re alive, we don’t have all the time in the world to follow our dreams to tell people we love how we feel, to honor our heart to shine to be who we are to be. We don’t have the time in the world we’re on limited time that’s running out and in a way that can be terrifying and I don’t mean to be like a doomsday person but that’s the guts of it, that’s the truth that we are on limited time and the more you can truly incorporate that into your way of thinking the more is for you.
Lewis: Is there anything that you aren’t doing that you know you should be doing through all these regrets and all these lessons you’ve learned is there? Are you not being kind to yourself? Are you not you know doing what you really want to do? Or is there anything that you are still not doing personally even though you know this are the main things?
Bronnie: Yeah sure, I think as a parent that’s my biggest lesson in self-kindness now because at the end of each day I can think of things every single day that I wish I have done better.
Lewis: Which you did wrong. Every parent feels that way right?
Bronnie: Screwing up my child you know lots of things and then I stop and listen to her speaking to her friends and saying, it’s okay it’s just the way it is you got to be kind and I hear my words coming out in a 6 year old conversation I think. So for me that’s probably one of my biggest lessons to forgive myself on a daily basis and understand that mistakes are a part of life and teach this to my daughter all the time, it’s human to make mistakes and it only through mistakes that we learn.
Lewis: You don’t learn from all the successes, you learn from the mistakes, the losses whatever it maybe.
Bronnie: And other people may tell you stuff but you remember more from your mistakes.
Lewis: Who do you think now is the most important people for you to listen to get wisdom?
Bronnie: It’s not a person it’s nature. I find that nature is my biggest teacher and my daughter.
Lewis: She’s a force of nature.
Bronnie: She is a force of nature absolutely.
Lewis: What does nature teach you when you listen to?
Bronnie: Well it just shows me to let go the things like you see by a creek like that the water is gonna get stuck inside and some parts it’s going to overflow in some parts and it just teaches you everything about life, you see a leaf falling okay it’s falling but twirling and doesn’t know where it lands but it’s not resisting or the wind blowing a breeze on your face it’s like ‘okay this gentleness or this might be a gentle breeze’ and life is like that. I think more than anything it teaches me surrender and trust just to know that it’s actually all unfolding perfectly if I don’t become that boulder that stands in the way of it and if I just get it out of my own way.
Lewis: Yeah. Allowing not resisting.
Lewis: To what’s happening in life.
Bronnie: There’s a song that I wrote on my second album and this a line in it ‘What you want wants you to, but get out of your own way and let it come through.’ You know I think that is probably what nature is teaching me again and again that I’ve been trying too hard and that there’s a natural flow for things and it knows perfectly how to unfold. I’ve got to do my bits to support but then I’ve got to get out of the way.
Lewis: Let it flow I like that. How’s your relationship with vulnerability change over the years?
Bronnie: We’ve become friends.
Lewis: You embraced it?
Bronnie: Yes, I actually find it as what’s very freeing but more than anything it’s a gift to incorporate it in your being. So the more you practice it again you get better at practice so the more vulnerable I’ve learned to be even through writing books just not knowing how they are going to be receive at all or which much harder which is being vulnerable to people you care about and love, that’s harder than writing a book to strangers I think. You just get better with practice and so for me it’s a part of who I am now and it’s fine to be vulnerable, it’s fine to be broken, it’s fine to not be perfect because we’re all the same and if someone don’t dare to give that example how they’re going to find the courage to do so.
Lewis: That’s true, you’ve got to live with vulnerability. What do you do now when you feel overwhelmed?
Bronnie: Well I’m a meditator so I meditate that is always my first go to, I ride a push bike a lot and it’s only through being sick with arthritis that I ended up on a push bike because I couldn’t do the long distance walking that I used to do and now I love riding my bike. So if I’m overwhelmed more than anything I’d probably just go for a ride on my bike.
Lewis: That’s good let the stress out.
Bronnie: It gets the movement in and most of the ride I do were beside rivers and creeks and stuff so it’s very beautiful.
Lewis: Nature and movement 2 powerful things. This is a question I ask for everyone called the 3 truths. So imagine it is your last day in the future sometime you get to choose the day and you leave this earth when you want to. You’ve achieved everything you want, you’ve seen your daughter grow up the way you wanted to see and everything has happened that way it’s supposed to.
Bronnie: Ready to go.
Lewis: Ready to go not regretting anything, you’ve live your work like some of us struggled doing sometimes, you’ve done everything you want to do has happen but for whatever reason you got to take all the work with you. So no one has access anymore to the work but you got to write down 3 final truths, the lesson that you’ve known to be true about life that you share with everyone and this is all they would have access to, what would you say your 3 truths?
Bronnie: I’d say if you’ve done your best then there’s no reason for regret because that’s what you can do, I’d say that if you’re lost go and hang out in nature. If you’re hanging out in nature and you’re still lost double the time that you’re spending in nature and I would say that courage is always rewarded, it’s not usually rewarded in a way that we expect to try and dictate but in my experience courage is always rewarded.
Lewis: Wow, I don’t think I’ve heard those 3 that was good. I like that it’s a great truths. Where can we connect with you online or your site or social media?
Bronnie: Bronnieware.com is my website and I have a 6 week online course which is about creating a regret free life, so putting all those tools into place. I am on social media on Facebook and Instagram Bronnie.ware I’m not huge on it, well just because a language that’s natural to me and part of living a regret free life means when I’m there I am completely there and present and authentic but I am not going to post because something is expected of me or because that’s the system or whatever. I have a very personal and loving relationship with audience but considering my books reached a million people it doesn’t really necessarily reflect on social media. But yeah Bronnieware I’m there.
Lewis: Bronnie.ware on Instagram and Facebook, twitter as well?
Bronnie: No, I never got around to.
Lewis: No worries.
Bronnie: It wasn’t visually nice enough for me.
Lewis: Now you can add photos and videos but.
Bronnie: Yeah but I don’t want to spend any more time online.
Lewis: Awesome. Make sure you guys check out the book the new book called bloom, make sure you guys check this out. I like this format a lot because it’s quicker chapter to read and like more powerful lessons quickly so for me I like that, but also the top 5 regrets of the dying, if you guys don’t have this I’m assuming most of you do. Go get this powerful stuff check out the website, social media course and all those things.
I want to acknowledge you Bronnie for doing the hard things because I think the life that you’ve had, the worked that you’ve been through I don’t think most people would choose, but because you chose to do those things and serve people when they are dying and also to continue to write about their legacy is impacting a lot of people today who maybe have more time. So, I really acknowledge you for going through and for being vulnerable with your daughter, with the challenges you’ve had with your health and for continually opening up.
Bronnie: Thank you Lewis and thank you for what you are doing for the world. You bring so much heart to your work.
Lewis: That’s my non-regret is I do my best so thank you. My final question for you is what is your definition of greatness?
Bronnie: Living the life that makes most sense to you regardless of how you perceived by others.
Lewis: Bronnie Ware thank you so much appreciate it.
Bronnie: Thank you.
Lewis: There you have it my friends’ powerful interview and insights with Bronnie Ware. Make sure to share this with your friends’ lewishowes.com/737 as we get closer to the end of the year. My next full length episode will be me interviewing myself, doing a solo round talking about the greatest lessons for me of 2018, the greatest lesson for me for the year the biggest regrets that I have, the things I am looking forward to next year and I want to share it all with you what I’ve learned, what’s working well and what’s not working well. So stay tune for that episode first time this year, make sure to subscribe every Monday, Wednesday, Friday come out with the most powerful interviews and insights to help you unlock your inner greatness. Again, if you are a 7 figure earner or you have hundreds of thousands or millions of followers online then go to greatnessmastermind.com and apply today and join this group of powerhouse influencers that we have who are joining next year. There’s only a few spots left we’re looking for the right people, we’ve had hundreds and hundreds of application but we are selective of who we want to join, who we want to bring in and make this an even more powerhouse group. So go to greatnessmastermind.com and if you are not ready for that because that is a high ticket investment, if you are not ready for that then go to lewishowes.com/innercircle and sign up to be a part of a powerful community, almost 3,000 entrepreneurs around the world are a part of this community.
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Brett Favre said “You’re never guaranteed about next year. People ask what you think of next season, you have to seize the opportunities when they’re in front of you.” You’re at a season of your life right now, you’re about to start a new season, you’re about to go into your life with full energy and impact. Life is a contact sport my friends and you’ve got to be seizing every single moment that you have. Yes, you are going to make mistakes not every action you take is going to work in your favor but it will end up working in your favor when you reflect on it, when you learn and when you grow and continue to move forward in pursuit of your dreams. I love you so very much and you know what time it’s time to go out there and do something great.
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