Discussion #3125

Five Regrets

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Explore a few philosophical issues in this discussion with Cara Reeser and John Marston. They talk about the Five Regrets of the Dying and how this applies to our lives. By looking at these regrets, we can learn how to live full and happy lives as well as a fulfilling profession within the Pilates industry.
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Aug 04, 2017
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Chapter 1

Expectations and Happiness

I'm very excited to be here with my longterm friend, Kara Risa. This is the third time that we've had a conversation together that's been filmed for plot is anytime since we last filmed a business conversation. We've had dinner a few times and during that time our conversation has turned quite often to more philosophical issues around the pursuit of happiness and the purpose of life. So with this ticket at a time, we're going to explore some of the subjects that we've covered during those conversations. Are you guys resolution for 2017 was to pursue more happiness in my life and in the process of researching the subject of happiness, I came across a particular article and this research was done by a hospice nurse in Australia by the name of Bronnie ware and what she noticed as she nursed thousands of people through the last phase of their lives, that they typically had five regrets that didn't necessarily have them all, but these were the five regrets that she saw more and more. And it kind of might sound kind of sad to be doing this video, talking about the regrets as we reached the last pages of our lives.

But I think by looking at these, we're able to draw some conclusions about how to live a full and happy life and how to pursue a real fulfilling profession within the polarities industry. Absolutely. So the first of the regrets that she regularly saw, this was what she concluded. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself and not alive that others expected of me. And many of us have come from families or societies where we're expected of many things, but then not necessarily what we want to do.

If you see that ever, Kara. Yeah, no, absolutely. And it's also we, and I think we also change as we, as we move through our lives. So I think we have to be asking that question over and over again, Huh? Does this still suit me? Um, am I doing this for myself or am I doing it for someone? And that feels good for me. Does it, you know, that satisfies me because there are times we, we do do things for other people and, and that in itself can be a very fulfilling experience. But I think there's this sort of calibrating all the time of, Huh, is does this still suit me?

Am I still doing this for the real authentic reasons that I was originally attracted to it? And how do I keep adjusting that? You know, I think there's this, this kind of way that things have to keep moving. Things have to keep changing. Yeah. Um, which, which helps us along in that path of being more satisfied or, um, gratified in, in our participation in our lives and, and therefore our careers. I think we both have some mutual friends that have pursued a dance or a [inaudible] career and without the full support of their parents. And I was recently talking to somebody who's a father, had visited them and was just amazed at how happy and successful they were in their profession. And so yes, it can be that rub that we're not doing exactly what our parents hoped from us.

But um, I think it's one of those things you have to be honest to yourself and do what your heart tells you to do. Even if other people around you and people that you really value and you respect maybe pushing you in a different way. For some people in the police profession, they feel that the next step in everybody's career should be go from being a great [inaudible] teacher to being a studio owner. Um, but my own thoughts on this is, you know, running a business and being a studio on it isn't for everybody but the re I think cause one of the reasons that that expectation, I mean this case we're talking about the expectation of the industry, the expectation of how we think other people see us is that this idea, you have to go up the ladder. You know, you have to become more than just a, a pilates teacher. Like somehow that's not enough for some time. You know, the, can you go out with your professor girlfriend at night and tell all the PhDs that you teach [inaudible] for a living? Is that enough? No. So I bet our own my studio or I become a big educator or make movies or, you know, we're actually, if, if what you do is something that interests you, that you can get better at, that you can keep learning and developing and becoming more professional in. Um, it's, it's, it's plenty. It satisfies, you know, that group of things that are part of your value system. Um, but it's, it's difficult there. It's hard to accept that because this idea of having, uh, an identity that sort of meets up with the Jones's, you know, that makes you feel like, yeah, I made it because, you know, it's hard to, to, uh, to work with your, your ego around that. There's, there's a large conversation today about identity. Everybody wants to have sort of feel specialized and, and, um, and so I think a lot of that comes from like, oh, well I own my own business, but, but it's not for everyone. Um, and actually for lots of plots, teachers who are really movers doing, uh, your eye books or whatever they're called is not, isn't, isn't not gonna satisfy. I think

Chapter 2

Work-Life Balance

the second regret that she identified was, I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

The kind of interesting thing about hard work is I've always enjoyed how it works, but this sort of hard work and there's hard, right? And when I'm really in the flow and I'm just loving what I can do, I can be working at it for hours and not even notice the time going by. But some things, you know, the things I really don't relish it can dry. So it's somehow this, the equation has to do with whether or not you are like enjoying or present, um, or turned on by what you're, what you're doing. And I don't know, John, what, what may, what makes you turned on by something?

Like is it your, like I'm thinking about teaching pilots all day or working on, um, on quality's anytime all day. Like what, what actually keeps you in that flow? What is, what is that? I think that when you get in that flow, you know, the work can't be so hard that you can't do it. And the work can't be so easy that it's become routine. So it's trying to find that balance between, it's difficult enough that it's challenging, but not out of the ore, out of the bar, beyond the oral ability. So it's that mix of the two things and that the work that might be in the flow, you know, that perfect work when you're early in your career might not, will not be as complicated and as difficult as you progress, you know?

So how do you keep work? Interesting. Absolutely. And I think it's, it's a, it's a really great point. I mean, we, we work in the same industry, right? But we do very, very different things. And so I feel like I can really speak to the folks out there on the floor of their plotty studio and saying like, yeah, when it's like that day where you're like looking at the clock, right? You're just like, are these people ever going to get out of my studio or whatever? Probably you're not doing that thing that you and I are talking about, which is just, you know, getting just a little bit further into how, why does this person not move this way that I'm trying to coach the mirror.

What is, what is keeping them in pain or what is Ma making them distracted? What could I be doing to bring their nervous system in check or whatever your, your Gig is. But, but that kind of curiosity of being just a little better, a little better at your job, a little more professional. You know, you read a few articles on the weekend about body mind or about injury prevention or whatever, and suddenly you're, you're fresh. You have a new feeling in the day of like, and your day flies by because you're practicing a new learning skill. A new way of seeing. And I think this is, and this is a hard thing to train yourself in, but, but I think it's, um, it's something about keeping yourself turned on, isn't it? Yeah.

I think there's this issue around continuous learning that you know you don't go to college, you've learned everything and it's going to last your lifetime. I think the learning you have, you know whether or not it's [inaudible] or whether it's other professions that you've learned something new and then to be able to apply it in what you're doing every day and just deal with somethings a little bit harder or do it a little bit better than you did at the prior week. Absolutely. That is what kind of makes the work kind of interesting because if you don't, you know, you become more skilled, but if you don't take on a harder challenge, why don't you push yourself to be that little bit better, then you become uninterested. I think the other way of kind of thinking about, I wish I hadn't worked so hard is trying to find that balance between all the parts of your life for sure. And the to some of the things I would regret is my children are grown up, but I regret having not been at some of the milestones in their lives because I felt I was too busy at work. And right now I can only remember that I missed that particular childhood event.

Right. I have no recollection of what that very important piece of work force that I had to be there and I couldn't be with my children. So I think that, you know, this to me there's two aspects of this. There's the aspect of challenging yourself so that the work doesn't feel like it's hard, boring work. And then the other thing is trying to find the balance between all the parts of our lives so that we don't get consumed and being at work all day. So those are the two things that I think that she was that, that sort of Gretz that she's talking.

Yeah. And you know, finding life work balance is, is first of all individualized. You know, I'm, I don't have kids. I'm not married. I, I mean I'm partnered, but I, I have a lot of freedom in that type of relationship that I designed. And so working all the time is, is, that's my lie. I mean, that's something, you know, and, but for other people who have to balance out, again, they can't, they can't expect themselves based on what they see around them to do, do with the way others do it. So again, there's this kind of pressure, the external pressure of like, oh, well, you know, I only work eight hours, but Cara works 60 or whatever. It's like, hey, you have other things that you need to be attending to. Um, and we have to keep, I think, noting, yeah, I mean the changes, right? You have, you have less of that now, so you have more time for, for a work play. You know, we, we go through these phases of lives, you know, and you think about what you're looking for maybe as a college student, what you look at as a young single person. And then perhaps there's that phase of life where you've met the person and for your life before you might have children and then bring out children can easily be 20 years of, you know, a lot of work.

And then there's the empty nesting phase after that. And during all of those times where that work balance is between hours on the job hours, prepping a parent and hours, um, being with your friends changes. So this is something that I think we all need to kind of think about it. Depending on where we are on the life and comparing ourselves to our fellow workers may not be the right way of deciding how hard we need to work. All the stages of our lives are different. You could also get very stuck in one, you know, like I'm a worker bee and I'm on the road a lot and I'm out there touring and teaching them, developing new programming. I'm, I'm studying more with more people. I'm, you know, and then I'll have moments where I'll say to myself, boy, do you know how to have a weekend off Kara? Yeah. I'm not really, I mean I'm sort of a maniac that way. So then I'm thinking to myself, okay, I need to learn how to have a weekend off also. So, so that balance of coming off of, of being on the buzz of working a lot, you know, cause cause I want to be able to retire one day a little bit or slow down. So, so I think it's a, it's a, it's a balance of also recognizing where, what you sort of lean into too much. Um, and, and why you lean into it too much and, but it's a dance.

Chapter 3

Expressing Feelings

Oh, it is. The third of the regrets that she identified was this, I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings. I have the benefit or the, uh, the baggage of being British by birth. And, um, yes, the British has certainly have a cultural value of not expressing their feelings. And something that has been very much part of my own journey over the last few years is telling people that I appreciate them telling people how much I love them. And being very much more demonstrative than my own cultural baggage really encourages me to be kind of as, as an aside here, one of the ways that I think that you express your feelings is through touch.

And I'm not a Cloudy's teacher, so I don't do corrections. I don't touch people's bodies very much. And I was brought up in that culture where you have this square around you and you know, you don't dare go in there. And when you meet your close friends, you shake them by the hand, you a hug would be seen as very inappropriate. And, uh, you know, some of the research on this happiness area is that we get a lot of joy. A lot of hormones are released in our body when we hug other people.

So this has been, this has been the last five years has been my journey of uh, touch and hugging and, uh, being a lot more demonstrative. And one of the things in my, in the, in the, the team here is that, you know, if somebody does something awesome, I really feel like the time to tell them that it was awesome is not at the end of the year when we do a performance review. But as in that moment of just saying, you know, you're awesome. I couldn't agree more. So that that's been, um, some of my journey about expressing my feelings is, you know, that emotion that I feel at the time telling people they're great. And on the flip side, I think there's a lot of release in that if somebody is doing something that's irritating to tell them straight away. Yeah, I agree.

You don't bottle it up and then suddenly like it kind of vomit out all this angst and anger and frustration, but it's much, much, much, much better. As you know, I saw that you had a client, had you mind picking up the mat or the ball or whatever and put it in the bag. Just tell them within a minute of them doing it because, or when they, when that person's finished with that client, but don't, you know, like, hold it in for hours, just, you know, just do it then. It's much softer. It's much easier on everybody. Both ends of this. I mean, I have stuff to say, so I'll just, I'll start on the back end with, with th what you're talking about in terms of just kind of airing things straightaway. It's, uh, I think it's a skill that a lot of women have a hard time with, frankly.

I think, um, it's, uh, it's difficult to, um, give negative feedback or to put, have boundaries to say like, Hey, that's not okay with me. Or, and so I think part of what you do when you're creating a work environment, I think you and I both done this as managers, is to establish a sort of, um, environment that invite people to be able to sort of just do that without being offensive. You know, we have like a little bell. We ring, it's called our a Rin at the studio. It's a little Buddhist bell. Um, when somebody's being too loud, you just tingling and you know, usually the screamer in the room knows it's them, but it's not about punishing them. It's about saying, hey, we're all taking care of this environment. Um, and that's true with your clients as well. And sometimes you need to say to a client like, you know, hey, let's, let's Redo the way we're working here. You know, like for me, sometimes I have to say like, really don't want to chat with you. Um, I, I care about what you're feeling. But could we do a two minute chat at the beginning of your session and a two minute chat at the end, but it breaks my concentration on what I'm working on. With your body to, again, not to be dismissive or, or, um, punishing, but to set up boundaries, you know, and to know that that's actually part of taking care of your relationships with people, the environment you're in, your staff. Um, but it's, it is a difficult thing, um, to do. And then on the flip side of that, in terms of expressing your, your positive feelings or, or using touch or encouragement, I couldn't agree more like giving people that direct feedback right away. Hey, you're awesome. Saying it a lot is, is great.

And particularly with your clients, you know, we have the sense of teaching people's bodies that we're, we're correcting them, you know, that our job is to like fix them. Well, I think it could be the other way. I think job is to encourage that. The job is to say, Hey, guess what? You're amazing and that didn't hurt. And their nervous system is going to change, right? Yeah. They're gonna. They're gonna just, and, and what you said about touch, I mean, there's a wonderful book out there by a, a neuroscientist, I think it's a neuroscientist, um, called touch. And it's all about the way the, the, the neurology of the body and the biochemistry of the body actually gives you the good drugs from your brain when you're touched. So, so these are our tools we can use to be more successful at, um, both how we manage and how we work with humans one-on-one. I'm a little bit of a believer that if I tell you 20 positive things and one negative thing that it kind of balance you out. You know, you need a lot of positive reinforcement to, to deal with that one negative.

That's exactly right. And so I think being generous on the praise, I think that is part of this. So I also feel they, you know, my body feels better when I've kind of gone up to somebody and said that was just so good. There's joy in that. Giving a phrase as much as there is in receiving praise, there's no question about it. I would have to say there's a little bit of consent in this, that in my hugging experience of the last five years, there's some people that are never gonna enjoy a good hug from me. And I have to kind of accept that. That's absolutely, absolutely. But there's a way to touch into everybody's sort of, you know, it's just so, it's like their, their ring is a little further up. There's a, I mean, I don't really want everybody to touch and hug me, John. I'm not always, I mean, eh, easy. Yeah. You know.

Um, but there is a way, there is a hug in the way you can talk and the way you can coach somebody in the way you can listen to somebody. I think often the biggest compliment you can give somebody is really being present and listening to what they're saying. And I go out sometimes with my wife and we are in a restaurant and I'm looking at the other people around there and I'm chatting with my wife and I'm looking at these young couples and they're both on their phone and I want to run over them. And just you're going to regret this, yeah. Stamp on our phones and tell her, you know, like you've got this wonderful vigor of youth that were amazing beauty and passion and all that energy. Just love being with each other, hold hands case, whatever, you know, that's going to be on the regret list of that next generation. I was on my I phone pad dot too much, you know. Yeah, no, I couldn't agree more.

Chapter 4

Staying in Touch

So the fourth regret that she identified was I wish I'd stayed in touch with my friends. Um, I'm back from a trip to London where I went to business school and it was the 25th anniversary of my graduation. So I'm kind of like getting a little hint of how old I am. And uh, it was fabulous to see these people that I had been students with 25 years ago and although I'd stayed in touch a little bit, but to spend the weekend with 'em and really find out what had happened. One of the challenges of staying in touch with your friends is that we have busy work lives and our place of employment demands a lot of energy. Um, and I think it's an eternal challenge between balancing the needs of our family, our friends and our workplace. But I kind of feel like, you know, if somebody special is from out of town, um, and you're only going to see them every couple of years, make that time to risk, you know, get a substitute in for your, your work or, you know, take vacation or whatever you need. Yeah. I mean, as somebody who owns the studio and has a fairly large staff, I would say, you know, I have a much, I, I'm, I'm, I have a much better staff when their lives are more rounded off, you know?

And so I think as we're guiding people along the way and you have a lot of people working for you, you're, you're probably doing the same as I'm doing, which is you're encouraging them to work hard, get the job done, do an excellent job at that, exceed that if they can, but also really enjoy their lives. Really make sure they're fulfilled in the other ways because if they're not, what they end up bringing to at work is, is, is less than. Um, so, so part of managing people is actually encouraging them I think too, to keep their life balanced. And for all the independent contractors out there teaching parties, you know, you guys are your own managers. So it's about, you know, finding that yourself and knowing, Hey, I've got to take a day off. You know, but just make sure you tell your boss with enough notice, I think a little bit when you, you know, you're working for yourself as an independent contractor, whether it's in pilot or another industry, you know, you have to allow yourself, I, okay, I am agreeing with myself. I'm going to work 30 hours a week.

So if you can fit it, if you can do your 30 hours and fit in your visit time with your friends and your family, I think you know, you, you can stop feeling guilty about it and actually enjoy being there. No, it's true. I mean, I had a question in a workshop I was teaching a couple of weeks ago in New York. Um, and the woman said to me, Kara, how do you teach teachers how to take good care of themselves? And, um, I mean, I, I gave her a whole bunch of, of ideas, um, all of what she was like, well, I do that and I do that. And I was like, you just have to stop giving yourself such a hard time about it all. Yeah.

Like if you make your 20 hours this week, I mean, it's catching go right. It's a touch and go situation teaching. So, um, so some of it is about finding the balance, but some of it is about, you know, when you work for yourself, you're probably the hardest on yourself and you have to back off a little bit and know it's, you gotta get the long picture. It's not the week, it's the year. It's not the year. It's the 10 years. Um, and, and back off a little bit from time to time. That'd be good advice for me to give myself John. Okay. Keep that in mind.

Chapter 5

Being Happy

Next time we have lunch, the fifth regret that she identified was, I wish that I'd let myself be happier.

What she interestingly talks about this, he says it's a very common regret that people have and that many people did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. Oh, you can choose the way that you see life and you can choose happiness. It's the choices that a lot of people get stuck in existing habits and keep on living life the same way. But you can make some kind of very small changes and become a lot happier with things. First of all, ice. Really, I'm a strong believer in, in creating the point of view of happiness, you know, really driving that home. Even even happiness in sorrow. I remember this quote, I used to say it all the time, it was a Joseph Campbell quote and it said joyously participating in the sorrows of life. And I, I mean, I, I think I like Joseph Campbell taught at my college. So I, I was like young when I learned that, but I remember it fascinating. I'm like, how would you actually joyously participate in sorrow? Huh?

And so I love that concept and I think when it comes to, to teaching PyLadies and being on the floor and being in this field or you know, any field really, but, but to, to the people I were talking to, there's, there's a way in which sometimes they, you know, you have these clients think they stay with you forever. You know, I have clients I've been seeing for 17 years. Um, and sometimes it gets stale, you know, sometimes you're like, okay, I don't want to see this person anymore. I was, I haven't had any conversation with somebody last night who said they broke up with one of their classes recently and I was like, good for you. Yeah. Good for you. Like you, you can move things around. You don't have to get stuck. And once you're feeling stuck, you're going to go to that, that, that said set of feelings that are or are not as as joyful. And so it's up to you to change that. You're actually not stuck. You just forgot that you need to change something.

And I think really we need to be doing that all the time. You know, like, this schedule is not working for me anymore. This client load is not working for me anymore. I want to be doing something, I want to go to the next place. Um, and then it's really about, you know, motivating confidence, finding mentors, finding ways about it, but that, um, that stuckness means you need to get moving. Yeah. I think one of the things that's easy to do is get stuck in the way that it used to work. So it might've worked at that particular point in your life, but whatever's happened has changed. You might have changed. Your environment's changed.

You maybe the people you've worked with the change and it's no longer the right place for you. But there's that inertia. It's very easy to kind of just keep on doing the same thing. Yeah. It's easy to keep on doing the same thing and it's really hard. Are Scary, I should say. Not Difficult but frightening to bust out and start a new yeah. And I have many colleagues in the industry right now, many colleagues who are out there waiting to kind of push onto their own a little bit more, you know, re identify, um, and create something new or um, go beyond what they, they already, um, are doing in their practice.

Maybe pick up a new skill set that they could add to it or collaborate with people that, um, and, and I think mostly the thing that holds people back is, is the fear of that. It's the fear of like, wow, I, you know, I've always worked for this organization doing this thing and I see all these people doing this thing on their own. How do I get there? You know? And I think the first step of getting there is just being willing to take the, as Pema children would say take the plunge, you know, you take the risk and then you find really good people who you admire who are doing that and you say, hey, how, how do you do that? I think often that first step in that journey might be the scariest one. But if you can identify like it's a small change and then you discover like, wow, that was good. I think the second step in the journey can get easier. And so you know, if you can like teach yourself and show to yourself that it's not as bad as you think. The Sky didn't fall because I changed, you know, whatever part of my work life it was.

Right. And sometimes economically you can't, you can't let go of something until you've built something new. I mean that would definitely be, have always been the case for me. I, I've never had any money in my pockets that I wasn't making. So what that meant for me is as I was trying to go to the next place, I had to double up for a little while, right? Yup. I had to make programming and create education platforms while I was still teaching 60 clients a week. I didn't get to stop teaching to go be creative and build stuff.

So sometimes you have to double up or double down however that phrase is used and, and um, and, and let it be revealed. And um, I don't know. I feel really like, I really like that message for people. I feel like you and I have had sort of the luck of the draw of just kind of doing that and, and finding our way. And I'm not even sure it's as easy for people as it was for in the moment where both you and I became entrepreneurs, but I, so I, I feel really, particularly in this conversation where we're talking to people about this concept of enjoying life and fulfillment is like, take the risk and, and be smart about it, but don't be afraid to get smarter, more, more awesome. Um, and ask for friends to help you along the way. Right? Yeah. It's hard to do alone. It's better.

It's better with friends. Everything's better with friends. Exactly.

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Comments

1 person likes this.
Beyond awesome conversation! As someone in her early 50s I now realize how quickly it all goes by. Blink and you miss it all. These are all important points for everyone to hear and embrace to nourish the whole person. Thanks very much!
What fun to share this conversation with the two of you, knowing you both as I do. Cara, I will never forget the dance you choreographed with the recurring phrase, "this is how I feel about the possibilities". Neil and I still say it to this day. And, John, I only felt love and warmth and caring from you, (even without hugging) as you coached me toward my "Joe Talk". We DO always have the choice of which end of the pole we pick up and our bodies DO respond to love. Big hug to you both!!
When I first saw this photo, I thought Cara was talking to Sting!!!
2 people like this.
I love this conversation- continuous learning is definitely one area that Pilates Anytime helps me with. I love that feeling when we have learned a new way of teaching something, and the whole day whizzes by! Being British- well thats me too, but I am a girl -so maybe the feelings/hugging bit is easier!!
1 person likes this.
I was interested in looking up the book Cara mentioned about touch - did anyone catch the reference? Thanks
3 people like this.
Great conversation! I remember back 15 years ago when I went from a full-time corporate job to part time so I could start to build my business. My parents were horrified at the fact that I was going to leave this corporate job. It was the best decision of my life and one I have never regretted. But I do remember at the time thinking I can't let my parents down. So many other things you talked about that really resonated with me. Such as, breaking up with a client or a class. I do have one particular client that I do believe I'm not helping anymore. And at 57, I no longer want to work Saturdays.... told myself this morning it's something that I need to figure out by the end of the year. Thank you so much for this great discussion. And yes!! John does bear a resemblance to Sting.
1 person likes this.
Linda Touch is by David Linden. Thanks for watching.
Debora Kolwey BIG HUGS TO YOU BACK. I heart you.
2 people like this.
THANK YOU FOR THIS ENLIGHTENING MESSAGE!!!
2 people like this.
Loved this discussion, I left a nursing career to teach pilates and I have never looked back . My parents always said to me , whatever makes you happy and fulfilled. X and hug cara and Martin !!!
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