What is one type of event that for many people sparks a reflection of their life, and an audit of their actions? I am sure you guessed it. I attended a funeral this week, and it was a wonderful celebration of the life of an amazing man. As I always do at funerals, I reflected on my life. Life is such a fragile and temporary thing, so I stopped to assess my own, and ask myself if I am living my best life. It was the catalyst for an immediate action audit.

What do I mean by action audit? I don’t think I need to explain what I mean by ‘action’, however there are different interpretations of the word ‘audit’. The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary has two definitions:

  1. A formal examination of an organization’s or individual’s accounts or financial situation
  2. A methodical examination and review

Let’s go with definition number two, a methodical examination and review. Before I dive into this, seemingly complex subject, I want to discuss my mentor’s philosophy on life. She simplifies it beautifully. The subject of death can either be a morbid and depressing one or, depending on how you look at it, an empowering and life-changing one. You see, it is a certainty. We will all get to the end. When we do, and as we are lying on our deathbed, what will we be thinking about as we reflect on the life we lived. Will it be joy and gratitude, or will it be sadness and regret? Will we be saying I am glad I did, or I wish I had? How you determine the answer, will be reflected in your action audit.

My mentor puts it this way. We are born on a certain date, and we die on a certain date. When you look at a headstone or these dates when referring to someone who has passed, their life is represented as a dash. For example, John Smith lived 24/09/1943 – 12/11/2019. She says, it’s all about the dash. If you are reading this, you are part way through your dash. How is it going? Are you happy with you? Are you doing things that light you up? Are you spending enough time with people you care about? Are you focused on the most important things? These are important questions to ponder because, whether you like it or not, at some point that end date will arrive, and none of us know when that will be. That being the case, I suggest that right now is the time to do an action audit.

Too many of us, me included, think our dash will last forever. It won’t. Too many people, me included, think that tomorrow is the best time to start on a course of action. It’s not. The length and quality of our dash is 100% determined by the actions we take in each and every moment. Yes, that means now. If we look at the definition of audit, it states that it’s a methodical examination and review. At the moment, you are reading this blog, so if you were to examine and review that particular action, you would get a thumbs up. Well done.

Let’s do an examination and review of your actions over the last 24 hours and see how we go. What food and drink choices did you make? What communication actions did you take? What financial choices did you make? What TV, social media, or reading actions did you take? What personal growth actions did you take? What business growth actions did you take? What relationship building actions did you take? What self-care actions did you take?

As you think about each action, the audit part is to review whether it enhanced your dash, or it eroded it. Let me say this again. Each action you take will enhance your dash or erode it. There is no plateau or status quo. Based on your actions or inactions, as the case may be, your dash is either getting longer and joy-filled, or it’s getting shorter and regret-filled. I wish I had spent time auditing my actions earlier in my life. If I had, maybe I wouldn’t have been sacked as a professional athlete, experienced three divorces, or lost money in business. The great news for me, and for you, is that despite our past, we can start auditing, reviewing, and changing our actions right now.

In my podcast this week called Wellness without weirdness, I speak with Jenn Trepeck about how we can audit and modify actions that will affect our wellbeing and longevity. It is an awesome conversation. The deal is, my friend, you have only one life, one dash, and it is a limited one. What you do in each moment will determine the life you live. So, please, for your own sake and that of the people you care about most, take the time to audit your actions and make the necessary changes.