I think we have all heard this very interesting question…if you knew then what you know now what would you change? My answer…NOTHING! I learned a LONG time ago to stop living with regrets. I appreciate the journey that business, life, and even love has taken me and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Now let me make this point. I do think that you should be constantly evaluating which takes looking over some of your successes, missteps, and adventures. Yes, you might find a mistake or two but the idea is to live and learn and NOT live with regret.
See, we must understand that business (and life) is a staircase; one step always leads to another and then another. If you skip a step, which I have done in real life (ouch), you always seem to land a little ‘off’; you’re looking around to see who saw you almost bust your butt, your ankle is twisted, and if you are a little dramatic like my younger sister you might even limp off. That exact thing happens in business; when you overlook one of the ever so important steps* you are sure to lose your footing. If you truly look back and reflect (not regret) then you will find that you needed those exciting (rolls eyes) late nights, you needed to lose that one client, and the financial sacrifice wasn’t so bad.
So what do I propose?
Have a short term memory: I attribute this lesson to my dad. He told me once sometimes in situations you just need to remember it in the moment and then forget about it. Looking back is something we always do so the best way to get past your feelings of regret is to talk about it for 5 minutes and then give it no more energy. If you are talking with someone else then just let them know that you are done. Eventually you will get to a point where you will no longer need that buffer time.
Write it down: As you move through business you will find some practices and rituals that will have a special meaning to you and I think this one might help. If you ever find yourself reflecting and you begin to doubt or regret….write down your regret(s), fold up the paper, take it outside and light the sucker up. Yes, I said it. Have a bowl burning ceremony. It doesn’t have to be deep or dramatic but just release those negative pieces. IF you are for the drama then invite all your best business pals over so that they can participate in the ceremony with you. Ironically, you will find this to be a healing process but also revealing of the next step or two in your staircase.
The idea of living retrospectively is only great for the Farmer’s Almanac and we should always be pressing forward. We’ve read the Tortoise & the Hare a million times but understand the tortoise didn’t win because he made all the fastest moves but because he was consistent, moved at the pace that was best for him, and didn’t get distracted in what he could have done better along the way.
Live, Love, Learn…and Laugh while doing it!
Kia Jarmon is a brand strategist and PR coach with boutique public relations firm, The MEPR Agency, based in Nashville, TN. She speaks, blogs, mentors, and is soon to be an author. You can find more information at her personal brand site, www.KiaJarmon.com.