By Kia Jarmon of MEPR Agency for 12th & Broad
I think we have all heard this very interesting question…if you knew then what you know now what would you change? My answer is NOTHING! I would do it the exact same way. When I started my business two weeks after I graduated from Belmont I knew more about business then I did about public relations. I was naïve enough to believe it would work and almost ten years later, it has.
I learned a long time ago that I didn’t want to live in my past. What I could have, should have, would have done differently. Instead, I wanted to keep moving forward, with no 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 but not live with constant sorrow for the decisions you have made.
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. We tend to overanalyze our every move when it may just be healthier to set it and forget it. An exercise that I use to work through those times when I want to have a pity party is to give myself five minutes to get all of the frustration out—it may be best to write it down—and then never dwell on it again. Eventually you will get to a point where you may no longer need that buffer time.
Write it down: As you move through business (and life) 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 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.
Cheers to living with no regrets!