I don’t generally deal in the currency of regret. I struggle to think of any other emotional pastime more useless, futile and unproductive. Unless you count the 12 months I spent longing, no pining for Inter Milan super hero Nicola Berti after a stint living in Italy during the early 90’s.
But I digress…
Regrets. We talk about them, we analyse them, feel the need to do our penance when things stuff up as they invariably do when humans are involved. A quick yet by no means exhaustive scan of the web reveals what most of us wish we hadn’t done; getting a tattoo, not spending enough time with family or friends, choosing the “wrong” name for a child, smoking, not exercising enough. You name it, it’s out there.
My own regrets? Like I said, it’s not my currency but at a pinch, I’d have to say convincing my mum to let me get a perm when I was 12, cutting off all of my long dark hair and dying it blonde to “fit in” with my T.V colleagues and wearing a denim mini skirt with knee high boots (in the not too distant past I might add). That’s it. That’s all I got.
It’s not that I think I’ve always made the right decisions. I haven’t. It’s just that I’ve chosen how I’m going to live, and one of those choices involves learning from my mistakes as quickly as I can, then leaving them behind.
In business, we don’t have the time to impale ourselves on an emotional stake of regret every time something heads south.
Exhibit A. Last year, we came very close to winning a particular job, a very large job and one that I was quite hungry for. We didn’t. And I celebrated with the mother of all pity parties. My good friend and mentor Mark asked me… “Gem, how would you be reacting right now if you business was five times bigger than it currently is?” I blinked. I processed. I responded.
“I’d wipe my hands of it and leave it behind,”
He smiled at me and I got it. You see folks, perspective is a powerful thing. Equally as powerful as regret but the difference is one will propel you forward and the other will hold you back. Make no mistake. If you choose (and it IS a choice) to live in a place of regret your business will never rise above that level.
So do what I did with the perms, the denim mini, and the bad hair cuts and bleached blonde locks. Leave ‘em behind baby, leave ‘em behind.