Do you ever reflect and realize you didn’t accomplish something you wanted to?
I don’t regret much in my life. I have one big exception to that—when my mouth says something before my brain realizes I’ve even said anything. (Some of us extroverts have the mouth-engage-before-brain problem. Infrequently, introverts also have this problem.) If I realize what I said, I then check—do I need to apologize? If so, I try to do so, right then and there.
However, I rarely regret my actions, especially those actions that help me achieve my goals.
I work hard to make sure I continue to progress in all the dimensions I want to improve. I don’t want to regret anything I did—or did not—do.
However, several people I recently met have regretted actions they didn’t take. “I wish I could write like you,” one of them said. “I really wish I started to write years ago.”
“Why not start now?” I asked.
“Because you’ve had all this practice.”
I said, “If you start now, you can catch up to me. And since you’re younger, you can surpass me.”
The person didn’t like that. However, what happens when this person reflects a year or ten down the road? Will they regret their decision now?
It’s the same idea for any goal or achievement. There’s one big problem: you have the pleasure and responsibility to make a choice.
What Do You Choose to Accomplish?
We each choose what to achieve or accomplish. I chose to set goals for my play (hobbies) and my work.
In my youth, I experimented with textile “arts”: crochet, needlepoint, and embroidery. I got good enough and then decided I didn’t want to do any more of those projects. I moved to other kinds of hobbies.
That was about the time I started professional work. I chose jobs that challenged me. I also chose physical goals that challenged me.
I had fun at my jobs and on those long-ago bicycling vacations. I decided I wanted more responsibility and chose roles that offered me more responsibility.
When I became a consultant, I realized that consulting required more achievements than I had. I learned professional speaking and writing.
I’m quite fortunate. I have many years of practice (with feedback) so I’ve accomplished much. I have many more goals.
That’s why I take a long-term view, as I wrote in Where Do You Want to Be Long-Term, Say in 50 Years? I choose where to spend my time and energy.
I choose where to focus my accomplishments. What do I want to teach, or write, or learn?
I don’t want to look back and regret anything I did or didn’t do. (I might still regret my big mouth!)
Consider what you want to accomplish. When do you need to start so that you can achieve that thing? What else do you need to create that achievement? You might need a class, coaching, or even just informal guidance by someone who’s been there and done that.
Or you don’t need anything from anyone else. All you need to do is start. That starting piece might challenge you the most.
Choose what you want to accomplish. Start now, so you don’t regret anything you didn’t do.
You might enjoy some of my online workshops:
- If you want to write, please see the Q2 2021 writing workshop.
- Mark Kilby and I released a new self-paced hiring workshop: How to Discover, Interview, and Hire Amazing Remote People.
And, the big announcement: The Modern Management Made Easy books are done and out everywhere. Yay!
Read More of Create an Adaptable Life
- The previous CAL newsletters
- My Books
- My Online Workshops
- Managing Product Development Blog
- Johanna’s Fiction
Till next time, Johanna
- When Can You Recognize and Avoid the Trap of Either/Or Thinking?
- Are You Yak-Shaving or Creating More Value?