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No Regrets

No Regrets

Every time I see “No Regrets” written I think of the guy who got “No Regerts” tattooed on his body. Of course, it is implied that when he learns of the misspelled tattoo, he will indeed regret it. In high school, my coaches would tell us players, don’t leave anything on the field, give it your all, have no regrets at the end of the game when you come back into the locker room. This usually did inspire me to give it my best and put my heart into it. I carried this mantra of have no regrets with me into my leadership positions when I started working.

The problem is every leader has regrets. No one can go through life as a leader doing everything right. You are dealing with many variables and shifting challenges. And, a wise leader will use their regrets to cultivate deeper insights and direction.

It turns out, according to a Cornell University psychologists’ survey our most enduring regrets are the ones that stem from our failure to live up to our ideal selves, not as much about what we have specifically done. The researchers found when it comes to our dreams and aspirations, when we fail to act on them, it is later in life we are filled with regret. In the short term, people regret their actions more than inactions, but in the long term, the inaction regrets stick around longer.

Steven Covey suggests, “begin with the end in mind.” When you retire, call it quits, or move to the next position, what do you want to accomplish in the end? Then work to accomplish the ends. Having a dream, vision and goals for your life is the starting point. Pursuing and accomplishing these gives a sense of purpose and internal drive. This is what separates you from others; the desire to lead well by adding value, having the aspiration to make a difference in others’ lives and yes, getting results.

Act despite knowing you will from time to time “drop the ball,” and come up short of your goals. Let your dreams and aspirations shape you. The pain to get there will give you clarity about what is important, the struggle will make you more humble, and the accomplishments will fill you with gratitude.  You will not “regert” it.

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