Did you get enough turkey this Thanksgiving? Was your dinner a feast for the eyes and for your stomach? I hope so. Mine was. I hope you enjoyed your holiday and were grateful for the day and the people who were with you. Gratitude is one emotion that is like good food for your soul. Then there’s that other emotion– regret. That emotion is not good for your health or your business. See if you agree with me.
I know a business woman who works very hard. She’s smart and talented. Yet, she seems to make decisions that she later regrets. She makes decisions about how to spend her time after work. She makes decisions about her work projects. She makes all kinds of decisions. She seems to be doing well at work. Her life is full and she has friends. Why does she seem to regret so many of her decisions?
I started wondering what that was all about. Maybe she was just wanting to vent and hear another point of view. I wasn’t going to play. Why? I think regret is a waste of time. I think you should make decisions after gathering what you think is the information that you need. If you need to talk to mentors, friends or family to make your decision, then you should. That’s part of the decision making process. Or, if you don’t need to talk to anyone, you go with your gut. Then you decide what you need to do and do it.
Some decisions will turn out well. Others won’t. That shouldn’t surprise you one bit. If you’ve done all you could do before making the decision, what good is regretting the decision’s outcome? Regret does nothing for you other than to change your focus to what’s done, gone and over instead of moving on. Why would anyone waste time on that? I don’t and I don’t understand why others do. That’s what I told this woman.
Is that too strong? I don’t think so. I hope you’re not thinking that my decisions always turn out well. They certainly don’t. I’ve made some decisions that I would do differently in the future. There are some deals that I said “no” to that I would say “yes” to if asked again. There are other deals that I said “yes” to and would say “no” to if done again. Did I regret these decisions? No. I just learned some good lessons that I can use when I make new decisions going forward.
In business you don’t have the luxury of regretting what you’ve done. Woe is me cannot be part of your vocabulary. Every time you look back and pity yourself, you are taking away from your energy to move forward. You are allowed to say that you’ll do some things different in the future. You can’t stay stuck in the past.
Warren Buffet said, “In the business world, the rear view mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” He’s right. That’s the reality that gives you and me permission to skip regret.