“regret: feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity”
Life, simplified, is about opportunities, decisions and consequences. This is the bottom line. There’s no way around it. Life is about navigating. Our lives are large ships on the sea. We guide our ship or we’re tossed and turned anytime we encounter winds, storms or smooth seas. Maps (opportunities), setting the course (decisions) and consequences (destination). Ultimately, we reach our destination, go off course or ship wreck. Theres nothing more exhilarating and fulfilling than to reach our destination finishing well, courageous and strong.
Opportunities and decisions always yield consequences, either by reward or penalty. Reward empowers and penalty stings. So, the question creeping in the shadows is ‘how do I deal with regret’? Even with great finishes we look back over our shoulders and wonder “what if I had only…..”
Regret is a part of our lives, regardless. So, how we deal with regret determines our outlook for the next opportunity, decision and consequence. Regret works for me and you or we work for regret. Regret can be a cruel task master or a world-class coach and visionary. It all depends on how we handle and utilize regret.
The Pain. Pain is a double-edged sword. It can wound and disable or empower and strengthen. I have a friend named John. He is a decorated Special Forces Operator. John is a force to be reckoned with anytime, anywhere. When you see him walking toward you he literally looks like the Hulk. No exaggeration. There’s a reason for that, he has made pain work for him. He didn’t let pain dictate to him the rest of his course, no! John used pain to his advantage, and for it, he is a champion in every sense of the word. Regret is painful. Make regret pain work for you.
The Patterns. “Patterns make the man and in like manner, the man makes the patterns.” There are two patterns we have as men when dealing with regret.
- we are frustrated, stalemated in static tension and rehearsal of “what ifs” and failures
- we refocus, correct course, choose a new path
Here’s the interesting effect. Regret is also an initiator. It’s a catalyst. Catalysts precipitate change. Either way, a path is chosen. Take the high road, the one less traveled. You have in you greatness that is yet to be discovered. Don’t sell yourself short. As you look over your shoulder, there are two things that are behind you, your past and those that follow you…….your children and your wife. Never forget that you are a leader and you will transfer who you are and what you are to those who follow you. Make the wise choice, lead well, lead strong, lead with love.
The Partners. Know this, you can’t make this journey on your own. Again, choose well. Those people you surround yourself with (aside from your wife and children, first) will determine your success. Look for the battle scared warriors, the ones who have failed forward, yet got up and dusted themselves off and carried on, course corrected. Partner with the men who with quiet resolve, use wisdom, knowledge, discernment, understanding, insight and discretion in every process of life. Men who capitalize on opportunities, make well calculated decisions and have a track record of success.
Success is not always winning, success is always living a life of recalibration and celebration.
Dealing With Regret
- Stop the blame game. We are, most of the time our own worst critic and toughest on ourselves. Doubting ourselves for any period of time drains confidence and courage. Take responsibility for the decision. Assess, learn and move forward, course corrected. As men, we have the distinct responsibility to lead. That means lead ourselves first. #bestrongandcourageous
- Reframe the failure. Stop talking to yourself so much. This is a place to listen to trusted, experienced men who can help us in seeing the total picture and not just one we see from our own perspective. We tend to rehearse. There is a definite difference between rehearsing and reviewing. Rehearsals of failure can strengthen our weaknesses. Review or mapping, and then continue on the next leg of the journey.
- Eyes on the horizon. There are places, people and opportunities that we can not see, experiences and relationships that have yet to encounter only from the place that we are at the present. They all are on the horizon. Don’t miss the horizon because that is where the sun sets and rises, that is the place where the stars and the planets appear helping us navigate. Look out and look up.
Purpose. Identity. Sonship. Legacy.