It's Just Data
It seems regret is a master at mustering up pain. Few experiences pass by without some form of regret creeping in. From as harmless as regretting our decision to not pack the night before a trip to as heartbreaking as allowing our ego to keep us from saying goodbye to a loved one we never get to see again; regret is a reality we all deal with.
Some just do it much better than others.
No one is immune to regret. We all experience things we ‘wish’ we would’ve done. And, occasionally, we will regret things we did do. Though, the regrets of omission seem to far out number the regrets of commission.
So, what is it that allows some to move forward with seemingly no acknowledgement of regret while others are practically crippled by it?
The answer is simple, yet incredibly difficult. Easy to identify, tough to execute.
Why Should We Care?
Regrets are always tied to a desired outcome, usually one we didn’t achieve, get, or conquer. The moment we realize we won’t reach a specific, tangible result we are longing for, the first place we turn is to regret.
The little voice inside us starts judging every step we took along the way to see what could’ve led to this seeming failure. We leave no stone unturned until we are fully consumed by the potential of what could’ve been.
Those that handle regret well, don’t even acknowledge it as regret. They tend to view it for what it actually is - just data. That perspective, however, is only possible with a shift to an identity tied to growth rather than achievement.
As long as achievement is the barometer, regrets will rule.
When growth begins to be the focus, regrets become simple data points.
Growth is process-oriented, tied to results and achievement only through the execution of the chosen process. If the process doesn’t yield the desired results, we simply modify the process. That’s it. No excuses needed.
We knew from the start that the process would never be perfect and would require persistent care and massaging. A seeming failure, that could cause serious regret, now simply becomes information that gets you one step closer to a better process.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
This all may sound obvious, but it’s not. We get so consumed in striving and achieving that we cling to regrets and mistakes, or worse yet, try to hide them all together. The freedom that comes from a commitment to the process is liberating. Here are a few ideas to help you find that freedom.
The blueprint for excellence isn’t nearly as sexy as most would want it to be. Those that closing in on excellence realize the emotional nature of regret and consistently cling to the indifferent nature of simple data each outcome provides.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.