This past week I had the opportunity to have a leisurely talk with my sister as she works through a major life decision. Her number one fear as she debates? Regret.
We all live in FEAR of it. But really….dig deep. Think about all the times you feared you’ll regret a decision vs. the number of times you actually did. I’d like to bet you never truly and deeply regretted a single decision in your life. Even the terrible ones.
Need a couple examples for this to sink in? Ok. Game on! Here’s a couple life decisions I allowed myself to fear regretting as I hemmed & hawed over them–
- My College Major: Business to Business Sales.
- THE FEAR: What if it’s too specific? What if I end up hating it? Will people even know what this major means?
- THE REALITY: Even though I ended up only spending 3 years in true sales, I actually view my major as one of the best decisions I ever made! There’s not a point in my life where I won’t be selling an idea. The skills I learned in communication, influence, tying the product or service back to what the client actually needs, etc. have been invaluable.
- My Marital Age: barely 22.
- THE FEAR: What if I’m too young? What if it ends up tanking my career because we have kids too early? I broke up with the poor guy (my now husband of 8 ½ years) about every other week before we got engaged.
- THE REALITY: I savored having a partner to support and be supported by throughout my 20s. We had to figure out how to buy a home, get out of debt, make career decisions, parent our doggie children, train for Ironmans…the list goes on. Those decisions were much easier with him by my side. I cannot imagine making it through my 20s without this man as my husband.
- My Third Job: Quitting It.
- THE FEAR: How will we pay the bills with 35% less income? What if I miss the Corporate America structure? What if I miss my team? Will another corporation ever hire me again? Am I being impulsive?
- THE REALITY: I actually love not spending so much money on clothes, a personal trainer, eating out and so forth just trying to keep up with the Jones’. I adore coaching my clients and cheering them on in their victories! I love getting to go to a workout class at my gym in the middle of the day if I feel like it. I love being more present for my parents as they approach their final chapter. I savored meeting my sister in Woodbury on a random Thursday afternoon to talk through our major life decisions together. I feel like I’m living my values for the first time in a long time.
Now I’m not saying I never have any regrets. I’m just saying we should all give our FEAR of them a firm reality check. Because in reality the regret we end up experiencing usually comes more in the form of a small pinch or pang than the punch we waste time bracing for. And they last about as long as a pin prick does—only one hot second.
Of course, I wonder what my life had been like had I majored in social work or psychology. Or I wonder what my career might have been like if I hadn’t met my husband until I was 30 (that one genuinely terrifies me because we may have never met since I was a workaholic). And I do miss leading a team of people on the regular.
But the actual regret is only a tiny fraction, a mere pin prick! It’s not at all the full punch straight to the gut regret feeling I feared.
We are a resilient, adaptive and positive-seeking species! We make the decision and then we move forward choosing to see the best in what comes out of it.
So let’s all start RISKING REGRET instead of living in fear of it.
QUESTION OF THE POST: What’s something you FEAR you will regret? Something that’s holding you back right now from moving forward?
I’ll get real vulnerable here (per usual). I fear I’ll regret really actually and FULLY going for it in this coaching business. What if I try really hard and I still fail? What if I put myself out there and no one wants to work with me? What if I spend my time on something that doesn’t work? What if people laugh at me and say “Ooo. What a failure! Look! Shannon Schottler failed!” LOL, but seriously…this is my fear.
But you know what? I’m GOING FOR IT ANYWAY.
I know deep in my soul that this is the work I want to do more than anything else. This is the work I was meant for. I genuinely love every minute I spend with my clients helping them define, transform and live THEIR best career, marriage, friendships…their best LIFE. And even if I do somehow end up failing it will feel more like just a pinch than the punch that I fear. And let’s be real…I won’t fail because it’s all in how you define success.
So quit your job (responsibly).
Make that move across country.
Put your profile online and go DATE.
Start that business.
Risk regretting the financial hardship. Risk regretting moving away from family and friends. Risk regretting the pain of putting yourself out there. Risk failing miserably and having to tell everyone how you failed.
Because the actual regret will feel so much smaller than what you’re imagining it to be. I guarantee it.