You are not your 2am conversations; not your 3am nightmares; not your 4am regrets – Mark Dimaisip
I don’t mind telling you that the fall in the price of oil was harder on business than I would like to admit.
Or that I miss the energies created by surrounding myself with a powerful team.
Or that I am often awake at 4:00.
So maybe that is why Mark Dimaisip’s poem resonated with me, as did the Hidden Brain podcast episode on regret.
Everyone has regrets. Some say, regret is the most common negative emotion that we talk about. Amy Summerville, who runs the Regret Lab at Miami University in Ohio, says ‘we ruminate thoughts that spring unwanted to mind and we chew them over without getting anything new out of them, they’re just repeatedly, intrusively, becoming part of our mental landscape’.
We don’t have time to rehash my personal regrets – besides that is why they invented rye – but I would like to touch on my 3 greatest leadership regrets I ruminate on at 4:00AM
- Anger – I’ve written about this personal failing before and I don’t understand where this comes from. I have a temper that can flash and lash out given the right set of triggers. I have learned how to manage it, but I know that when it has happened it diminished me, my leadership, my organization and my people.
I have learned to be more aware of situations that may trigger the flash and to try to excuse myself, walk away and disengage.
- Mediocrity – Far too many times in my life I have allowed people to push me towards mediocrity. As leaders, we know what the right thing to do is, yet people and systems cause us to settle on a place where nobody is happy.
People pleasing does nothing but create soup sandwiches … a mess where no one is satisfied.
- Kindness – The business decisions I regret the most are the ones I where I wish I had acted out with more kindness. Too often I made decisions based on what I, or bosses, or the mission demanded without humanity and care for the people impacted.
I know some of the decisions I have made hurt people. That doesn’t make them wrong or even bad decisions.
But I do wish I could get mulligans on them to allow me to be more honest, kind and generous with the people impacted.
Your leadership experience would most certainly be happier with less anger, less mediocrity and more kindness.
Happiness is a choice focused on the positives, self-awareness and deliberate practice of purposeful and thoughtful actions.
Ambition and success will not lead to a life of fewer regrets because by thinking about what’s next and raising the bar ever higher you will get caught up in what you don’t have.
Be mindful and purposeful of the opportunities that are right in front of you.