You are not your 2 am conversations;

not your 3 am nightmares;

not your 4 am regrets

Mark Dimaisip

I don’t mind telling you that business could always be better.

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 emotion.

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 for all of my regrets; besides that is why they invented rye.

But I would like to touch on my three leadership regrets that run rampant in my mind at 4:00 AM

1. Anger

I have a temper that given the right set of triggers can flash and lash out.

I’ve written about this and that I don’t understand from where it comes.

I know that when it happens, it diminished me, my leadership, my organization, and my people.

I have learned how to manage it by being more aware of situations that may trigger the flash and to try to excuse myself, walk away, and disengage.

Read More About Not Being An Ass

2. 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.

And when we settle, nobody is happy.

People-pleasing only creates soup sandwiches, a mess where no one is satisfied.

Read More About Soup Sandwiches

3. 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, our bosses or the mission demanded.

Decisions made 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 a few where I could have been more honest, kind, and generous.

Read More About Kindness

Final Thoughts

My experience tells me that your leadership experience would most certainly be happier with less anger, less mediocrity, and more kindness.

Happiness is a choice.

Focus on the positives.

Be self-aware.

Practice deliberate, purposeful, and thoughtful actions.

Understand that ambition and success will not lead to a life of fewer regrets.

Don’t get caught up in what you don’t have.

Be mindful and purposeful of the opportunities that are right in front of you.

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