I have a son who has a generous heart, a gentle soul and a sense of humor that is wicked smart. He makes me smile with the type of smile that builds from deep inside like nothing else in my life.
I get to live in, arguably, one of the greatest cities in the world and feel fortunate to have grown up here. I have traveled the world and had experiences that very few have had.
My friends, family and clients come to me for help with their most difficult challenges and confide in me about their most guarded fears so I can help them better enjoy their work and life. That people I care about and respect trust me to be in their corner is an honor.
I live in a time where the only limit to what I can achieve is how brave I can be at attempting things even when they scare me to my core.
I often forget to think about how lucky that makes me because I always want more or obsess about what could/should have been. I am doing myself a disservice. Human nature is a tough opponent.
I can hear you… Why, Howard, are you telling us this in this article where you are supposed to be talking about business, strategy, marketing, etc…?
Fair question. My answer? The conversations we are having about our businesses and our lives are coming from the wrong place. They always yearn for more because we are unhappy with where we are. We rarely stop to appreciate how far we have come, what it took to get here and what we have right now. We think that striving for more is a badge of honor. That we are being measured by others against how they perceive our hustle.
We look back with regret about what we could have done instead of what has been achieved, learned and experienced.
Regret is a choice. We choose it too often.
I have had significant professional and personal failures that have caused me to lose (almost) everything three different times in my career and, in those moments, think I cannot catch the “big break.” That I am, unlucky. I catch myself replaying these failures in my mind and thinking about what I could have done to have changed those bad outcomes. That activity has zero value.
These stories of perceived failure, and the meaning we have given them, is a choice we make alone. Since it is a choice, then we can choose what those stories actually mean to us. We can also choose to look back and remember all the successes.
No, I do not live in a magical world filled with only laughter and Unicorns. I doubt you do as well. There is unimaginable tragedy in life. Moments of profound pain. Long periods of sustained stress and worry.
Given that, do me a favor and humor me…. Grab a piece of paper and write down everything you have achieved so far. No setbacks or regrets. Just what you have achieved in your life and your career. Go as far back as you will let yourself. How lucky or fortunate do you feel when you read it? If not, why do you choose to see it that way? How could you see it differently?
Once you have your list, put it in your phone or on a piece of paper so you can read it each morning. Think about the lessons you learned from it all. How lucky are you?
Then, and only then, spend some quality time thinking about what you truly want from and for your business. What you want it to do to support the life you want. If you were not so hard on yourself about when you want it all, what could you do today, this week, this month and this year to make it real?
Many small steps, each with purpose, that are all treated as experiences and lessons.