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Regrets? I've had a few

Regrets? I've had a few

Nicola Hopes

20 April 2021

As most parts of the UK start to tentatively come out of lockdown, the joy of a haircut and a beer garden seems to be tempered with some wistful looking back and wondering. A faint whiff of regret.

I’m hearing a lot of sentences that start with:

“If only I’d re-done the patio in lockdown because we’ll be entertaining outside for a while yet.”
“If only we’d bought a cocktail trolley / bar earlier.”
“If only I’d de-cluttered the kitchen...”

And there are regrets aplenty in the workplace too. I’m hearing rueful managers every day wringing their hands about how they should have used this time better to invest in their leadership skills or train their team in agile techniques.

Do any of those tinges of regret sound familiar?

But before you hastily run around the house clutching items and asking yourself if they spark joy (and wondering if that’s ever really possible with a potato masher!) …

…take a deep breath and ask yourself what those regrets are telling you.

The things that feel like missed opportunities right now are telling you a lot about your priorities going forward.

What’s really worth spending your time on? And, just as importantly, what has happily fallen by the wayside?

We can’t turn back time, but we can choose to learn from those regrets.

Then we can take a lead from Frozen – and let it go!

A moment of clarity

So, as I’ve been doing with some clients recently, you can ask yourself:

1. What’s the one thing I wish I’d asked the team to focus on? What would be the outcome if they did? How would we know if we achieved it?

2. What’s the key skill I wish I’d invested in – either for me or my team?

• Is it a universal skill for right now like emotional intelligence? If so, you can read more about that in a previous article here.

• Or is there a benefit in investing in managing change differently given the tighter budgets we’re now working to?

3. What’s the key project I’d love to have delivered? Why? How could I deliver it now?

Don’t let what could be a hard lesson in priorities go by.

That way, when the next big milestone comes this year – 2nd jab? Holiday? Being in a group larger than 6? – it’ll spark joy and not regret.

In case you’re wondering, I decided to keep the potato masher. Who doesn’t need carbs right now?

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