Avoiding regrets in business

As stated before in this column, I am a great fan of the writings of Dr Robert Brooks. In his latest monthly offering, he comments about regrets in life. Specifically, Brooks refers to the “phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom.”

If only we had done such and such is the common refrain. However, Brooks takes this theme one stage further.

Most of us still have time to take actions to address our current regrets in a realistic fashion. Regrets are part of the human experience, but if we are burdened by too many of them, there is a lessening of joy and satisfaction. It is for this reason that it is beneficial to embrace and apply the wisdom shared by dying patients about our own lives.

I often see this scenario played out when I sit down with my business clients. A typical conversation takes the following format (and I simplify somewhat).

  • (Me) What do you want to do?
  • (Client) I don’t know.
  • You sure?
  • Well, I could try XXXX
  • OK, how?
  • Well, by doing blah blah………(and then there is a sigh)
  • What’s wrong?
  • Well, it does not allow me to do……….
  • To do what?

And it is at this stage that the client blurts out a full explanation of what they want to do in life. Absolutely amazing every time. Frequently, the words are the basis for a business plan. Somewhere in the back of their minds, the client has been storing up enormous details about how to go about implementing what they really enjoy.

So what stops them moving ahead? Fear? Their partner in life? Lack of support? You name it.

My point is that so many of us end up stuck where we do not want to be. For example, I recently helped somebody map out a strategy for their business. Fine, clear and practical, agreed. And then I noticed “the sigh”. You see, as he finally admitted, he actually wanted to be in a different profession altogether.

It is over 30 years since the Monty Python team wrote the Lumberjack sketch, abandoning a desk job for roaming the countryside. It was considered a brilliant joke then. Maybe it is finally time to take their ideas seriously

We work in jobs, salaried or self-employed, when many of us wish to be elsewhere. Are you prepared to change?

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One Comment on “Avoiding regrets in business”


  1. […] nurse Bronnie Ware. Although, it was only last week when I mentioned Brooks’s discussion on “regrets” and business, I feel that this sentence is extremely powerful and needs further […]


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