Daniel Pink has a new book out called The Power of Regret. In it, he identifies 4 core types of regrets that people experience in their lives. As I read it, I was struck by how each kind can lead to people stalling out in their careers. They get stuck, bogged down in bad feelings about the past, and afraid to move forward.

Each type of regret can cause a different version of “stuck.”

Over the next few days, I’m going to share each of these and the ways that my clients move through them. Read this blog post and the 3 that follow or watch the video below for all 4 types of regret in one sitting!


Foundation Regrets

According to Pink, Foundation Regrets come from not preparing for the future. It could be something big, like choosing to study accounting instead of art. Or it could be more day-to-day, like not preparing enough for a presentation to senior leadership. Both of these can hold you back in your career.

Living in the regret that you chose the wrong career path can leave you feeling miserable. You dwell on what could have been, and how much better your life would be if you’d chosen a different path. Looking in the rearview mirror can keep you from looking forward. There’s a helplessness to it – the feeling that you made the wrong choice and now you’re stuck with that decision.

I don’t think that has to be true.

My clients have found there are many ways to incorporate what you love into their lives. We work together to harvest the information that’s in the regrets – about what they love, what they want, what excites them. Then we use that to identify how they can pull those things into their lives – whether that’s at work, or in projects they take on outside of work. They may not choose to quit their accounting jobs to become full-time artists, but they do find ways to bring their love of beauty and expression into their day-to-day lives.

For the everyday regrets, like not preparing enough for a big presentation, rather than living in regret and self-recrimination, we focus on understanding why it happened. Usually, when someone has under-prepared, there’s some underlying anxiety they’re facing about the task. The anxiety leads them to avoidance – they avoid thinking about the presentation, working on it, practicing. Then, the inevitable happens – their negative prediction that it wouldn’t go well actually comes true. Sadly, that sets the stage for next time, feeding into the anxiety and denial even more.

That’s why, in helping clients build executive presence, I start with addressing anxiety directly. My clients learn to identify when they’re anxious or avoiding something. Then we give them specific tactics for moving through it, so they can do their best work.

If your regrets about the past are keeping you from moving forward in your career, let’s talk. You can book a call with my team here. We’ll help you unpack those regrets and create the next chapter in your career that makes up for lost time. You can book that call at https://www.zmcoach.com/apply.

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