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Lessons From Regret

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The content of this recording is copyrighted by Sandler Systems, LLC. All rights reserved.

Transcript

Glenn Mattson
Welcome everyone! Today is season four, episode five of Building Blocks of Success. Today we're going to be taking a look at when we look over our shoulder, when we look behind us, and when we look at the past. How do we take what we've done, and learn from it and not have regret? So, today's conversation is about regret. Come on the journey and learn how to have lessons from regret and how to let go of regret. Let's take a good journey and have a conversation. 

Glenn Mattson
You know, it's interesting, I was lucky enough years ago to have been blessed to have coached the same children, same kids over many, many, many years. As a lacrosse coach, they were four or five years old all the way right up until they were entering into high school. Having the ability to see these individuals grow and become young men has been really, really really one of the special things in my life. As we take this building blocks of success episode today, I'm looking at episode five on regret, I want to share with you a conversation I had with a few of these individuals. When I was coaching, I would tell you that my skill set was not necessarily the strongest thing in the world and teaching them how to play lacrosse. My skill set and the strength I had was having them believe in themselves that they can play lacrosse, to take risks, to have confidence to have the courage to learn from failure, all the things that we're talking about in our podcast. However, in the world of sports and the world of lacrosse. As these kids became older and became young boys and then young men became men, we've had a relationship that has transcended over 15,16 years. Many of them when they go to college, come back and of course, many of those individuals are friends of my son. Today I wanted to share with you some reflection on a conversation that I had that as you start to listen in, maybe you can hear your own world, in this conversation, maybe you can hear yourself even in some of this dialogue. 

Glenn Mattson
We were sitting down and having a drink, doesn't make a difference, if it was a beer or a glass of wine or an iced tea, we were just sitting down chatting, and there were about six of us. There's five of them and myself and they were sharing with me where they've moved to, some of the job changes they had, and as always, which is a blessing I believe, is that they started to ask questions. The questions were things like, you know, hey coach, what happens if we're leaning into a job and yet, we're not getting satisfaction from it? What happens if we feel like we're being abused or used at work and they're working us too hard, right? I'm putting in long hours but I'm not getting recognized, or I love what I do, so should I keep staying at the same place? Or should I say potentially look at moving from one position to another? 

Glenn Mattson
So, as we started talking about all these what ifs, things that are common questions that you have, either early on in your career or maybe some of you are having it now. Right? They were asking about working hard, or working for somebody else, or working for yourself. When do you take risks and what happens if you're not happy? What happens if your belly button says one thing, and yet you're doing something different? We had really great conversations. As we started going through the conversation, I found myself leading and having a chat with them about decision-making and decision-making around their personal lives and their career. The thought process of understanding how to make a decision and how to own your decisions, and with that comes, one of the things that popped up was regret. 

Glenn Mattson
One of the young men mentioned that he didn't want to regret making the wrong decision. We had a lengthy conversation about decision-making, and how decision-making is part of regret and part of regret is part of decision-making. But they are very different. So come on this journey with me as we start to talk about decision-making, about the lessons and learning that we have, and what regret is, and, hopefully, that in the time that I'm going to share with you today, you're going to learn some things maybe that you can utilize moving forward. Again, it's around regret.

Glenn Mattson
So, let's talk about a few things first, okay, so we got to look at decision making because decision making, we've looked at regret 76% of all business owners have regret for sure 88% of all business owners will tell you they regret they didn't have a business plan earlier on in their career. So, regret is not something that is negative or is only just with the people that didn't make it right. So, let's take a look at regret, because regret, by definition, is really looking at the outcome or a decision that was made, and you're hoping that something was done differently, a different decision was made, or maybe I shouldn't have tried it. So, let's take a look at what this means for a second. But before we do that, we have to look at really what decision-making is. So, decision-making is something that we do 1000s of times a day, right, we first wake up and we have the snooze button, that's our first decision, right? You're going to get up or you're going to roll over. So, there's always these decisions that we have to make. 

Glenn Mattson
So, let's take a look at it for a second. Now, granted, I'm talking to you in a podcast, so just stare ahead for a moment and believe that you're looking at a watch, right, just believe that you're looking at a circle in front of you for a second. The highest part of the clock is really going to be about your attitudes and your beliefs. That's a sign for instance, that we would put right there Velcro boom, right where it says noon, attitudes, and beliefs. Then right around three o'clock, we're going to write the word filters. So, first, you have your attitudes and your beliefs, those create filters, and those filters are at three o'clock. Now, when you have an issue that goes through your attitudes, goes through your beliefs, those create filters, and filters really impact your decision. So, the decisions are at six o'clock. So, if you think about it again, the clock, midnight, right at the top of it is your belief systems and your attitudes. That really flows to your right, right? Clockwise. Three o'clock are the filters that you have. At six o'clock are the decisions that you make based on those filters. So, that's at six. Then I want you to think about it at eight o'clock. So, a little past it we have the results of those decisions. After the results is 10 o'clock, that's the outcome. So, when we look at it, we have our behaviors or beliefs, or attitudes will dictate filters, filters will then create our decisions, and our decisions will give us results in the results or outcomes. So, for instance, if you choose not to study, right, the result is going to be that you're going to get a low grade, and the outcome is you're not going to have the ability to pass or you're going to have to go to summer school or you're going to lose a scholarship, for instance, right? 

Glenn Mattson
Let's take it at work. For instance, if you decide not to make prospecting calls, well, the result is you're not going to be seeing enough people and the outcome is you're not going to make any money. So, if you're afraid to ask for the close, well, the result is you got a lot of follow-ups, and you don't know where the hell you are. The outcome is you're not making any money. So, we have to look at this wheel for a moment and understand that the decisions that we make create the results that we live in. Those results ultimately create the outcomes that we call life. So, one of the things I want you to realize is that we can't necessarily complain, or bitch and moan about the outcomes of our life or even the results of our life because the outcomes and results are the output of a decision that was made, and the decision is ours. Those decisions are preconceived, based on filters that we have. Those filters are created based on attitudes and belief systems that we have. 

Glenn Mattson
So, when we look at decision making, and you realize that, Okay, I’ve got to be better at decisions, well, to be a better decision maker, you sometimes have to change your filters. Right? You have to have the ability to not like and not appreciate the results and the outcomes that you've been getting. Right? A lot of times people will look at the seesaw of change, and say, hey, when do I change? I'll say, Well, it's pretty easy - when the decision that you have to make is less painful than the outcomes that you're getting based on the poor decisions means that if you need to go to bed earlier, and you're waking up, and you know, the outcome is you're dragging at work and you're not being productive, well, it's pretty easy. The decision is you go to bed earlier, or you continue having lousy days at work and not being productive, right? So, you have to look at what the seesaw is, what's more painful, the outcomes that you're getting, or the decisions that you're making to get the outcomes. You'll notice that when the outcomes are really that significant, and that bad, or that strong, you will then ultimately change your decisions. 

Glenn Mattson
So, it's understandable that we need to understand the circle of a decision. Now with that, we have to understand regret and regret is a little different than sadness. See, sadness is when you make a decision in the past, and that decision is something that you're saying to yourself, woof, I should have done something different. Maybe you say, oh, I could have done this. Maybe you say things like, Man, why didn't I do this? Or why do I always do that? A lot of times, you've heard me talk about this, it's called the critical parent. We have this little parent that sits on our shoulder and one of those little parents has a huge thumb finger, and it's the one that does a lot of pointing. You can hear it, you should have done this, and why didn't you do this? You should have… Coulda, Woulda, and that's your critical parent. A lot of times when we look back at the past and relive something that already happened, that's great sadness, that's normal. However, when we relive that sadness over and over and over again, it immobilizes us. That's called guilt. You've heard me talk a lot about guilt in the past, right? So, guilt is absolutely a futile emotional state, you don't learn anything from it. All it does is, it keeps you immobilized, and it keeps you in the present moment. It just, it's like quicksand. So, you think about something that happened in the past, you can't change it, and because you're thinking about it, you’re reliving it emotionally, when you're reliving it emotionally, then your critical parent jumps in and starts doing the Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda, and just beats you up. That's guilt. 

Glenn Mattson
Okay, now, that's a little different than what I want to talk about with regret. Because guilt is just a learned mental process that doesn't allow you to let go of your experiences. See, experience is your past experience when something happens. Maybe it's not what you want to have happen, right? That's how risking takes risking is doing something that you're hoping for a positive outcome, that you may have an alternative outcome. Some of you look at that as a failure, which is a problem. Listen, I'm not saying everyone should be giving themselves a thumbs up every time they try for something that doesn't work out. You have to realize every time you try, and it doesn't work out, that's called the experience. Experience is learning from the past, learning from what you could have done, learning what you could do better, and learning what you can do more of. So, when we look at the past if we can have a lesson from it, and the big end here…we let it go. That's called experience. We learn from it, and we let it go experience. If we have guilt, we can't let it go. So, it festers in our heads. So that's a little different. Right? A little different when it comes to regret. 

Glenn Mattson
Let me share with you what I mean. See, as you take in the information you're processing, a lot of times what I find is that regret is based on a lousy decision that you made. You knew it was a lousy decision in the beginning, but you did it anyway. More times than not regret is sometimes moral, ethical, not legal, necessarily. I hope not, but sometimes legal. Part of regret is really focused on when you're making the decision. You know, deep down inside, what you're about to decide isn't the right thing to do. You know what? Now, your belly button tells you this doesn't mean that you're afraid it means that you shouldn't be doing this. Your spider sense says, Man, this is not a good thing for you to be doing right now and you do it anyways. A lot of regret is when you have a spider sense, telling you that this is something you should walk away from. This is something you should not bet on. This is not something you should participate in. Yet, you still go. Yeah, I am. It could be for many other reasons, but at the end of the day, regret is really about a negative outcome or a poor decision that you made. That was almost knowingly knowing it was a bad decision, but you did it anyways, a lot of regret does not come from unexpected outcomes, that eight 9,10 years later, like, oh, you know, thinking back, I really probably shouldn't have done that. That's not really a lot of what I mean by regret. 

Glenn Mattson
See, when we first make decisions, a lot of decisions we make are based on experiences that helped us out. It could be fear, right? Where you were lucky not to talk to strangers when you were four years old. Now you're 35 and you can't understand why you can't get referrals. Well, that's not helping you anymore. That script that we have of don't talk to strangers was great when you were three, but it's not doing you so good when you're 30 or 40. So, sometimes these scripts have to be rewritten. But when we talk about regret, regret is you're looking at a situation. Your body's telling you, this is not something you should be doing right now, your body turns around and tells you and says, this is something that you should probably pass on, and you know it, and you know it and you know it, and you do it anyways. So, regret, for instance, when we were talking to some of these individuals, he said, you know, I understand where you're coming from, you know, I had a situation where we were at a company outing, the owner went to bed, two of the other people said, Hey, we're going to go out, come with me. He's like, you know, everything in his body was leaning towards just going to bed, nothing good happens after one o'clock. Sure enough, they started to do things that got a little bit out of hand. The next thing you know, it just snowballed and became a problem. He knew the entire time he was doing it; this is a bad idea. Now, that's Regret. 

Glenn Mattson
Regret is when you start something, you know, you probably shouldn't be starting it, you know it deep down inside, your spider sense is going on, and you're not listening to it. So, I want everyone to understand the difference between really decision-making guilt and regret are very, very, very, very different. Remember, at the time you make a decision, you take the information in whatever that may be, maybe it's about making a phone call, maybe it's about closing a deal. Maybe it's about saying goodbye to somebody, right? Maybe it's saying hello to somebody, you look at it, and you walk around the decision you have to make, and you evaluate that now we've talked about how to evaluate decisions in the past, and I'm not going to go through the 10 steps. But when it's time to make a decision, you're just not doing it solely emotionally. Right? That's one of the big problems with decision-making. You have to keep that into account. When you look at it, you look and you walk around the decision that you have to make and you're asking yourself all the different questions. Is this the right thing to do? Is it prudent? Am I going to do this? Is this right? Is it legal, ethical, etc.? At some point, you make a decision that you're going to do this. That decision is yours. No one else's. You can't blame anyone else for outcomes or results that are decisions you made. No one's got a gun to your head. 

Glenn Mattson
So, one of the things about decision-making is once you make the decision, you have to you have to own two things. This is really important for everyone to get right. You have to own two things. I'll explain what I mean by own in a second because I'm starting to get on a soapbox here. You have to own the decision you make. Whatever decision you made, you made it - to do it or not to do it, you made it - to say it or not to say it, you decided to move or not to move whatever it is, you made that decision. You have to own the decision. You have to own the fact that it was up to you to make that decision in the environment that you're in. Here's what you looked at. Here are the filters you used here is the decision that has to be made. No one else makes it but you - that is yours. You cannot own the fact that you made the decision. The second thing you have to own is when you make that decision. It's like a domino, one domino hits, another one hits, another one hits, and another one hits. Now sometimes those dominoes stop after two or three, sometimes, oh my gosh, a whole house can fall down by simply one domino being knocked over. But you own the decision to knock over that one. That one piece Now when that one domino falls, whatever happens after that domino falls is your responsibility also, you can't say well, I didn't think that was going to happen, or I didn't foresee that to happen. It just means you're looking far enough ahead in your decision-making process, right? 

Glenn Mattson
So, you have got to own what choices you make in the results of your choices. You must learn to own all of it. When you learn how to own all of it, it changes the context. When you own your decision, you own the outcomes. One of the things I want you to start taking a look at is, not necessarily whether was this a good or bad decision because you made that decision. What you should be looking at when it comes to regret is why did you do it, or what caused you to do it when your spider senses were going crazy telling you not to do it. What made you decide to do it anyway? What made you decide to do it anyway? Listen, I have plenty of people that will make goals and they just sit there, and they start swinging for the fence. You know, it's not what I'm talking about regret is that when you put together a plan, then whatever your plan calls for, if you got to swing for the fence, if that's what you're playing calls for the you got to get up there and swing for the fence. What I want you to realize is that you have to have a plan. That plan has to have some thoughtfulness to it. Before you take action, you have to remember IPDE, you have to look at the plan and make the decision that you're going to do everything that that plan calls for. A lot of regret comes from when we say you know what, I should have put in some more time and then you chose not to and now you are where you are. So, you regret the decision that you made. I want you to realize regret usually comes from when you know what the answer is, and you do the opposite anyway. 

Glenn Mattson
The reason I'm sharing this with you is that a lot of my clients are in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, or are in their 40s. Right? Are very successful entrepreneurs. Regret is something that you want as little as humanly possible because you regret his decisions that you know, you shouldn't have done what you did anyway. Could have been things like, I didn't do enough due diligence, I just made an emotional decision, and now it's killing me. Right? That's regret. So, as you start to look at your life, you start to look at your career, and you start to look at things that you're going to have to do. Or you're going to have to work harder than maybe some other people that's in your department. Hell yeah, no one, no one can take away your ability to work hard. No one can take away your ability to be detail-oriented. No one can take away your virtues and your values of being a risk-taker. However, there's a process on how to be a good risk taker, there's a process and how to be a really good decision maker. It doesn't mean that you're just making decisions and hoping for the best. 

Glenn Mattson
I was talking with someone yesterday. We were going through his plan. I asked I said, Well, let me ask you a question. Let's suppose this doesn't work out, then what? He told me what the worst case was and the worst case was really, really bad. I said, Andrew, what's the percentage of likelihood that you're going to get this done? Here's where I'm going to try my best. I said that's not what I'm asking you. What's the likelihood? We talked about roadblocks, then we talked about what has to happen from a stoic standpoint for him to even have a possibility of success. So, I asked him, and I said, it sounds like maybe you have a lot of desire for this, you have a lot of commitment to it. I'm not challenging that by any means. However, do you think you're risking more than you can lose? We have to ask ourselves, being a good risk taker, strong and smart. Being a prudent decision-maker is critical. Putting those two together is entrepreneurship. Good risk taker and, a good decision maker. Your strong entrepreneurs do not blindly swing. They do not make decisions without having data and without doing due diligence. So, when you look at yourself and you look at what you've been learning in 2023, and looking forward to 2024, don't be confused with critical parent and sadness and guilt and Shoulda Coulda, Woulda, but take a look at regret. 

Glenn Mattson
Take a look at how to minimize your regret. Take a look at how to go back in time and ask yourself are the decisions I'm making today? Really in the best interest of me and my family and my business. I have regrets about work or regrets about the amount of time and energy I spent at work and the times that I knew I shouldn't have put work first, and I did, versus family. So those are decisions that we make. When we make those decisions, we have to live with the consequences. It's not about accepting failure, it's that I knew before we did that is probably not a good idea, then after it was done… Yep, not a good idea. So, I don't want you to think risking is something I'm asking you to do less of No, I want you to be a really good risk taker. Life without risk is death. Knowing how to take risks, and being a good risk-taker is vitally important for success. Being a good risk-taker also means that you understand failure, and you don't have to like it, you can't be afraid of it. So, when you look at your rescuing, and you're looking at failure, and you look at success, just make sure that we understand where regret is. 

Glenn Mattson
Regret is knowing that you did something you shouldn't have done. You knew it up front but did it anyway. You had that belief or that mindset that you will do it anyway, let's see what happens. Or they didn't, why not meet, we have to make sure that we're not working on the wrong and I don't want you to think that being a smart decision-maker means that you're being wimpy or slow. It just means that you're going to make a decision that you're going to own you know? It just isn't work. Right? Regret has more to do for more people on the personal side. If you look at the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, you know, I love that stuff. I found that individuals who harbor regrets about their personal lives also have a tendency to experience a lot more stress at work and a very lower life satisfaction rating. So, individuals who harbor regrets about their personal lives experience less satisfaction in their roles, i.e. success at work, a higher level of stress, and a much lower life satisfaction. So, these issues are cyclical. I told you how much entrepreneurs will regret not having good business plans not regret having more confidence in the beginning. Others will regret keeping the wrong people employed for way longer than they should have. But if you're sitting in your bed thinking about where you are at work and you're saying shoulda, coulda, woulda, I would have you let those words go. Think about when you're making the decisions. Reflect, think about how you're feeling about where you are, and where you want to go. And what is your inner voice really tell you. Now, don't let your inner voice be to fear, right fear is going to tell you to run like hell a lot of times. But there is a very strong sense of our sixth sense, Jr. Listen to our belly button. Right in tune to that inner voice. Your feelings are not in tune, or those feelings anxiety because you have fear but you're excited by it. Or is it because your spider sense run like out.

Glenn Mattson
You have to make sure that you do a good job planning ahead. Looking at what the plan is, and what the risks are when you have to make decisions about what's best case, worst case, it's going to help you with that. Also, make sure you understand about learning from your mistakes. Regret is the atomic bomb. Regret is not something that is called a lesson. So don't dwell on regrets. Okay. Always look at how you can improve your decision-making at the time and why you chose not to listen to your internal voice saying walk away. The next piece is to make sure you have realistic goals that are set up. These realistic goals really have to be true with the time energy and effort it's going to take to be successful. One of the kids I was talking to felt regretful that he moved away. And as we started to talk, his regret in air quotes was because he wasn't successful. Yet he risked everything by moving away and to be successful and he's thinking back and all his friends having fun and doing things. You know what I maybe should never removed yet as we started to talk and really reflect on what he's done. And what the lessons were that he learned? Could he have learned that if he was still in the town, and he came to realize that he became or is it becoming his new person because he had enough courage to go out on his own and become really what we would consider his own man, right? His own person. So, I really want to thank you for joining me on this insightful exploration. Let me leave you with a question to reflect on. How can you leverage the lessons from your past? From your past regrets to actively shape your future decisions? How can you leverage the lessons from your past regrets and shape them into your future decisions? Think about that. Think about how to eliminate regret by making better decisions and listening to your internals. And until we talk, as always, Keep being the best version of yourself. Talk with you soon.