Thinking before acting is wisdom. Acting before thinking is regret.– Unknown
What if I had married someone else? What if I had said yes to that job in San Francisco? What if I would have had children? What if I had gone to college? These questions all have two things in common. They are all choices that were made in the past. They are all things that you cannot go back and get a do over. There is no hot tub time machine to reverse time so that you can go back and make a different decision. You have to deal with where you are right now.
The workplace can be a virtual minefield of regrets. Missing out on a promotion when you feel like you could have done more. Constantly sizing up and comparing other people’s successes to your own. Nobody has it all, and the more that you have, the more you have to lose.
I know many people that are stuck in a job that they do not desire. It is definitely okay to change jobs or start something new, but you have to weigh the consequences for taking the risk. Let’s say that you’ve been employed for over 10 years. Although you have had flexibility and respect at your job, it offers no 401k or alternative retirement benefits. You ask you boss for these items, or an increase in pay so that you can speak with a financial planner to start your own process, but he says no. Do you find a new job? Your new job could offer more money and more benefits, but no relationships. You go to work and do what is expected and go home. Your relationships would then have to come from your personal life.
I have always had an “all or nothing” mentality. I want it all or I want nothing. In my youth I had to pay my dues as a resident therapist before I could go into private practice. I was accepted at a great agency who offered their residents an exponential amount of training. The pay was awful. In order to be able to afford to love during the residency, I started a painting company to work on nights and weekends. I also had a preschool age child and was pregnant with my second. My husband walked away from the family business and started his own venture. I did not see my family for two years, and then two years after that. The point is, I had to sacrifice a lot in order to get to where I am today. It didn’t just happen. I sacrificed being a mom in order to make money.
People are not handed their money, their job position, or their trophy spouse, they work for it. Things may be shitty now, but are you willing to sacrifice to go get all that you desire. Will that make you happy? It may, and that might work for you, but I know it doesn’t work for everyone. So many people I meet are unsatisfied with their lives. They don’t realize what they do have.
Everything has a price, and when you get one thing, you sacrifice another. Before you go longing for something you don’t have, ask yourself these simple questions.
Can I accept this change? Any time something changes, you have to adapt. We all know this from this current pandemic. Jobs change, where we do our jobs have changed. Schedules change because we have children that are online, or hybrid, or go to school with new rules. How long does it take me to get accustomed to change. Is it a week, month, or a few months. Are you easily adaptable to change.
Can I give up time with my loved ones to make the change? If your new position or starting a your own business require that you spend 20 to 40 extra hours a week on work? Can you sacrifice baseball games, date night, family birthdays? This time will never be given to you again. Ask yourself seriously if you can sacrifice your time. I did sacrifice my time. My children told me that all they want from me is my time. With one and a half years left before my eldest graduates high school, this pandemic has costed me the only opportunity I had to watch him play before he went to college. I made a couple tournaments, but I have 4 children so you can only attend so much. I can’t even watch him practice now.
I cannot get back the time that I have missed with my family. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love hanging with them now. I may have reached my career goals, and made money, but I sacrificed a lot. My son told me “Mom, I love you more than anyone, but I never want to be like you.” From that moment forward, I have been reducing my schedule. Saying no, and delegating like hell. I have no regrets, but I will never again have that time.
I know a husband and wife who contemplated career change. The wife had a descent job at the power company and the husband was a graphic designer for a firm. They were a two income household and had two young children. One day, the husband decided that it was time to go out and work for himself. He and his wife also agreed that their youngest daughter could stay home with him to save on daycare while he was getting started. (Children are a big distraction so this is never a good idea). Two years later, he has still not made a profit, but they are saving on daycare. They went from a two person income family to one. If you don’t have the drive, or the money to start a business, it is not a good idea to take that risk when what you had was better than before. If you are not happy with your job, talk to a Life coach or counselor first. Lay out your goals or plans before making a decision that could compromise your whole family.
Today is a good time to start working on things that will make you happy. Remember though that happiness is only a feeling in a moment and the ultimate goal should be to have peace. It is important to be good with where you are at in the moment. If there are things that you are thinking of changing, start writing down where you want to be in five years. Ask yourself what will it take today to make that step to get to that place in five years. What will you have to do in one year?
I will lay out my own personal goal for you. In five years, I would like to see my marriage flourishing. I have been married for 17 years with many ups and downs. If I am completely honest, many more downs. I have to ask myself what steps can I take now to reach a flourishing marriage in five years. I also have to keep in mind that this is my goal, it may not be my husbands goal. I have to be prepared to accept that no matter what I do, my husband may not be on board. In the meantime, I have these 4 amazing sons that I want to spend all my time with. They are growing up and leaving home and then it will be just my husband and I. I want to enjoy doing things together, traveling, and cuddling on the couch while he watches sports and I read a book.
That sounds simple, but it is very difficult with our life. I have three businesses, and four children. My husband called and asked me to dinner this week, I had to decline and offered brunch on Sunday. It turns out that he has a business call that morning and I have to check on a facility. Things come up constantly for us. We are never together. That is what I will have to change now. I will look at our schedules, move things around start making time. I know that the more time we spend together the better off we are, but I first have to make the change. In fact we are so intertwined as business partners that our romantic partnership has been on the back burner for the past 5 years. This process is going to take time, possibly the whole five years. We will have to change routines, put each other first rather than put everything else first. Not an easy task. Step 1, date the man once a week. Then increase momentum.
It is best to lay out any goals on paper on dream board. It is important to visually see it and have things that you work towards everyday. It could be a new relationship, strengthening an old one, going for a better position at your job, or changing jobs altogether. If the goals do not look achievable once they are laid out in front of you, talk it through with a family member, friend, mentor, counselor, or life coach. Maybe accept that where you are is really what is best for you, or your family, and start focusing on the small changes in front of you that can help make your life more meaningful.
If you would like to leave a comment or question, you are encouraged to do so. If you need help with goal setting, please drop me a line.