It’s possible that everyone, to some degree, suffers from a case of “career regret.” Specifically, they believe that they “should have” done this or “shouldn’t have” done that in regards to certain decisions during their life.
However, no matter how big or small your “career regret” might be, it contributes nothing of a positive nature to your ongoing quest for advancement. That’s why it’s in your best interests to turn that “career regret” into career satisfaction.
According to a recent article by Priscilla Claman of the HBR Blog Network, the best way to accomplish this is by turning “should haves” and “shouldn’t haves” into “what ifs.” In other words, instead of thinking about what you should or should not have done in the past, think about what you could do in the future.
Claman’s article suggests three ways to accomplish this:
- Think about your career in terms of “what if” questions. If you have to start every question with “what if,” then do so. Remember, the goal is to dwell on possibilities, not regrets, and the “what if” question should be a reflection of something for which you have a passion.
- Solicit the advice of friends and colleagues. Their input may help you to better formulate “what if” questions, including questions you might not have even considered. Note: be sure that these are people you trust to help you with such a task.
- Turn your “what if” questions into genuine ideas. Select the “what if” question you believe holds the most promise or the one about which you’re the most excited. Brainstorm ways to make that idea a reality.
Suffering from “career regret” is just another way of living in the past. “What if” turns you in the right direction, so you can start thinking more about the future. And it’s in the future where your career satisfaction ultimately lies.
HBR Blog Network article link: