Frank Sinatra, in his song My Way, sings “Regrets, I’ve had a few. But then again, too few to mention.” These words were brought to mind when my dear friend, Kara Gamber, Kara Design Group, was asked “If you could go back what would you change?” To which she responded “I wouldn’t change a thing. The stumbles and missteps were essential to the learning that has brought me to where I am today.”

What a wonderful response. She expressed beautifully an attitude we should all possess. We’ve all made our fair share of mistakes over the years, but what we learned from them is what’s important. As a former CPA I often use a finance analogy. If you make a mistake and don’t learn anything, it’s an expense. If you learned something, it’s an investment which will generate returns for the rest of your life.

Regrets’ mistaken focus

Regrets focus on the past instead of the future. We can’t change the past, but if we learned something and apply what we learned, our future becomes brighter. Time spent bemoaning a faux pas is a waste of time. Investing time to implement what we learned from our mistakes assures us the joy of continually enhancing our ability to achieve what we desire.

Greatest challenge ➠ greatest strength

One of the often overlooked aspects of overcoming challenges is that our challenges become our strengths. Some of you may remember that I was a shy, insecure child. As I worked to overcome my shyness, I learned a good deal about human nature.

As I moved along the spectrum from shy, insecure child to gregarious adult, I realized that I had the ability to tell where a person was on the confidence spectrum. Knowing where they were enabled me to frame my suggestions in terms of their comfort level and demonstrate to them how frequently they had overcome other challenges in their lives. As they became aware of an ability they already possessed, they found it much easier to deal with their current challenges.

My greatest challenge, shyness and insecurity became my greatest strength in terms of my ability to not only deal with challenges I face, but help others deal with their challenges. As a result, my challenges become less taxing and I regularly reap the psychic rewards of helping others. When I use this strength in business, I get the added benefit of financial rewards.

For you

Take to heart Kara Gamber’s words, don’t regret the past, appreciate it for where it’s gotten you and where it will take you tomorrow. Being content with who you are today enables you to pursue what you desire for tomorrow with greater confidence and less stress. Also, it often accelerates the achievement of what you desire.

For our kids

When you see your kids regretting something they did or something that happened to them, ask them “What did you learn from this experience? How are you going to use that knowledge in the future?” They’ll quickly learn to view mistakes and disappoints as opportunities that will propel them to a brighter, more enjoyable future.

I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share you wisdom in a comment.

If you’d like to enjoy great confidence, check out our Confidence Self-Study programs (opens in a new link).

If you’d like to enrich the lives of others by teaching them to be more confident, check out our Teaching Confidence Instructor Certification program (opens in a new link).

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2 Responses

  1. Bill Prenatt

    As usual Dale valuable insights about turning lemons (regrets) into lemonade (positive change). Can you elaborate on the best way to learn more about the ‘confidence spectrum’?

    • Dale Furtwengler

      Bill, many view the world as binary when in reality all aspects of life fit on a spectrum. The one I use in my confidence programs is: Always, Frequently, Occasionally, Rarely, Never. Everyone is confident. Where they fit on the confidence spectrum depends upon the situation they’re facing.

      Familiar situations, ones they’ve dealt with successfully in the past, land them near the “always” end of the spectrum. They know precisely what to do and they do it automatically.

      At other times, what they’re facing is so foreign that they don’t have a clue what to do. These situations place them nearer the “never” end of the confidence spectrum. They almost never feel confident in these situations.

      For readers who want to understand their confidence better, feel free to evaluate your confidence in a variety of situations using the spectrum above. I hope this helps, Bill.

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