I’m definitely guilty of this, and almost all of my regrets are career-related. Yes, I’ve accomplished a lot to the point where I had three acquaintances that have known me for 4 years be surprised that I am only 31.
What they don’t know is that I have turned down or run from so many positions or life-changing experiences because I was too scared of change, the salary was less than I wanted or it seemed too hard. Or I half-ass things, don’t give it 100% of what I could and eventually give up and have stinging regrets about not seeing it through when I should have and have cases of “What if?”. Or I’ll say “meh, at least I can say I did it” even knowing it wasn’t my best work or I did it incredibly unconventionally in a way that made sense to absolutely no one, so I therefore can’t tell others about it because they don’t understand. Most of this all defined my late teens and 20s (at least internally), and even up until last year when I turned down an incredible opportunity because I was too scared and because it would require a major life change that would impact more than just myself. Thankfully, the owner was incredibly understanding and is still someone I know is virtually in my corner.
One thing that I am proud of having done while I was terrified and nervous, has been leading my youth organization through an entire pandemic. To say I’ve been frightened, worried or pensive about what the last few years, and indeed my legacy there, would be is an understatement. It is/was on my shoulders to lead effectively under immense pressure and motivate the Staff and members to keep their chins up and sailing in the right direction. And also keep the entire organization together while also continuing to get stronger. So far, we haven’t crashed into any underwater reefs or run aground, because we stuck together in the hard times.
This experience changed me in so many ways I can’t describe, nor do I potentially even realise. I was speaking to one parent about the change I’ve seen in her son since he joined a few months ago, and she told me she hadn’t noticed it because it was so incremental day-by-day. When you see someone once or twice a week, you see it more. I even had a similar conversation with one of my senior members about how he’s gone from the group joker to being one of our best members (who still has a wicked sense of humour that makes me laugh every time). If you’ve noticed a change in me (positive preferably), let me know in the comments.
Now, the next opportunity that presents itself, I won’t be so darn scared of saying yes. Or if I am scared but it’s something I want, I’ll say yes and know that being scared is OK.