Welcome to my musings-aka my Blog.
Hope they amuse you, these life lessons of one coach on her continual journey.
January 2024: The Question I was not expecting.
One of the most pleasurable parts of the Holidays, besides the down time, is reconnecting with friends I don’t talk to on a regular basis.
This Holiday season was no different as I found myself having a long phone chat with my oldest friend. I don’t mean oldest as in his age, I mean oldest as in my longest friend. We met in nursery school at the age of four. I still visit him and his family when I travel back to our hometown. Naturally we made plans to see each other over Thanksgiving.
At the end of our conversation, he said he had a question to ask me. He further disclosed his question had a pre-requisite: He wanted me to hold off giving my answer until we saw each other in person.
I semi braced myself mostly because of his serious tone, “Okay. . .what is your question?”
He said, “What is your single biggest regret in Life?”
I let out a nervous laugh, mostly to relieve the pent-up anticipation but also because I was in shock over being asked such a question and from an unlikely source.
We spent most of our discussions in joking banter. But I could tell he was serious now. We bid goodbye over the phone.
He and I never got to see each other over the Holidays due to unexpected family obligations. But his question traveled back with me and for a few weeks I continued to mentally dig at its hidden crevices and nuances.
It was obvious from the first time he asked, my distaste of the word “regret.”
Somewhere along my life trajectory I made a pact that I would not live a Life with regrets. Mistakes, sure. Many. But no regrets: Too self-punitive. Too serious of a commitment.
So, I did what we coaches do best, I reframed his question, so it was attractively answerable to me. Here is what I came up with.
“Knowing what I know now about my Life, if I could talk to my younger self, what would I say about choices and decision making?”
Answer: Take more time to think about certain choices and decisions before you make them. Think and plan more strategically.
You see, as I get older, I am discovering what an invaluable asset even luxury it is to Think First.
Like a mouthful of my favorite chocolate bar, what rolls deliciously off my tongue these days in reply to other’s and sometimes my own requests for action or quick response:
“Let me think about it.”
And I do.
Think. First. Before Acting.
Now some of you reading this may be mulling over in response “Duh, Amy.”
Allow me to state my case for why this is such a self-revelation.
I came into this world with the natural gift of Doer. I lead with Action. I have been able to leave a corporate career and start two companies, the last one that is still in existence today, some 20 years later.
Truth is, and it took some time for me to realize, I am a kinesthetic learner. Meaning, I experience Life through actual doing. I learn through hands on activity. I interact with events and people first through expressing, conversing, sometimes confronting and challenging, and building things.
Acting first looks brave and courageous to others who learn and interact with the world differently (aka, Think First. Act Later.) But I am not braver than others, just prone to acting first.
Recently I visited my 90-year father and his lovely girlfriend of 89 years. She asked Dad, “What was Amy like as a child and growing up?
“Wiry.” He stated matter of fact and without hesitation.
Many stories I could tell you of me walking into the Ring of Fire because I am most comfortable with movement and quick self-positioning action.
Thinking first, acting later is gaining huge appeal in midlife.
Being quiet first, saying and doing nothing first. Pausing, turning away, turning inward, or asking someone else to go first.
Thinking first and then acting (or not).
Regrets are not for me.
I’ve thought long and hard about it.