Do you know the inspirational story of Chris Gardner? His life story is the subject of a film starring Will Smith and his son Jaden – The Pursuit of Happyness (and that is the correct spelling).
Essentially, in San Francisco in 1981, Gardner loses his home, his marriage fails and he ends up homeless with his 5 year old son and only $22 in his pocket. The circumstances are immaterial, but suffice to say he embarks on a one-year internship with the aim of becoming a broker at a large brokerage house. Despite having very little money and having to sleep rough (often in homeless hostels) he manages to care for his son and secure a post. He eventually went on to found his own brokerage and secure his own personal fortune.
In Marshall Goldsmiths new book, Triggers, he makes a prescient observation that “even the most indestructible leader has regrets”.
For those of you unfamiliar with Marshall, he is an eminent business educator, thinker and coach who has been very influential throughout his long and distinguished career.
That leaders have cause for regret is not an idle thought, as Marshall has coached more that 150 CEO’s.
Whilst it might be a prescient observation, it is just a starting point. Regret is a powerful emotion and one that we all recognise in a way that is personal to us. Hence what might be regret for you could be disappointment for someone else – but these are just different colours of thinking about things that may not have gone so well. So what can we learn from it?