Choosing Your Future Regrets

I give politics a wide berth here. But occasionally you have to swerve into them a little bit to make a point. Last night I came across a fascinating interview with Christopher Hitchens whose political views tend to ruffle feathers right, left and middle. Regardless of your political leanings, Hitchens is a brilliant writer, and he makes an important observation that goes well beyond geopolitics.

When You Have to Make a Choice

I don’t need to restate the geopolitical situation that is the subject of Hitchens’ point; you are free to read it yourself, should you wish. The point he makes applies to all kinds of potentially unpleasant tasks, and it is this:

You have to choose your future regret.

Sometimes you have trouble reaching the contact you need to reach within your dream client company, and you are forced to choose between regretting the fact that you pushed a little harder than you would have liked to and ended up a tiny bit sideways with someone there, or regretting that you have lost the opportunity to a salesperson who found a way in.

You have to choose between regretting not having asked for additional access to the buying committee who could inform your solution and improve your chance of winning or regretting losing the opportunity altogether to a salesperson who was fearless about asking for what they needed to win and to succeed.

You have been disqualified from a competition early. You know you are the right choice to help your dream client get a better result than they are presently, but you didn’t have an opportunity to demonstrate your passion. You can decide to accept it and live with the regret of losing the opportunity; in sales, someone has to lose. Or you can pick up the phone and call your dream client to sell them on the idea that they should reconsider. You may end up regretting putting someone on the spot and making them feel that they have to defend their decision. Should your dream client reject you, you will have much better chance of being considered when your opportunity is reborn in the future. Passion sells.

You have to choose your future regret. But only one of your choices has a potential upside. Choose wisely.

Questions

  1. Will you regret trying and losing more than you regret losing without having put up a fight?

  2. Will you regret firing every weapon at your disposal to win your dream client more than you regret losing without so much as a whimper?

  3. Will you regret missing the water cooler discussions at work and on the Internet more than you regret missing the opportunity to develop the opportunities that you need to develop to succeed?

  4. What are the decisions that you take that you are willing to regret and why?

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