Home Concepts Decison Making & Problem Solving Life as Lottery: Coaching About Regret

Life as Lottery: Coaching About Regret

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In retrospect, what decisions and/or actions would you choose to change over the past (three months, six months, year)?

Why would you make these changes (if any)? What real difference would they make in your life/work?

What do the decisions you have made and actions you have taken during the past (three months, six months, year) tell you about your personal values and/or about your perspective(s) on life and the world in which you live?

What do your regrets about decisions not made or actions not taken (during the past three months, six months, year) tell you about your personal values and/or your perspective(s) on life and the world in which you live?

When you have been confronted with regret what decisions do you subsequently make that are influenced by the regret and what actions (if any) do you take?

There are many other questions that might be asked about “the road not taken” or “the wrong road taken.” These reflections about regret will often be accompanied by strong emotions—so we need to be prepared to witness these emotions and sit with our client as they explore the nature, extent and ramifications of their regret. It is also critical that we move forward with our client beyond the regret. We move with them into the future. I often talk with my clients about “leaning into the future” (an important part of an appreciative perspective in the coaching process). Leaning (and learning) into the future is particularly important with regard to regret–because we can readily be frozen in our regret and not move beyond it. Alternatively, we stumble into the future filled with unprocessed emotions and unresolved internal conflicts. We have to remind our clients (and ourselves) that there will be many more lotteries in our future. There are many more paths to be taken, more decisions to be made and more actions to be taken in our future – and they can be directly aligned with our values and perspectives. So, forward we move . . .

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One Comment

  1. Rey Carr

    September 12, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    I regret I didn’t read this article sooner or at least before I purchased my next round of lottery tickets. I didn’t realize how powerful regret or the avoidance of regret can be and how it often is stronger than rewards. Thanks for including the questions to help process regret and get the most learning from the experience.


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