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Entrepreneurs Don't Fear Failure -- They Fear Regret Live freely, in the pursuit of creativity, self expression and authenticity.

By Jason Womack Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Before you judge yourself -- or someone else -- on what didn't get done today, reflect on the bigger picture. Take a moment, maybe even close your eyes, to reflect on what you're working on and why it's important to you to get it done. Then, read on.

"I wish I had worked more," said no one on their deathbed.

Related: 3 Strategies for Hacking Happiness

I know it's hard to think about a time that (hopefully) is a long time away from today. No one wants to think about dying! So back it up a bit. Open your calendar, and fast-forward 90 days. Ask yourself this question, "What will I wish I had spent a little more time on?" That question will get you thinking - reflecting, really -- on where you need to spend a little more time tonight!

Regret takes a toll on us. Not just our hearts but on our souls. When we let people down, when we do the bare minimum when we know we should have given it our all or when we simply just didn't show up, emotionally or physically, they take a toll. Some regrets we can move past in a moment, others linger for a lifetime.

Author Bronnie Ware wrote "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying—A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing" after spending several years caring for dying people in their homes. As you read each one, reflect on how you're feeling right now. How are you feeling about your work? Your life? Your relationships?

  1. I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn't work so hard.
  3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Sad right? That's a tough pill to swallow.

Related: The 4 Principles Needed to Achieve, or Deliver, Happiness

When we take a deep look at regret, it is often connected with the idea of being stuck. Stuck in our emotions, stuck in routine, stuck in mediocrity. Being stuck isn't always a bad thing, but if we aren't moving forward, where are we going? Don't settle for stationary. Move. Grow. Find momentum.

People often state that the projects they are feeling stuck in are personal in nature. They want to do something creative like write a book or focus on a hobby such as photography or art but these projects get tossed into the "nonessential" category and rarely come to fruition. Yet these are the projects that are essential to the core of happiness and well-being and tap into essence of the regrets listed above. These projects are an expression of people's true, authentic selves.

Where we tend to get stuck is the realization that these projects don't have an external deadline and more times than not, there is no financial reward attached to it. Because of this, these personal, self expressive projects don't get prioritized -- further drowning in unhappiness and a life of of possible regret.

Related: The 12 Steps to Happiness That You Create

Don't let the weight of regret keep you down today. Live freely, in the pursuit of creativity, self expression and authenticity. It is okay to put yourself on your priority list every once in awhile. Your happiness and wellbeing are worth it. You are worth it.

Jason Womack


Jason W. Womack is founder of the Womack Co., a productivity-training firm based in Ojai, Calif. He also founded to coach a global community of entrepreneurs in skills to thrive in business. Womack is the author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More (Wiley, 2012).


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