Accept Where Your Choices Take You—Regret Free
Welcome and thank you to Team Film friend and guest blogger Andrea Johnson.
Change, risk, regret. Scary words, right? I’ve made a lot of changes in 48 years, and not one do I regret. I suppose the big changes could also be considered risk, but big life decisions don’t have to result in regret if you approach big decisions thoughtfully:
Are you living true to yourself? First, ask this question about your current situation. I was the first female Field Rep in Nike’s Running Sports Marketing Department. That’s a person who signs athletes to promotional contracts and scouts out the next gold medallist. Went to the Olympics, flew business class to Europe, wined, dined and schmoozed. I left after two years because the job and the environment didn’t jive with my values and I couldn’t stomach the politics.
Maybe I was young and naive, or maybe I just do better as the underdog. So I quit. One person’s dream doesn’t have to be yours. Be true to yourself, and don’t be afraid to be different. (And for the record, I’m not bashing Nike. Working there just wasn’t for me at that time in my life).
Trying to decide? Ask yourself how you’ll think about it in 10, 20, 30 years. I got a late start in my “career” because I wanted to see how good I could be as a runner. I’d gone to college on a track scholarship, and managed to hold on to the Olympic dream until I was 30. Yep, that was me with no real job until age 30.
While I managed to work my way to being ranked 20th in the US in my event, I wasn’t even close to the Olympic dream. But I will never, ever look back and wonder how good I could have been. And while the answer isn’t “the greatest,” I definitely know the answer, and that feels good.
Make the choice, then live it as if there is no other choice. I recently heard a friend say that the most successful people in a given field don’t have something else to fall back on. I’m not sure that’s true, but I do think a person’s attitude has to be “all in.” Med school without a full commitment: misery. A full marathon without a willingness to accept the pain of the last 8 miles: not gonna finish.
When my husband and I put our life savings into opening a running shop in Indianapolis, we never once thought, “Well, if this doesn’t work out, we’ll just…” We lived every day as if we’d made a great decision, and all our energy went to making it work.
Don’t confuse risk and change with reckless abandon. Once you’re committed, make a plan, plan it again, and then again. I’ve taken up motorcycle riding in the last 5 years, and most people think it’s one of the riskiest adventures a person can take. But before heading out on a thousand-mile trip, I map it out, plan for stops, look at the weather, find hotels, and reevaluate every day of the journey.
Sometimes I think a motorcycle adventure is like an entire lifetime wrapped up into a few days. There’s danger everywhere, and you train yourself to quickly evaluate and avoid the bad stuff—while staying steadfast with your decision to take the journey in the first place! It doesn’t mean there aren’t obstacles (I can tell you about an unexpected snow storm in the Rockies…), but there is no need for reckless abandon. Unless, of course, that’s your thing.
Always look forward. My choices to change or try something new haven’t always worked out as planned, at least in the short term. But part of living your film is being willing to accept where your choices take you. Think it through and ask yourself if you’re willing to live with what might be ahead. It probably won’t be exactly what you expect, but it will be yours. Learn from experience, but don’t look back! Your future is only one direction: forward!
We recently sold everything and moved to Arizona. Why? Well, I can tell you about the smart business decision, but really, it’s about making a choice in life. Oh, we did the math, sought good advice, and have a plan—up to a point. I don’t have a job, and I don’t know what I’ll be doing in a year! I’ve made the choice to take my nose off the grindstone, and I’m willing to see where that takes me! I’m just livin’ my film! What’s yours gonna be?