There have been several times, ok many times, in the workplace, when I have cautioned individuals with the known saying “be careful what you wish for.” How many times have people wished for a particular project, promotion or pat on the back to only come to realize they never should have wished for it at all. It happens everyday, everywhere. However, as a society, we now go by YOLO (you only live once) and we try to not regret. Interestingly, there was a line of psychological research in the late 90s (or so) that looked at anticipated regret and how it may have influenced health behaviors. If you don’t wear sunscreen do you anticipate regretting it when you get a severe case of sunburn. The field, to be honest, with you doesn’t seem to have gone far in that line of research. Think about it nowadays. We now do things automatically with the YOLO mindset guiding us. We do in order to say we have done and not die without being able to say we have done it. Eh. Anyways, it may just be that our collective mindset doesn’t allow us anymore to regret what we drove ourselves towards. This whole “be careful what you wish for” may not be totally present in our everyday lives anymore.
Last week, I noted that a colleague created her very own set of problems by picking what she thought was a a solution that she could manipulate to her advantage. The very qualities that were malleable, however, came to be her downfall. At that point, I noted she reaped what she sowed and she should have been careful what she wished for. My other colleague lending her ear just nodded her head but not necessarily in agreement. Here is the thing we have to dream big because we only live once. There is no more being careful what you wish for. If you sow it, reap it. Whatever may come. Perhaps this is a new version of taking responsibility for our actions. A distorted version that it is.
I think what we can look to now, is that moment when you realize that you actually got what you asked for. I often take note of that moment when you ok a certain request or project plan and the faces at the table show panic. There is still, despite that YOLO mentality, that moment a panic that many people experience when they actually get what they wanted. The “now what?” question still and always looms. That moment everything starts flashing before your eyes. Plans rush by your brain and your mind can’t keep up. Excitement turns into caution. Eventually excitement returns because you got a win. But never forget that moment of panic. It will keep you grounded.