My Personal Guide To Fear, Regrets And Doing The Things That Really Matter

If you’ve read my first book Stop Talking, Start Doing you’ll know I say that regret weighs more than fear, and yet fear always seems to win.

It’s the fear that holds us back from having the conversations we really want to have, saying the things to people that we really want to say, making those big decisions and those big moves.

It’s fear that stops us from setting up the businesses that we really want to set up.

The difference between fear and regret, and how you can address them

I was talking to my friend last night about fear and regret. I said to him ‘I just wish I’d done what I’m doing now sooner. I just wish I’d had the courage to do what I really wanted to do sooner.’

He said to me ‘If you hadn’t maybe you wouldn’t appreciate it. If you’d done it 10 years ago, 5 years ago, even 3 years ago maybe you wouldn’t be the same person now.’

‘Shaa, think about it. What if you hadn’t done the things that you’ve done, maybe you wouldn’t have got your MBE. You got your MBE because of all the work you did at Smarta and all the thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs that you help.’

Maybe I did need to experience the things I’ve done in order to be the person I am today.

I’m hoping that is one of the things I can give you guys because I’ve had so many different experiences – I was the only licensed female boxing manager in the world, I worked with James Dyson and the Dyson start-up team from around his kitchen table. You can’t really get more diverse than that.

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and look back and think ‘could have, would have, should have’

I want to get to that point and know that I played full out, loved full out. I want to know that I was a good friend and if there was something I truly wanted to do, I wasn’t afraid to do it. I didn’t let fear grab hold of me and stop me from doing what I really wanted to do.

If there’s somebody in your life that you want to reach out to today, to say you’re sorry or to say ‘I love you’ or say ‘Maybe this can work… Shall we give it go?’ then have that conversation.

If there’s a business that you want to start, think about what you can do today to take a step forward and start making it happen.

What if you’re running a business right now that you don’t want to be running?

Have you thought about that? We get ourselves trapped in these situations and we get stuck where we are because we’re fearful of what happens if we don’t carry on doing what we’ve always done.

I’ll be honest, that’s how I felt for a long time when I was running Smarta – not the whole time. After Jett’s dad passed way, my whole life changed so dramatically. And I just felt like I was a hamster in a wheel, going round and round.

It took me time to wake up and think ‘I’m not sure this is what I want to be doing anymore.’ But fear of what other people thought kept me stuck where I was. It kept me doing things that I didn’t want to do.

So, as of today, think ‘I want to pivot, I want to change my business. This isn’t exactly what I want to be doing. I want to be doing something slightly different.’

There’s nothing worse than regret

You’ve got to go and do what you really want to do because there is nothing in this world, in my opinion, that is worse than regret.

There is nothing worse than looking at a situation that you can no longer change, knowing you could have done something you really wanted to, and you didn’t.

But regret can also be really powerful because it can give you the courage to face up to your fears, so you don’t have any more regret in the future.

I would hope that past regret helped you try to get your book published or sign up for the marathon – because it’s so to sit back in our comfy chairs and just carry on like we did yesterday.

It’s making a phone call, it’s having a conversation, it’s sending a text message. It’s writing an email, it’s starting something. It might be stopping something.

What is something that you’ve been afraid of doing but you know, deep down, that if you don’t do it you’re going to regret it in the future? Go and do that thing today. Do that thing today!