I hate to admit it, but I am sometimes (okay, maybe often) a “coulda, shoulda, woulda, what if, if only” person. I am a second-guesser, worried about what I didn’t do or didn’t say, or conversely, what I did do that maybe in retrospect I should not have, or what I did say that would have been better left unsaid.
Interestingly, the words “coulda, shoulda, and woulda” were added to the dictionary in 2017. They were colloquialisms that became common enough to be recognized! So, there is some comfort in knowing I am not alone in my thinking.
I can waste a lot of energy and time focusing on those ghosts of lost opportunities, missed chances, and dead-end choices. Energy and time that would be better used if applied to proactive thinking and envisioning positive results.
We all make mistakes, errors in judgment, and miss the mark at times – all part of being human and learning and growing. It is only when we become fixated on what we see as our failures that we suffer, emotionally, professionally, and personally.
Here is a great quote from Joy Bryant: “I never wanted to be the person who said, ‘I woulda, coulda, shoulda.’ Life is way too short, and you may not last that long.”
I love this quote from Shel Silverstein:
“Layin’ In The Sun,
Talkin’ ‘Bout The Things
They Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda Done…
But All Those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All Ran Away and Hid
From One Little Did.”
How much more productive I can be if I let the past be since I can’t change it anyway. After all, “what’s done is done and it can’t be changed, what’s said is said and it must remain, until the ages fade.”
I am determined to do a better job at looking ahead, not back; learning from the past, not repeating it; and being gentler to myself. I’m not perfect, and what fun would that be anyway? After all, beauty is found most often in the imperfections, not the perfections.
I hope you will join me in this journey of learning how to be better leaders and leave the woulda, coulda, and shouldas behind.
By Peggy Smith,