“Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda”

Every heard someone (usually an older person) start sounding off about what might have been if only they had done this, that or the other. “You know the tune, “Things could have been so different, I coulda, if only I woulda, and maybe I shoulda.”  Some call it the ‘loser’s lament,’ but that’s not right. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about missed opportunity, and not being willing to take a risk, it’s about being afraid to step out of your comfort zone and fear of failure.
All of us have experienced missed opportunity at some point in our lives, ranging from minor to life-changing. The one thing they all have in common is that an opportunity presented itself and it was missed. Like the great fishermen’s tale, it’s the one that got away.
I will never forget sitting down with my dad, a Teamster truck driver of over forty years, one afternoon, and listening to his tale of missed opportunities. There were two. One involved an offer he received to go into the trucking business with a friend. He turned it down and the guy went on to form a major industrial trucking firm worth millions. The other also involved an offer from a close friend, again he said no and that friend went on to build  a successful motor home company, a race car team, and much more. He retired to his horse ranch near Lake Tahoe in his early fifties. Yes, my dad had some regrets, I remember him saying, “I’m still kicking myself for not taking a chance, it would have changed our lives.”
That was over thirty years ago. It was a time when I was trying to make some major life changes of my own. My dad may not have realized it but that little talk became a major inspiration to me. I did not want to be the 57 year old man lamenting my missed opportunities, I didn’t want to be the “woulda, shoulda, coulda,” guy.
After carefully considering my options and with my wife’s full support,  I made the decision to change my life. It was a scary time. I quit my job, got a part time one and pursued my long time dream of going to college. In 1983 I returned to school and earned my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
Taking a risk is not easy to do and needs to be carefully considered.  Deciding to take a chance and acting on it, takes a personal sacrifice of time, energy, ability and knowledge. Once your decision is made you need to follow through and perform the action with full consciousness of the risks, pros and cons and potential outcome and  accept the consequences of the action your about to undertake. Fully understanding the risks involved will better your chances of being successful.
Believe me, I know it’s hard to leave our comfort zone and venture out into the great unknown, but when opportunity presents itself, particularly life changing opportunities, risk must be taken.
It will be well worth it.  Down the road you don’t want to have regrets.
You don’t want to be that  “Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda” person…
Just a thought,
J S
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