By David Lykken
Special to MPA
I don't remember where I originally heard this, but at the end of their lives, most people tend to express more regret over the things they did not do than they do over the things that did do. When asked on their deathbeds, they say they wished they had spent more time with their children, that they had launched that business they always wanted to start, that they had written that novel they always thought about, and so on. Rarely do you hear someone say, "I wish I hadn't done..." People tend to regret the risks they failed to take.
As a leader in the mortgage industry, you face countless moments throughout your career in which you will have to make a choice between playing it safe and taking the chance to do something great. Choice by choice, the easier decision is always to err on the side of complacency. You don't want to rock the boat; you don't want to muddy the waters. So, day in and day out, you just slide by under the radar--and it seems you're all the better for it.
But great leaders have a broader vision. Great leaders care about the long-term. Great leaders focus on legacy. When you make a decision in your career, don't just ask yourself, "How am I going to feel about this decision tomorrow?" Instead, ask yourself, "How am I going to look back on this decision 30 years from now?" If your future self will regret the foregone opportunity, do yourself a favor and seize the moment. You may not get another chance.