“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~Mark Twain

The other day we were facilitating a leadership program for a client. We collected evaluations at the end of the day, as always, so that we could learn and improve how we engage participants and provide them with value. As I went through the evaluations, I came upon one that was the best I’d ever seen. One person wrote that just the day before they had decided they no longer wanted to manage others because they no longer thought they could do it well. And our program convinced this person to give it another shot.

It may have been fine for this person to step away from management, or they may have looked back in twenty years with disappointment that they didn’t give it a stronger try. That they didn’t explore the possibilities and discover their potential.

There are so many opportunities in front of us that we don’t try, or don’t even notice or see. We play it safe, staying within our Comfort Zone and what we know – and we never learn as much, grow as much, or enjoy as much. The time to live life is now, because it’s the only chance we get (most likely – at least it’s the only one we know about for sure).

Years ago someone offered me a pithy saying to help rid me of my worries and my certainties that I had made a wrong choice or messed “everything” up. “Five years from now,” they offered, “will you even remember this?” That concept carried me through rough patches for years. I’ve offered it to clients and watched it bring them relief and ease as well. But I’ve decided that looking five years down the line isn’t long enough. Looking twenty years down the line instead will have even more impact. Because in five years we still may actually remember things that aren’t that important. In twenty years, as Mark Twain suggests, we will only remember the gaps of the opportunities we didn’t try, adventures we didn’t have, and explorations and fun we didn’t allow ourselves.

So why not challenge yourself to not have those regrets all those years from now. To do what you can and seize all you can now, so that you’re looking back and smiling.

How can you sail away from your safe harbor? Explore. Dream. Discover.

When have you sailed away from your safe harbor?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For assistance in seizing today and exploring, dreaming, and discovering, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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