No Excuses, No Regrets. These two statements were originally intended to be a mission/vision for the upcoming season of one of the soccer teams I coach. However, the more I thought about what it meant and how we would talk about and implement the philosophy, it became clear to me that it should be a way of life both on and off the field. It should apply to everyone, not just athletes. And if I wanted my team to embrace it, I needed to do a better job of living it myself.
Life is about moving forward. We hear a lot about intentional living, personal accountability, setting ambitious goals, and making decisions that help us progress toward those goals. That sounds easy, but there are so many emotions that get in our way simply because we are human. Everyone deals with them, and some are easier to work through than others. Two of the most damaging emotions we experience are fear and regret. When we are afraid of something, human nature causes us to come up with reasons we shouldn’t do the things we fear. We start to make excuses. While fear is a very real feeling, it is frequently based on something that is so unlikely as to be nearly impossible. Statistics tell us that over 60% of the things people fear never actually happen. Fear of the dark, for example, is a very real fear that over 10% of the US population experiences. Really, this is a fear of the unknown, and when we don’t know what lies ahead, our imaginations start to populate that unknown territory with worst-case scenarios and imaginary monsters.
Regret is almost like the opposite of fear. Fear occurs BEFORE something happens and is based on potential negative outcomes resulting from participating in the thing we were afraid of. Regret on the other hand is experienced AFTER an event has occurred and is often based on the realization that our fear was unfounded. Those monsters in the dark, we know weren’t real, and there was no reason for us to have feared them, and perhaps we should have taken that next step we were so afraid of.
Both excuses and regret have impacts on our future, and that might be the most important thing to remember. Every time we make an excuse for not achieving the result we hoped for, it becomes easier to give up on future endeavors because we can always place the blame outside ourselves. If we take personal accountability for our actions, and more importantly our results, we strengthen our resolve for the next opportunity that presents itself. When we experience regret, it can be very demotivating as well. It can lead to feelings of failure which can make us less willing to attempt things down the road. We have to be diligent in keeping excuses and regret out of our minds. We must take accountability for our actions and the results of those actions. We must give everything we do 100 percent of our effort and “leave it all on the field” so that we don’t came away with that sinking feeling that we should have done more or tried something different. When we give 100 percent effort to life and own the results, we are truly moving forward, and that momentum will take us to great places.