Transforming Regret Into Positive Momentum

Recently on mother’s day, we participated in the Sudbury Rocks Relay Marathon with the “We are your PACE” relay team and we had 8 members including myself as the leader. Some thought it would be “cool” for me the leader (who is not a very good runner) to take the last leg of the race as I got to collect the medals, so that’s the position I took. The race went very very well for the most part, we were specifically competing against my friend Andrea’s team and when it came time for me to run we had a fairly significant lead against her team. We were doing very very well and every single person on the team had run a fantastic race.

As I got the race chip handed to me, I started running really really fast at a PACE of 4.5 and I had borrowed a watch so I could PACE myself, but this false sense of confidence kicked in and I told myself, “maybe I am that fast”. I took off like a gun running uphill (when I have the regular “fast” pace of a jogger at a pace of 7 or so) and needless to say, a km into it I was pretty darn winded. At the 2 km mark I knew I was in trouble and at the 2.5 km mark is when I saw Andrea running towards me in her beautiful yellow jacket and at this point I was in rough shape, I had stitches I wasn’t sure I was going to actually complete the remaining 3 km. At this point, I gave up this lead my team had worked soo soo hard for.

Up until this minute as you can see by the writing I had plenty of “regret” and “self-loathing” of how poorly I personally did, I had thought about giving up writing this blog when I asked my wise husband to have a read and he said, “you sound very regretful in your blog, maybe you should write about all the amazing things that happened and why regret is wasteful.”; So here I am doing exactly that, the amazing things that happened the day of the relay race and why we will definitely do it again!

1. Work – Family Integration not Separation – We have some  individuals in our company who are very family orientated, they work hard and make it a point to spend quality time with their loved ones, for them family comes first. For individuals like these, it sometimes can seem like they have to choose always choose one over another, but this relay race was about integrating work and family. My husband did not participate in the race but borrowed his mom’s 6 passenger van and drove us from point to point, our VP couldn’t make it but we had his family participate and tag along as fantastic cheerleaders and the rest of us invited our family and friends to help us finish this race. This race was a good example of how we could do more Work – Life integration vs having the old mentality of always keeping them separate and apart.

2. The Journey is as Amazing as the Destination: Throughout the race, we were able to drive from one relay hand off point to another with a bunch of us in a 6 passenger vehicle to cheer our racers on the road and when they came into the relay hand off points. The camaraderie all day was simply fantastic and it helped us get to know each other a bit better.

3. Importance of Teamwork: Nowhere is teamwork more apparent than in the relay race, we each have to do our part and contribute to the next step in the process. The relay race hand off is often used in Jeff Liker’s work as the most dangerous point in a process because things can often go wrong here and in most organizations, things often do go awry during the hand off process. Fortunately for us the hand offs were pretty seamless but a good real world example of how teamwork is essential to the Lean culture.

4.Focussing on Gratitude Vs Regret:My journey from where the blog began to where it ended and the good feelings I have while finishing up this blog teaches me how important it is to focus o what I am grateful for vs what I am regretful for. Things in the past are in the past and there is nothing I can do about it, other than learn from it. My personal lesson is to continue practicing this year to keep up with my team and do a solid finish next year. We All Finished the Race: Yes we did and some of us set record times for our personal distances.

5.Positive Thoughts Create Positive Momentum –In addition to the teamwork, camaraderie, bonding, celebrating and finishing the race, this blog was born and Yes, we will do it again next year! I’ve been picking away at this blog for a week now, but with the wise words of a wise man and changing my perspective to a positive one, I have completed this blog within the hour!

I am even inspired to create an original quote, I did do a basic google search and it does seem to be a one of a kind sentence, but please feel free to pipe in if you find another more valid source for this most important lesson I learned today.

“Regret just steals the joy of today, for an incident in the past that you now have no control over.” 

– Neha T. Singh, CEO, PACE Inc.