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Coulda, Woulda & Shoulda

Coulda, Woulda and Shoulda went out for dinner one night to a hot new tapas bar. As they waited to be seated, Coulda said “We could have gone to a movie tonight, that would have been more fun than standing in line!” Woulda complained, “If I would have known we were going to be waiting in line, I would have worn my other shoes!” and Shoulda replied “Well, we should have called for reservations instead.” All three sighed in disappointment.

What are the chances that Coulda, Woulda and Shoulda had a great time that night? Not much, I figure. I’m guessing that they were so fixated on what they could have, would have and should have done instead, that they didn’t enjoy themselves and they probably missed all the great things that DID happen.

As tenacious entrepreneurs we are like lone rangers who toss aside the rule books and love to wing it. 

We like being able to make our own decisions and we seek out opportunities to carve out our own future. But having this freedom means we also shoulder all the responsibility, no matter the outcome. If business goes well, we are happy (and busy)! If business doesn’t go well, we put ourselves in the dog house. We have a tendency to suffer from the Coulda Woulda Shoulda’s if we take a wrong turn or if a business decision goes sideways. 

If you’re like me, telling Coulda, Woulda & Shoulda to take a hike is easier said than done. 

Coulda, Woulda and Shoulda often run rampant in my mind. They are never happy with what is right in front of them and they love to do nothing but complain about it. Coulda, Woulda and Shoulda don’t accept things as they are and are too overwhelmed by disappointment to change things for the better. They make my life difficult and quite frankly, they need to be evicted. 

So how do you banish Coulda, Woulda and Shoulda? 

Here are a few things that have helped me:

1. Distract yourself by asking, “What’s good about the situation?” I’ve found it’s necessary to write down the answers. I have what I call a 3G Journal. It’s similar to a gratitude journal, although I don’t write in it every day. When I need a boost of positivity I list one GOOD thing, one thing I’m GRATEFUL for and one GORGEOUS thing I saw that day. Even noticing how beautiful the flowers look outside my window helps me break free from the downward spiral of Coulda, Woulda & Shoulda.

2. Keep in mind that failure is just a stepping stone to success. We may think we’ve failed, but it’s all just a part of the learning process and quite honestly, the story isn’t over yet. Think back to a time when you thought you had failed and remind yourself how you found success later on. I remember being bummed about failing typing class in high school. It wasn’t that I couldn’t type; it’s just that typing “asdf” over and over again was not my thing.  Once I was able to do fun things on the computer my typing speed increased tenfold.

3. Remember that tomorrow is another day. Our business is ours and any choices we make today can always be changed tomorrow. In a large organization bad decisions take a long time to undo. But being an entrepreneur allows us to be nimble and flexible. There is always another opportunity waiting just around the corner to try things a different way. 

What helps you get rid of the Coulda Woulda Shoulda’s?