If you wish you could go back in time to change something in your past, you’re not alone. Online magazines have interviewed CEOs, entrepreneurs, and the ultra rich and they’ve shared regrets about business decisions and personal relationships. None of us are immune to this longing. The question has probably crossed your mind also: If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
It doesn’t matter if you’re 20, 30, 40 or 50 years old. You have your accomplishments and failures and moments you wish you could change. I certainly have a lot of failures in my life. I wouldn’t change those because making those mistakes gave me lessons that brought me where I am today. However, I still have some regrets.
Today I’m going to share with you three things that I would do differently if I could go back in time.
1. Find A Mentor Earlier In My Career
The first thing I would change about my life is something that would have made a tremendous impact if I’d done it sooner. I would have found a mentor earlier in my career. I started and failed 13 businesses before I tasted my first success. That success came at quite a cost.
I lost all my money, my mom’s savings, maxed out my credit cards, and was $150,000 in debt. If I’d gotten a mentor earlier, I wouldn’t have failed at so many businesses or lost so much money. I had been young and naive. My youth made me blind in so many ways.
I believed I was supposed to be a lone wolf figuring out things on my own. Being a young entrepreneur in my 20s gave me an oversized ego, so even when I met my first mentor, Alan, I still had an ego that got in my way.
If I had followed his advice, I would have made fewer mistakes. Instead, I wanted to do things my way because I thought I had it all figured out. I should have been more coachable back then. After all, there was a reason I chose him as my mentor and there was a reason why he is where he is today.
Also, listening to my mentor sooner might have helped prevent my second regret in life.
Watch this video about the 3 things I would have done differently.
2. Think Bigger
When I first got into business, my goal was just to provide for my mom. To use an analogy, I couldn’t see the forest because I was too busy looking at the trees right in front of me. I was only focused on solving my immediate needs.
I thought I would be happy living a comfortable life but when I reached that goal, I wanted more. My next goal was to make enough money to be financially free and enjoy a life in which I could relax on the beach everyday and not worry about money. Surprisingly, when I got that beach lifestyle, it became boring really fast.
What I realized was I needed to set bigger goals. I needed to think bigger, but that didn’t imply that I was greedy or some other negative trait. It just meant I needed to adjust my thinking.
If I wanted to make $100,000 a year versus $1,000,000 a year, I just need to have a different level of thinking. It changes the way I look at things and the way I operate. I wanted to be more than a dreamer. I had to be an action taker.
To do that, I learned to take whatever my goal was and make it 10 times bigger. I had to add a zero to it. Then brainstorm what my new income would look like. Who I would have to become to get to that milestone. Working just a bit harder wouldn’t get me there.
I had to change the way I operated and have a lot more confidence. My mentor challenged me to have higher income goals so when I become a millionaire, I could get to the next level and become a multi-millionaire. And then a billionaire after that. I wish I had set these higher goals much earlier on in my life.
If I had, then having successes earlier might have given me more time with my family, which is the third thing I would have done differently.
3. Spend More Time With Family
Many highly successful entrepreneurs say one of their biggest regrets is not spending enough time with family, or letting friendships fade away because of a busy schedule. You can’t make your kids become kids again or bring back people who aren’t in your life anymore.
I wish I had spent more time with my dad. I didn’t have that much time with my dad, especially when I came to Canada and he was in Hong Kong. It’s too late to change that. I can’t have one more dinner with him, or one more conversation.
There aren’t going to be more opportunities to show him how much I appreciate and love him. That’s my advice to you. Don’t work and hussle so hard that you don’t have time to spend with family. Yes, you do have to make sacrifices in the short term.
You will miss dinners or some special events because you’re too busy with your business. But once you start to see some success, spend more time with loved ones because when it’s too late, it’s too late.
Even if you’re a billionaire, there’s no cheque amount you can write to buy back time.
So I have two things I would change about my professional life and one personal. I continue to learn from mentors and I continue to think bigger… there is still time for that. But for my dad, it’s too late. To this day, I remember and honor him and I do what I do to make him proud.
In your life, there will always be something you wish you had done differently, no matter your age. Always remember to take your mistakes and look at them as valuable lessons.
What would you have done differently if you could go back in time? Comment below.