I often ask my friends this question: “What decision do you regret the most?” And although not all my friends are acquainted with each other, some of them share a common answer. It is that they regret not doing something sooner, and if they did have the chance, they would hop back in time, erase their choices and decisions and pursue a different path.
My question is then followed by a “why?” Why had they not started their dream business at a particular time period, or pursued their aspired college major. They would shrug their shoulders and say that they did not have a choice at the time, or they were pressured by a family member into working at their current job post.
But what I came to realise is that the ownership of choices and decisions comes from within oneself, no matter what we try to convince ourselves. This idea of ownership, like any belief in our system, needs to be planted in our heads, until it becomes a reality, then we know that we have control over the choices we need to make, especially when it comes to managing our businesses or dealing with our careers. We then realise that achieving our goals and desires, and getting that dream job all depend on the choices we make.
Although I am a big Eminem fan, and in one his biggest hits he stated “You get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow”, I know that in our business and career lives we have tens and hundreds of moments and times to make a decision and change our minds, and that instead of one shot we have countless ones. The beauty of it is that is all about trial and error. The more errors we make, the more we learn, and the better we and our products become. In fact, failure breeds success and could serve as a great motivator if looked at that way. If something hinders your business operation or your career path, there is always another way. Or you can give up. The choice is always yours.
A friend of mine wanted to establish a new business. For months she tried to pick up clients for her newest service-providing shop, but she did not reach her breakthrough point. She had two choices in front of her. One was to listen to her friends and family members who told her to shut it down and focus on her daytime career. The second was to overcome that roadblock, make some adjustments to her business and restrategise. She made her own choice of going with the latter and turned her business around.
When it comes to our business and career lives, we need to realise that just as we always have an option, we also need to set our own goals. If you want to become a multimillionaire by the time you turn 30, then the short and long- term goals you make today and the choices you take on will either lead you towards that life or push you as far as the sun from it.
This mindset and goal-setting could start at any point and at any time. There is no expiry date for it. For me, it was on a cold December night a number of years back as I was writing my resolutions for the following year, when I decided to own something: my career path and business life, and where I saw myself five years down the road. I then took that idea, and built on it.
In managing our business and our career, we should always plan our short and long-term goals, and base our choices with our goals and visions in mind. It is wise to never forget that it is never too late to change our minds.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and fashion designer