I assume most people reading this have at least heard the name Jay Z but in case you’re not familiar I’ll give you a quick rundown. In short, he’s drug dealer turned grammy-winning rapper turned businessman (clothing lines, professional sports team owner, and now sports agent). Aside from success in these various avenues, Jay and the family are no strangers to visiting the White House as guests of POTUS. Oh, and that family of his happens to include Beyonce playing the role of wife. Not bad.
So what does it take for a person to make it in the streets and in corporate America? I was driving home the other day when a song from Jay Z’s first album, Reasonable Doubt, came on and the answer to that question hit me square in the face.
“In order to survive gotta learn to live with regrets.”
I’ve been listening to this album regularly since it came out in 1996, but this was the first time I heard it this way. I played it on repeat a few more times and the more I listened to it the more I thought this is great career advice you don’t often hear it shared. You get a lot of people saying don’t be afraid to shake things up and change is good but the reality is sometimes you make the wrong decision. And even when you make the right decision you still may have some regrets.
I’ll share a quick example with you. When I switched over to management consulting from my industry accounting position, the new job came with a great raise and a opportunity to learn things that wouldn’t have been possible in my previous career. It also came with a move under the assumption we’d be able to sell our house (we couldn’t) and I had no idea my brother would pass away three months after I left Chicago…two completely different scenarios but both made me regret having made the change when I did.
Having a home you wish you could sell sucks and I have to tell you it sucks even more when you don’t have someone living in it paying you rent. We’re on the right track now though.
Of course I regret not knowing when parting ways with my brother that the next time I’d see him would be in a casket. Part of me unreasonably thinks maybe I could have helped my brother live longer had I not moved and part of me just feels like at least I could have used the time better if that’s all we had. I have a friend I used to work with who will read this and think I need to see a professional since that’s what she said when I shared similar thoughts with her. I appreciate her concern but like Jay said, I’ve learned to live with my regrets. And to be honest with you my brother would want me to be kicking ass and taking names so that’s what I intend to do.
Once you decide within yourself that no trauma or bad outcome will consume you, there’s no limit to the success you can have.
If you have your own story of regrets you had to overcome share it in the comments.
If you want to hear the whole song, check it out here.