Rob Hatch wrote an interesting blog entry a couple of weeks ago at Human Business Works. It was about choice. One measure of success, he said, is the ability to make choices. A series of good choices helps you grow as a person, improve your skills and your judgment, and meet other productive people. Those things, in turn, open the range of choices you have available to you.
Rob also cited the work of Connie Podesta, noting that in one of her speeches, she asks two questions:
- Are you proud of your professional choices?
- Are you proud of your personal choices?
Those are two interesting questions, and they should give you a lot to chew on. Like you, I can look back on my life and find choices I’m not happy with and choices I could have made better.
What are the opposites of these two questions? Not everyone would choose these words, but I think the opposites are:
- Are you ashamed of your professional choices?
- Are you ashamed of your personal choices?
“Ashamed” is not a word we often hear anymore. We might talk about being embarrassed, but being “ashamed” seems a bit archaic. It harks back to what many see as an older morality.
I believe, though, that feeling shame can be healthy if it stings enough to set you on a new course. We all want to feel proud of ourselves and our choices, so much so that we often avoid looking at our failures and the choices and actions that should repulse us.
I’m not for wallowing in shame, far from it. But I believe that if you feel it once in a while, you’ll be that much more motivated to make choices you can be proud of.
What about you? Does shame or guilt play any role in your life? And do you take time to examine and learn from it when you feel it?