Stepping into leadership requires that we make decisions often. Whether it’s when and how to share our ideas so they have the greatest impact or how to respond when someone disagrees with our approach, there are choices to be made at every turn. 

Sometimes those decisions feel quite high stakes, such as letting a team member go or doing a sales presentation for a potential new big customer. 

Of course, we are whole humans – not just leaders – and there are plenty of decisions to make in other domains of our lives: which school to choose for our kids, whether to move to a new city or country, how to respond to a health crisis and so many more. 

Decision-making is a skill that we cultivate over time, but it can feel mysterious to understand exactly what makes us go one direction or another. This is especially true when there seems to be great evidence to support both (or all) sides of the decision. 

At the heart of it, what we are protecting against is the feeling of regret. Will we stand by our decision down the road, when the outcomes are in play and the ramifications clear?

This episode is based on a fascinating article I read about a hidden source of regret that is actually inaccurate and unhelpful. Being aware of this element of regret can help us move through painful feelings that might be activated without warrant. 

In this conversation, we cover:

  • What regret is – in academic terms and in everyday terms
  • How regret plays into decision-making
  • Why we feel less regret about some decisions than we do others
  • The hidden element of some scenarios that actually increases our feelings of regret – and how recognizing this can help ease the feelings
  • Ways that regret has played out in my life
  • Where our anticipation of regret comes in as we made leadership decisions

This will be an episode to revisit key moments in your leadership and human life journey. 


The One That Got Away: Overestimation of Forgone Alternatives as a Hidden Source of Regret

Psychological Science Journal Volume 33, Issue 2

New Psychology Research Uncovers a Hidden Source of Regret

Want a copy of my book Beyond Applause: Make a Meaningful Difference Through Transformational Speaking for free? Go here: MichelleBarryFranco.com/FreeBook