How do you avoid that? Pay attention! One of the most effective ways to keep your head in the game is to continually ask yourself one simple question:
"What would I regret?"
The beauty of this question is that it automatically takes you out of the pace and pressures of the moment and gives you a bigger-picture view. In essence, you're asking: "In the future, when I'm not up to my eyeballs in what feels so pressing to me right now, how would I feel about the choices I'm making?"
Use the question to take regular stock of the choices you're making. For example, each month, stop and take a look at your life and ask the question: "Is there anything I would regret?" Maybe it's something as substantial as realizing you're on the wrong path. Or maybe it's a smaller-scale regret, like the fact that you are about to say 'yes' to something you don't really want to do, or that you're passing up an opportunity to take a class on a subject that fascinates you.
Once you shine a light on a potential regret, you can evaluate whether or not to do something differently.
After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As a speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book 101 Ways to Get Wild About Work and his E-book The Occupational Adventure Guide offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker, explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.