Add me to the No regrets answer, but I chose better financial future because I'm sure I will find I need more money when I retire lol.
As I see my post-college, mid-MBA child going through the struggles of "do I put more time into work, at a big healthcare org while getting my MBA or get a puppy, get home on time everyday". I chose the latter (but real babies, not fur babies) as I did not feel my sacrifices at a career, with stress and long hours was worth the personal sacrifice. You don't land in leadership without long hours...I learned I liked not working quite a bit. And then, as Dr. Jayne has noted so nicely - the politics and back-room dealings are the wild card that can toss your hard earned career into turmoil, despite your efforts and good deeds.
Get out of your comfort zone! Pick something that you thought you could never do and do it! For me it was running a marathon. Five years later I have now run 11 including the Abbott Six Star World Majors. Running a marathon is the hardest thing I have ever done. Now, I bounce every challenge I am faced with off of that achievement. Whether it is a personal or professional challenge I ask myself, "Is this harder than running a marathon?" The answer is always NO! I immediately stop whining about my situation, change my attitude and face the challenge head on from a position of confidence and strength. My regret is not doing it earlier in my life. I now seek out-of-comfort-zone experiences on a regular basis. You don't have to run a marathon but PICK SOMETHING! If your afraid of heights, jump out of a plane...with a parachute and some training of course! You get the picture. Don't wait like I did. Your life will change for the better! I'm living proof!
Brian articulated my regret and frustration about never giving a bully or bad boss satisfaction they don’t deserve. To this end I might have paid more attention to the decision making process so I could have prevented the many decisions based on personal ambition and cronyism instead of clinical workflow, best practice and patient/family need.
Funny but I actually feel good about every one of the "regrets" you listed:
- we moved to Santa Fe 22 years ago and have loved it ever since
- got great advice about building an SEP pension fund early and am living off it well
- feel great about helping so many hospitals avoid being robbed by their vendors
- jogged for 30 years and now hit the gym every day at 74 years old; god bless Medicare!
- saw so many operas & concerts, had wonderful client galas, and bought so many old Hondas
- stuck our consulting necks out dozens of times (overly) negotiating with greedy vendors
- helped both of our kids get a nice start in IT where they both work successfully today
- took my family with me all over the US & world on (far too) many vacation trips
- my career became what was most important to me - no regrets working so much & so hard
Only regret: wish I had planned more on what to do once retired. Am starting to get into some neat things that I wish I had started a while back but what the hay... at least I'm still here!
Not spending more time when children were young ... because of being afraid I had to work harder to keep my current job/or get a more satisfying job when probably I could have made the advancements without the extra hours at night ...
You should have an option “no regrets”
Start much earlier volunteering and giving $$ to one or two organizations that matter to me. Even in a small way, start building a secondary community outside of work. It can take as much effort to make these choices and grow these relationships as it does to build your work network.
Best not to have regrets unless you can do something about them; so for me the clear choice, if it was an option, would be to make sure your career and what's important to you are in sync. The truly exciting thing about today is that the opportunities to do that are still available at any age; and with the easy access to great documentaries, great books, Ted Talk, etc. you can continue to hone your knowledge and your skills at any age. So my advise would be:
1. Be fearless. It beats the heck out of the alternative and even as you near retirement you can look in the mirror, smile, and enjoy the fact that you never gave a bully or a bad boss the satisfaction they definitely don't deserve.
2. Spend at least one hour or more a day learning something new. Learn from the really great thought leaders that are more than willing to share their secrets. "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell will be a life changer if you truly think about the lessons he shares. The Netflix Documentary, In Bill Gates Mind will give you great insight into the mind of a true genius. etc. etc.
3. Start each day being thankful, have a smile on your face, empathy in your heart and then go out and take some time for yourself and to make a difference in someone's life. You'll be rich beyond your wildest dreams.
4. Be open and inclusive. "When you're green you grow, when you're ripe you rot."
5. You're here because your ancestors didn't give up, no matter what challenges confronted them. "Being Challenged is Inevitable, Being Defeated is Optional!"
No entry for "be more selfish, get drunk more, blow off responsibilities" or is that"stopping to smell the roses" or "take more risks" or "work harder to be healthy" (ok probably not the last!)
Take time for yourself. Stress affects your physical and mental well-being and a good multi-day per week workout routine helps immensely. And, of course, everything in moderation...
My actual biggest regret is not hiking the Appalachian Trail after finishing grad school. I was young, had no responsibilities or obligations... Opportunities like that are rare. And I guess that fits with risk-taking. Instead of hiking, I looked for a job, thinking I had to get settled into a career. Once I found a job, I took the safe route. Didn't push for new opportunities, etc. It worked out fine, but safe. Finally, when I hit 30 years with my company, I went to HR and told them I wanted something new and interesting. I was surprised at a) how easy it was to move into something different and b) how much value I was perceived to have within the company. I spent my final years before retirement having an absolute blast!