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  • Jack Fleming

Advice to My Younger Self...? Owning Your Story

"What advice would you give to your younger self?"

It seems like such a powerful question to ask a mentor or somebody 20 years ahead of you, to unlock the secrets to the future. There's even been books written about it.

Here are the top 5 regrets of the dying, which seem like a pretty good mirror to check yourself against along the way:

  1. "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me."

  2. "I wish I hadn't worked so hard."

  3. "I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings."

  4. "I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends."

  5. "I wish that I had let myself be happier."

What powerful advice, to take others past mistakes and put them into your own life.

But maybe "What advice would I give my younger self?" is the wrong question.

Every bump in the road, every experience you have had, especially the pitfalls have shaped the person or coach that you are today.

So if you had the magic wand to go back and reverse those mistakes, you would be a different person. If you eliminated all the errors, in fact the progress you might have made might be limited.

You could be complacent, thinking that you have got it all figured out. That problems don't exist, and it's all rainbows and fairies.

This statement stuck with me pretty hard.

"You can't love who you are, without accepting and loving everything that's made you to this point." - Ben Pakulski

You can't just remove all the ingredients which shaped you, you have to embrace them as part of your make up.

"The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness - even our wholeheartedness - actually depends on the integration of all our experiences, including the falls." - Brene Brown

Loving and Accepting Your Past Pitfalls

What are the errors that you have to be thankful for? What are those moments that you look back and think - if I hadn't have screwed that up, I would probably doing it the same way.

1. Thank you - for the time I yelled at a bunch of 12 year olds after a loss. Like an immature, egotistical child. (Sorry to those poor kids though)

2. Thank you - for the time I didn't share enough with my assistant coach, and then we were never on the same page.

3. Thank you - for the time I didn't ask for help because I didn't think I needed it, then things got worse.

4. Thank you - for the year when I was doing too many jobs, and none of them as good as I could have done.

5. Thank you - for the year I thought respect would just come because I was the head coach, without investing into the relationships first. And it didn't.

6. Thank you - for the season I didn't follow through on team standards consistently, and it became a pick and choose culture.

I could go on all day, but I will stop. Everything that's on that list made me consider deeply the value of how I do things and course correct along the way.

“We change our behaviour when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing. Consequences give us the pain that motivates us to change.”

- Henry Cloud, Boundaries: When to Say Yes How to Say No

So what advice would I give to my younger self?

I wouldn't give any advice. Because I wouldn't want to be anybody different right now and the past is all a part of that. And there's going to be a lot more mistakes along the way, big ones.

I would say this to myself right now though.

Find ways to be grateful for the things that are most challenging in life, because that's where your greatest opportunity exists. And don't shy away from them but know that they're shaping you in becoming the best version of yourself.

I'll finish with this - what mistakes are you thankful for?

Thank you for reading - if you would like to continue the conversation or this resonated with you please tag me on Twitter @Jack_Fleming1 or my email is

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