How You Can Minimize Regret in 4 Simple Steps

How You Can Minimize Regret in 4 Simple Steps

Redefining success and minimize regret with Mark Sanborn, a Hall of Fame keynote speaker and bestselling author, advocates for a purpose-driven life that fosters genuine success and personal fulfillment to minimize regret. Mark Sanborn’s insights offer a roadmap for those looking to redefine success and lead a purposeful, fulfilling life to minimize regret.

Redefining the Meaning of Success in 2023

In order to pursue success and minimize regret, the narrative shifts beyond the conventional realm of accumulating wealth to a more expansive concept – freedom. Success now encompasses not just financial prosperity but the profound freedom to chase personal passions and aspirations. This paradigm shift prompts a deeper understanding of what it truly means to achieve holistic fulfillment.

In the quest for a gratifying life, a novel strategy emerges: the deliberate act of “aiming low” to strategically minimize regrets. This challenges the prevailing notion that only ambitious goals lead to success. The proposition is that setting more realistic aspirations may significantly curtail the potential for disappointment and regret. This approach aligns seamlessly with the wisdom of prioritizing purpose over specific goals and lays the groundwork for actions grounded in a meaningful mission.

The notion that “the more you are good, the easier it is to be consistently good; the more you are great, the easier it is to be consistently great” echoes this overarching philosophy. By setting achievable goals, appreciating smaller victories, and recognizing the value in incremental progress, the risk of self-blame and despair diminishes when ambitious aspirations fall short. This intentional approach to goal-setting and accomplishment contributes to a notable reduction in the footprint of regret in our lives.

This expansive perspective on redefining success revolves around the transition from wealth-centric notions to a more profound idea of freedom. Success, as understood in this paradigm, embodies the freedom to pursue passions and create a meaningful impact. The key takeaway underscores the significance of consistently embracing excellence, valuing smaller achievements, and setting attainable goals – not merely for success’s sake but to curate a life rich in satisfaction while trying to minimize regret.

Purposeful Living Topic: Success isn’t just about achieving goals

Living a purposeful life is consistently being good, appreciating smaller victories, and setting realistic goals, as Mark wisely advises, “If you make enough little moves, a funny thing happens over time cumulatively; you experience the big leap.” While conventional success often revolves around achieving large results, true significance emerges when these accomplishments align with our core values.

For understanding purposeful living, it’s crucial to remember Mark’s words: “Try things. If you like them, keep doing them. If you don’t like them, move on.” This idea of adapting our future along with evolving passions and values, ensure that our pursuits resonate with what truly matters to us to minimize regret. This mindset encourages a flexible and all-encompassing way of figuring out and attaining success, acknowledging that ‘success’ is more like an ongoing journey than a set endpoint.

Personal growth is a continual process, involving changes in interests, priorities, strengths, and our perception of success. It becomes crucial to regularly adjust our paths in harmony with our authentic selves. Thus, in the pursuit of success, it’s beneficial to maintain dedication yet remain adaptable, persistent while being open to change. Most importantly, engaging in activities that bring joy and align with personal values to minimize regret. Echoing the sentiment of Mark’s profound quote, “Success is not about achieving everything, but about aligning our actions with our values and making a difference in the things that matter most to us.” This notion highlights the importance of approaching life with purpose and significance to minimize regret, going beyond conventional success metrics.

Mark’s wisdom provides a refreshing perspective on purposeful living, reminding us to uphold our values and find meaning in our journey. In essence, Mark’s insight invites genuine fulfillment by aligning our actions with our values and striving to make a difference in areas we care about the most. Success is no longer merely about achieving a particular goal but about the progression towards it and the lessons we learn along the way.

Overcoming Fear of Failure

Mark Sanborn wisely points out, “We enjoy success, but we learn more from failure.” This honest recognition shows the transformative nature of setbacks and the invaluable lessons they offer. Rather than dreading failure, Mark encourages us to embrace it as a stepping stone toward growth and improvement.

Failing isn’t the end but an opportunity to learn, reassess, and enhance. It’s a reality check that reveals areas for attention and improvement. Encounters with failure prompt deep introspection, forcing us to challenge our abilities and capacities. They may even show hidden talents or skills beneath the comfort of previous successes we wouldn’t have found unless we failed. Mark’s advice isn’t about celebrating failure; it is about shifting our perspective towards failure, viewing it not as a hindrance but a facilitator of progress. The learning process is not an upward linear graph; it will have its dips and curves. It’s significant to remember that with every fall, there’s a rebound waiting, propelling us towards greater heights.

In a world that sets incredibly high standards and expectations, failure may seem a dreadful proposition. But as Mark wisely notes, if we shift our perspective and see failure as nothing more than a stepping-stone towards success, we can not only overcome it but also use it to our advantage. By embracing failure, we can harness the potent lessons it offers and, ultimately, grow into better versions of ourselves and minimize regret.

“I really believe that really successful people are more often disappointed than unsuccessful people. Unsuccessful people expect to be unsuccessful. Successful people are always trying new things and occasionally fail, maybe fail a lot, until they get the big hit.” – Mark Sanborn

Sanborn’s perspective prompts a reevaluation of failure, asserting that successful individuals, ready to embrace risk, accept the likelihood of disappointment. This courage to confront the unknown controls their high expectations. In contrast, unsuccessful individuals choose a low risk path, playing it safe to minimize regret and momentary fear but stifling potential growth. Recognizing this, it’s crucial to turn fear into productivity, viewing potential failures as avenues for learning and evolution.

Overcoming the fear involves starting small with manageable risks, building tolerance for larger endeavors that may bring larger failures but also potentially greater successes. Prioritizing resilience to swiftly rebound from challenges and setbacks not only allows for the application of valuable lessons but also paves the way for a seamless transition to subsequent growth. Recognizing the profound impact of mindset, fostering a positive mental attitude becomes imperative in diminishing the fear of failure, instilling confidence in tackling challenges, and minimize regrets.

Redefine Success and Minimize Regret

4 Tactics for Redefining Success and Minimize Regret

Mark continuously challenges conventional notions, offering profound principles that surpass mere accomplishments. Join us in exploring these strategies—The Scorekeeping System, The ABCD Principle, The Performance Matrix, and The Strategic Difference—each providing distinctive insights into the realm of purposeful living and the pursuit of lasting success.

1. The Scorekeeping System

Mark introduces a scorekeeping system involving results, riches, recreation, and relationships. He presents a tracking system encompassing outcomes, wealth, leisure, and interpersonal connections, adding, “If you’re solely focused on end-results, eventually, life can become dull.” Mark argues that true achievement surpasses measurable outcomes, underscoring the need for nurturing relationships and finding joy in leisure while striving for success.

“If you’re only about results, at the end of the day, life suddenly goes on dim. And if you’re only about riches, you’ve got no one to share those, those riches with. And if you’re in recreation but haven’t focused on relationships, you’re on your boat by yourself. People focusing on relationships tend to have all four.” Mark notes that a balanced life maximizes personal success, where a focus on results brings achievement. Main point being, success loses meaning without sharing and joy.

Mark highlights the importance of savoring the benefits of success rather than fixating solely on its attainment. The ultimate objective is holistic prosperity, a harmonious blend of material wealth, personal satisfaction, joy, and love. In Mark’s scorekeeping system, success is defined by Results, Riches, Recreation, and Relationships, with a particular emphasis on the latter. By prioritizing relationships, individuals can achieve fulfillment, contentment, and minimize regrets, creating a comprehensive and meaningful life journey.

2. The ABCD Principle

Mark introduces the ABCD principle—Above and Beyond the Call of Duty—as a guiding philosophy that underscores the significance of surpassing expectations by giving a little bit more. Expressing concern, Mark notes, “I do worry, however, that people look at extraordinary as only big and not sometimes small.” He emphasizes the transformative potential of small actions, stating, “it’s those little leaps that create extraordinary.” According to Mark, prioritizing consistent excellence is more valuable than sporadic greatness, serving as the foundational element for enduring success. He articulates this perspective, stating, “I formulated the idea that it is better to be consistently good than occasionally great because consistency is your outward-facing brand.”

To embody extraordinariness, Mark suggests making small moves consistently, asserting, “if you make enough little moves, a funny thing happens over time cumulatively, you experience the big leap.” The ABCD principle extends beyond professional realms to all areas of life, advocating not only meeting but surpassing requirements with a little bit more effort.

Highlighting the impact of minor efforts, Mark illustrates with an example: “Somebody says how do I get to the HR office? You walk, you don’t tell, it takes you 15 more seconds, your day’s not shot. And when you go through life looking for ways, little things, you make a big difference. It’s pretty easy to be extraordinary.”

The key takeaway is to focus on making small, consistent improvements rather than aiming for immediate greatness. While these incremental changes may not be immediately noticeable, they accumulate over time, leading to radical transformations in the long run. Being extraordinary, Mark emphasizes, doesn’t always require achieving monumental feats. It often involves consistently performing small actions that go above and beyond, as these actions contribute to significant growth and long-term success over time.

3. The Performance Matrix

In the context to minimize regret and redefining success, Mark introduces the performance matrix to navigate the inner and outer worlds of doing and responding.

“Performance matrix or the potential matrix. One is the inner world, outer world. One is doing, and one is responding. And in the outer world of doing is what we call performing. That’s where we spend the majority of our lives; that’s what gives us our reputation. And the outer world of responding, that means you’re not necessarily doing something, but you’re responding to something. I call that learning.” – Mark Sanborn

This framework distinguishes between the inner worlds of thinking, planning, and strategizing, and the challenging realm of reflecting. According to Mark, reflecting is essential but often overlooked, involving slowing down to allow ideas to catch up to us. In the pursuit of real success, Mark encourages individuals to embrace this inner world of responding and make it a priority within their day-to-day lives, fostering resilience, hard work, and a mindset that aligns with what is really important to us.

This approach involves regular self-reflection, stepping outside the comfort zone, and updating choices to achieve meaningful objectives. Mark’s insights challenge the cycle of passive resignation and motivate individuals to explore topics beyond the well-paying but unsatisfying job, instilling the courage to redefine success on their terms. The idea advocates for setting goals based on personal definitions of success, using a lens that goes beyond external validation and societal expectations. Mark’s emphasis to minimize regrets, embracing risk, innovation, and exploring topics beyond the routine resonates throughout, urging individuals to escape the comfort of the familiar and cultivate a mindset that aligns with their core values.

4. The Strategic Difference

Exploring the strategic difference in achieving and redefining success, Mark identifies two factors—operational excellence and innovation. While operational excellence involves outperforming competitors, Mark highlights that true success often hinges on innovation. He aptly notes, “emulate to learn, but innovate to earn,” asserting that innovation surpasses emulation in the pursuit of lasting success.

Mark emphasizes the mantra, “better always beats best,” indicating that simply being the best isn’t enough. To truly stand out, one must continuously strive for improvement and progression. This concept underscores the importance of both maintenance and growth. Operational excellence involves maintaining a top-tier position, but innovation involves constant improvement, outdoing not only competitors, but one’s own past performance. Mark explains that innovation is an ongoing process that does not end with the invention of a product, service, or process. Companies need to continuously adopt new techniques and technology to improve their methods and maintain relevance in an ever-changing market. 

Mark’s strategic difference is about having a mindset that embraces change, pursues improvement, and values creativity over competition. In essence, he believes that the road to success is paved quite differently from the traditional way of competing or outperforming peers. According to Mark, the way to success is through innovation and constant improvement, or simply put, to strive to be always better, and not just the best. 


Mark Sanborn’s insights provide a roadmap for those seeking not only to redefine success but a purposeful and fulfilling life to minimize regrets. By embracing failure, living purposefully, and understanding the intricacies redefining success, individuals can navigate the journey toward extraordinary achievements. Mark’s wisdom serves as a beacon, guiding us to innovate, reflect, and ultimately redefine success.

The empowering nature of his philosophy, celebrating our unique selves, reminds us of the power that lies within us to make a real difference. Encouraging a mindset of service to others as an integral part of success attests to Sanborn’s broad understanding of human potential and the value of each individual.

Listen to engaging conversations about success, leadership and personal development with thought leaders on the ‘Big Success Podcast’ who share their insights to motivate you and lead you to success.

The powerful combination of purpose, passion, and practicality in these key takeaways presents us with a comprehensive and enriched approach to personal growth and professional development. In summary, Sanborn’s wisdom paints a vibrant and expansive picture of life’s possibilities, inviting us to strive, persevere, and celebrate our journey toward extraordinary achievements.


How can I minimize regrets in life?

To minimize regrets, align actions with core values, embrace a growth mindset, and view experiences as opportunities for learning. Regularly evaluate and adjust targets to stay aligned with evolving values, fostering a journey through self-awareness and intentional living to minimize regret.

How does defining and redefining success impact your life journey?

Defining and redefining success acts as a dynamic compass guiding life’s journey. Adjusting definitions to align with evolving values ensures a personalized pursuit, resisting external pressures. Continuous reevaluation empowers purposeful navigation, contributing to a more meaningful and satisfying life journey.

What role does choice and decision making play in shaping our life journey?

Choices, big or small, shape our life journey, impacting careers, relationships, happiness, and overall life quality. Approach decision-making consciously, recognizing the profound impact each choice can have on life’s narrative. Informed choices propel toward goals, emphasizing the importance of thoughtful consideration.

Why is setting goals based on your personal definition of success important?

Setting goals based on your unique definition of success is crucial for sustained satisfaction. Aligning goals with internal values minimize regrets and dissatisfaction, mitigating external influences. Introspective practices such as meditation or journaling aid in identifying authentic aspirations, ensuring goals reflect individual values.

What role does resilience play in the journey of ongoing achievement?

Resilience is crucial in the ongoing journey of achievement. Embracing setbacks, learning from failures, and emerging stronger form the foundation for sustained effort. Resilience reduces the fear of failure, fostering adaptability and perseverance in the pursuit of continuous achievement.

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