Today I Stopped Saying Would Have, Could Have, Should Have

Someone I was planning on connecting with to do a small contract job for Wanna Pixel messaged me that they got a government job and they were being flown somewhere by said government.

My first instinct was to get a knot in my stomach. A knot of regret. I started messaging my business partner, Nate, to say, “we should have nabbed her when we could.”

Then I stopped.

Should have.

Could have.

Would have.

Cue famous quote: “Of all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these. It might have been.” — John Greenleaf Whittier

Is there any more spoken combination of words by humans than “should have.” Or even “would have?”

Or…could have.

If only I hadn’t gotten distracted checking out the other applications and doing my due diligence. I would have given her an offer.

Or.

If only you hadn’t delayed me. We should have given her an offer.

Or.

If only the dumb government hadn’t stepped in with their big offer and fancy plane. I could have given her an offer.

But I didn’t.

Then, before I finished my woe-is-me slack message to my business partner, I had another thought.

What if it was supposed to be this way?

After all, I had reason to decide to check out all the candidates and interview at least three. It seemed like a prudent thing to do. In the back of my mind, I had my eye on this one, but God (or the universe, if you don’t believe in God’s hand in our lives) apparently had other plans.

Do I really want to keep aspiring young talent from being flown by the government to her exciting next job?

No. I had to admit. I didn’t.

I was glad for her.

She was getting the opportunity of a lifetime.

She was growing.

She was probably going to double or triple or rates in the next few months, as other talent I had seen who grew out of small business.

She was probably going to be able to say forever after that, “I did 3 years of work for the government on this exciting media job and they flew me all over the United States.”

I couldn’t offer her that. I just ran a small business. We couldn’t offer her the connections that her next job would probalby offer her. We do pay for people’s travel when it’s business-related of course, but it’s not as exciting for them as getting to say “the government flew me to Washington….”

Also, our job was a very small amount of hours, while this was a full time gig for the professional.

So I stopped in my tracks. I stopped feeling sorry for myself and I entertained the thought that, just maybe, this was the way it was supposed to happen.

For her, for us. For everyone whose life would be affected by the event.

I stopped saying should have, could have, would have.


Originally published at virtuallymarisa.com on January 25, 2017.

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