Author Dan Pink on the Mistake of Not Having a Mentor and The Power of Regret

Author Dan Pink on the Mistake of Not Having a Mentor and The Power of Regret

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My guest for Episode #137 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Daniel H. Pink. He is the author of seven books and his most recent was released on February 1, The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward – that seems like a perfect topic to explore on this podcast.

I had a chance to interview Dan back in 2010, for another podcast series, about his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

Dan’s books have won multiple awards, have been translated into 42 languages, and have sold millions of copies around the world. He received a BA from Northwestern University, where he was a Truman Scholar and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a JD from Yale Law School.

In today's episode, Dan shares his “favorite mistake” story about never finding a mentor — he didn't ask, didn't think it was needed. How did he learn that this was a mistake and a regret?

We also talk about questions and topics including:

  • What's the difference or connection between mistakes and regrets?
  • Mistake is an action, regret is an emotion
  • Why having regrets is normal and healthy — and “why the ‘No Regrets' philosophy is dunderheaded and dangerous”
  • You uncovered the four most common regrets, what’s one example?
  • Is “regret” our most misunderstood emotion?
  • Why do we regret what we DON’T DO more than regretting what we DO do?
  • I regret times when I didn’t speak up in the moment…
  • Tell us about the research that went into this book… 
  • “Talking about the regret is helpful” – lifts the burden, words out loud help or writing (disclosure)
  • Self-compassion. Kristen Neff (Texas)
  • How can we turn regrets into a positive force?
  • How can we avoid dwelling in regret? 
  • Do you think the pandemic has, in some way, caused people to think differently about regret?
  • World Regret Survey

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Quotes:

"I never ever cultivated or found a mentor. I'm in my fifties now and I've never really had anybody in my life who was a mentor. And I realized that was a mistake."
"Talking about the regret, disclosing the regret, is very helpful."
"We're uncomfortable talking about our vulnerabilities. We think people will think less of us. And what the evidence shows is that is wrong. People think more of us, they admire our candor. They empathize with us. They admire our courage."

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)


Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.