a choice, regrets
Respondents ruminate on not letting regrets get in the way of living their best lives

Is there something you haven’t prioritized yet and you know in your heart that if you never actually put it at the top of your list and do it, you’ll regret it? Our colleagues approach this question, as always, with their individual perspectives. In this column, adopted from the familiar “Heard on the Street” format, we offer our responders a chance to answer the question posed in the title. These are their replies reported verbatim.

Regrets, Imagined & Real

Fear of the “electric everything” future can be so paralyzing, especially in our industry and for such a small company like mine. But fear of regret will stick with me for life. My greatest regret — and with it, my greatest fear — would be that I did not do everything in my power to do what was best and right for my employees, my customers and my community. I will continue to fight the all-electric movement no matter what. I realize this does not make me the best businesswoman, but I hope it makes me the best human I can be. At the end of the day, to me, that’s what I can live with!

Judy Taranovich
Proctor Gas
Proctor, Vermont


I would regret if I was not my true self. It has always been important to me to be myself and let people get to know the real me. If someone does not like me because they don’t jive with me, that’s OK. But I would hate for someone to not like me, and I didn’t give them the opportunity to really know me.

Lauren Clark
Toledo, Ohio

When I decided not to complete my Ph.D. dissertation, I was saddened that all my research on General Beatson, his Bashi Bazouks and the Crimean War was never going to see the light. Then I thought to myself, “Why don’t I turn this into a historical novel?”

The only problem with that was the writing part. I had a lovely academic paper, but a fiction novel? Not so much. I diligently took fiction writing courses and worked on my magnum opus — and then, I stopped. I now have a half-written book, and I know what I would really regret not doing is finishing it.

Leslie Woodward
Fairview Fittings
Oakville, Ontario, Canada

I would regret not being there for my daughter, whom I bring to and from school and everywhere in between — yes, mostly in a bobtail or service truck. Also, my daily life involves — at some point — amateur radio, geocaching and some discussion of trains. I would definitely regret not doing any one of these items, as they keep me sane!

Richard Strycharz Jr.
Walter’s Propane
Sunderland, Massachusetts

I would regret not doing everything that I can to live a happy and fulfilling life with my family.

Jason Soulon
Westmor Industries
Shawnee, Kansas

I would regret not being able to spend more time with my grandkids. They all have such unique personalities, and I really enjoy talking with them. It is interesting to see their perspectives on life.

I realize the older they get and the busier their schedules are, we will have less time together. So, we need to make the most of the time we have now!

Rosie Buschur
McMahan’s Bottle Gas
Dayton, Ohio

I would regret not being myself. We are all unique with our own valuable qualities, skills and talents. I learned long ago that trying to fit in with the crowd left me feeling uncomfortable and unfulfilled. Over time, I realized that the more comfortable I am in my skin, the happier I am, and my work and life reflect that.

Jessica Johnson
Asheville, North Carolina

I regret not majoring in business in college. Unless your parents or relatives were savvy and experienced with the career and college major selection, most of us relied on our high school guidance counselors for recommendations and direction. In hindsight, I wish they had developed a better process to help students identify their interests, skill sets and the associated potential career opportunities to explore.

It was suggested that I major in physical education and become a teacher because I had no real vision or plan, and I was a three-sport athlete for four years in high school. I should have been guided into business or marketing based upon my personality traits and characteristics, which would have been far more beneficial in my current role as vice president of sales.

Jerry Schimmel
P3 Propane Safety
Cumberland, Rhode Island

I would certainly regret not doing my best. Whether it is in business, volunteering or supporting my family, it is important that I do the right thing.

In business, you have to work hard for your customers and employees. In doing philanthropic work, you must put in time to be effective. As my family has grown, spending time as a positive influence on my grandkids and extended family is rewarding. Doing my best to help them become good people is a priority for me and a joy. There is nothing better or more humbling than to be someone that people respect and admire. You can only get there by doing your best!

Ed Varney
Top Line Management LLC
McKinney, Texas

I would regret not finishing my goal of visiting all 50 states. This goal came about after joining my benchmarking group in 2008. The group met in various states, and then I would add a day or two onto the trip to see the sights. Today, I have 11 states left to visit. South Dakota is already booked for next year — then I’ll be down to 10!

Julie Johnson
Ted Johnson Propane
Baldwin Park, California

I would regret not traveling and seeing this wonderful earth we live on — so much beauty in so many places.

Laurie Irish-Jones
Irish Propane
Buffalo, New York

I used to be timid or worried about committing to requests or being involved in projects. What would happen if I failed or looked like a fool? I wish I could remember the book I read 15 years ago, but it was about an up-and-coming comedian who worked in improv before making it big. While on stage performing improv, the rule is they must say yes to keep the skit going. The skit could fail using this theory, but if you said no or didn’t play along, it obviously immediately ended or failed.

The lesson I learned was that it’s silly to not say yes! This has opened opportunities up for me that I never imagined, both personally and professionally. Heck, some of you will remember that I ended up on stage in Nashville with a famous songwriter because I said yes. Things have changed in my life [for the better] all because I said yes, and I would’ve regretted missing out on all those opportunities!

Tonya Crow
Bloomington, Illinois

‘I’d Rather Regret the Things I’ve Done Than Regret the Things I Haven’t Done.’

Looking for a simple quote about regret, I found the statement above attributed to Lucille Ball. Her comment is both witty and wise. We can’t undo what’s past and may regret, but we can find a way to achieve our private goals and feel pride. We can aim to live our lives to the fullest, learn from experiences and at the end of the day have no excuses and no regrets.

Nancy Coop is an industry advocate. She is director of marketing at the M&A advisory firm Cetane Associates.
Contact her at ncoop@cetane.net.


The 2023 State of the Industry Issue