Dealing With Disappointment
I watched a great ballgame last night with some new friends—one of my goals for this year. You can give me a small clap for that. The game was a stunning example of victory and defeat—of exhilarating triumph and crushing disappointment. For the losing team, it may have been better to get beaten badly—to be blown out of the stadium, rather than losing a game it dominated for 99% of the contest, in the final seconds.
Last week I faced some disappointments of my own. This got me thinking about disappointment, in general. It's not a pleasant topic, but one that anyone who wants to achieve anything has to tackle. Letdowns are a part of life. They usually arrive in one of three categories (or any combination of them). Last week I dealt with all three.
Disappointed With Myself
This blog is about vision, but it's also about a journey of accomplishment. I set some goals that are important to me and I'm measuring my progress toward them. The bigger story is about keeping the promises I made to myself, and by extension, the others who are affected by what I do.
Based on the way last month ended, my writing schedule got squeezed. That caused me to miss deadlines. At the same time, I had a crisis at my house and spent a couple days dealing with it. I couldn't find the time to get caught up and to publish my post.
That was it. I let myself down.
Disappointed With Others
It's a bad idea to make plans for other people. I know this is true, but I still do it. It often leads to disappointment. People have their own lives and their own plans. Why should they follow mine?
I may have an idea of another's best interest (it may even be correct), but it's meaningless if that person can't see it. I allowed myself to be clouded by other people's actions (something I can't control) and it took some steam out of my engines.
High performers have to be aware of this dynamic. Focus on whatever makes you feel motivated. Ditch whatever drains you.
Disappointed With the Circumstances
On the way to achieving my goals, I've made a bunch of detours. One day, I'd love to see the aerial view of my journey. I've also sat in God's waiting room for long stretches of time. Other times, I've "dared greatly" (according to Teddy Roosevelt) and failed.
Negative emotions like disappointment are insatiable. Once they began reminding me why I was upset with myself or with others, they started pointing out everything wrong in my environment. In order to push past these voices, I had to recommit to three things.
Press the reset button. I had to release the pressure off myself. So what? I missed a deadline. The world didn't end. I'm evolving as a writer and so far this year, I've written more than all of last year. I had to put things in perspective. I suggest you do the same. When you start spiraling in the "blame-game," step back and look at yourself from another angle.
Let people go. When I was 12 years old, I had an epiphany. The revelation was that I was in charge of my own life. Whatever I would become or whatever I would be was up to me. If I failed in life I couldn't blame my parents, my siblings, my teachers—no one.
The message was that life and the people who made up my life didn't owe me anything. By taking responsibility for myself, I began to release others. Of course, I'm human and I get let down by others. But I never let that define me because other people aren't responsible for my happiness or success. That's up to me.
Learn from it. This past weekend I sat in a library for a few hours and dissected what was going on around me. I considered my disappointment in myself, in people and in the circumstances of the past week. I decided that I would end the mourning and learn from it.
What good is disappointment if all it does is cause you pain? You might as well learn from it. You might as well grow.
I'll end this post the way it began. I spent last night with some lovely, new friends. This is one of my goals for this year—to make some new friends. So far, I've been doing well in that area. I can focus on my disappointments or I can focus on my victories. You have the same choice. I'm choosing to bask in the positive; to stop and smell some flowers on the journey.
I encourage you to join me!
Thanks for reading my post. I'm an attorney and Christian minister. I'm also a #keynote #speaker and an author. I write about business, life and faith, focusing on how to know God's vision for your life so that you may fulfill your purpose. You may connect further with me here or by clicking below!
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