If we will be quiet and ready enough,
we shall find compensation in every disappointment.-Henry David Thoreau
In living a full life, we will experience disappointment. In leading a successful career, we will experience disappointment. It’s part of life. It’s neither something to want, nor is it something to be avoided at all costs.
This past week (well heck, these past two years!) we’ve all created plans that have had to be cancelled, been excited about opportunities that didn’t pan out, and then grappled with the feelings that came with those moments – time and time again.
As a coach and as a CEO, I’ve noticed the debilitating shift that can occur in a person at these moments. One day, you feel confident and moving forward, and then – in the blink of an eye when plans don’t work out – you feel defeated, and question everything. Especially yourself.
You attach meaning to the occurrence. You extrapolate that “therefore… (fill in the blank: “I’m never going to get what I want.” “I’m not qualified for these kinds of jobs.” “I shouldn’t have believed that anything would change.”)
And on and on.
Here’s a secret to think about in these moments: nothing has actually changed.
The possibilities you were looking forward to are still present.
The confidence and clarity you felt about what you have to offer and where you can have impact and joy are still relevant.
The vision you had is still possible.
It is in these moments of disappointment, where we have a choice to stay in the present moment. Mindfully observe if you’re embarking on a downward spiral based on assumptions that need to be tested!
Choose to reframe the situation – not in a Pollyanna, everything is fine, kind of way – but in a quiet reflection of the truth.
Here’s some prompts that may help:
“Why did I want what I wanted?” Whatever your answer is, ask yourself a couple more “why’s” until you get at the impact you really wanted – to you and to others. Then:
“How can I have that in a different way?” (because, you ALWAYS can)
“What would it mean if this disappointment revealed a new opportunity that I can’t yet see?” (because, it ALWAYS does)
If YOU are experiencing disappointment, I’m so sorry. Your feelings matter. My intivation is to feel them, and then find a favorite place to re-claim your perspective and see the possibilities that are still present. The world NEEDS you to keep going, to keep searching for ways to have the impact you are meant to have – with joy, ease and financial sustainability!
To your success!