What is disappointment? It’s the experience of having reality not align to our expectations. Basically we’re hoping for one thing and get another instead. Pretty sure we’ve all felt it and felt it acutely in 2020.
Recently, I experienced a major disappointment. I had been hoping for and working hard toward one outcome (for an award/recognition), only to not see it materialize after all the effort I’d put in. It was crushing.
But in a year that has handed out more than an average number of crushing disappointments, I was in good company.
I talked to a friend that same day who was experiencing the disappointment of the sale of their house unable to go through as planned. A few days later, I talked to another friend who has been brave enough to return to school for an entirely new degree, but is disappointed with field work that has been far more challenging in unexpected ways, causing her to doubt her choice to return to school.
Can there be success in disappointment?
Absolutely. You just have to be willing to look for it.
For my friend with the college challenges, the disappointment is changing the approach for the remainder of the field work, but it’s not changing the brave new direction that’s been set. She’s staying in the degree program to eventually gain employment doing work that matters deeply to her.
For my friend with the house drama, it’s changing the timeline of when they will move and how they will accomplish it, but it’s not changing their decision to move. Moving was and is the success measure and they will hit it. Eventually.
As for me, I needed to remind myself that although awards and recognition are nice, they aren’t my measure of success. I’m not here to be the most highly decorated coach in the industry. I’m here to help as many people as I can find work that they love because our families, workplaces, and communities are transformed when people love what they do. When I looked at my disappointment with reset expectations, it was a lot easier for me to see the success and to celebrate it.
The punk-rock poet, Frank Turner said it best, “Everyone can find a song for every time they’ve lost and every time they’ve won”. So whether you’re killing it or getting killed by it, turn up the music and take another look. You might see more success than you expected!
If you are struggling with disappointment (from mild to crushing and everything in between!), check out my new book Success Authentically: Unlock Excitement, Purpose, and Joy At Work. You’ll find a brand-new approach to success!
#PositiveAction Take a good, honest look at your latest disappointment. You may be surprised to discover there’s a lot of success hiding in it!