Throughout your life, you will face numerous disappointments.
At work, you will meet disillusionment, and obstacles. In your private life, people will let you down. And most of all, at times, you will disappoint yourself with your own behaviour.
I do not think it is possible to totally protect ourselves from disappointments or failure. It is far more important to work out how to bounce back from them.
For example, one of my coachees has just bought a business. He is excited, but at the same time he has also been stressed by the new responsibilities. His burden got significantly heavier these past few days with some undue pressure from the former owners of the enterprise.
Another situation I have been dealing with this past week concerns one of my team members. She’s been with my organisation for a year, but she hasn’t hit her stride yet. I believe in her potential, but she seems to think that she’s not adding value to me.
Personally, I have also grappled with a close friend and confidant. We used to communicate regularly and met at least once or twice a week. Perhaps his work has become more demanding, or perhaps I may have unintentionally upset him, but now, it’s just radio silence from his end.
These are some of the types of disappointments we all face.
Perhaps you are dealing with a disappointment right now, too?
Whether someone you trusted and loved, let you down; or something in your work or business didn’t go right; or your life isn’t where you want it to be; at times, the world just seems to have a way of kicking us especially when we are already down.
The point is, to not allow these setbacks to control your emotions, and end up defining your progress.
Naturally, some disappointments are small enough and have a minimal impact on you, but there are also others that will make you feel like the end of the world is imminent.
Obstacles are a reality in any endeavour, but the disappointments you face can serve as a catalyst for your personal growth. You will have to learn from them to advance, rather than regress with fear and debilitation.
Here are a few things that I recommend you consider as you work on overcoming disappointments.
Start by working on having a strong purpose drive. This forms the foundation for any recovery. For example, civil engineers will always test the strength of any material to determine its ability to withstand an applied load, without failure.
Your ability to rise from any discontent is based on your mental and physical strength. A keen sense of your strengths and weaknesses, coupled with a strong support network will help you.
You then have to take ownership of your setbacks. It is much easier to just get upset with the world when you feel disappointed.
Remember that your biggest failing is when you do not take responsibility for your actions.
Process your hurt, but be vigilant against playing the blame game. In its place, focus on your role in the setback. This will teach you how to avoid the same misstep in the future.
When you take this attitude to manage disappointments, you will find that your mind recalibrates.
While you might feel the pain of your disappointment, you also have to understand that as you work through your emotions, things will only get better. This will help you see opportunities for progressing out of a mind-set that is debilitating to becoming more pragmatic about your life.
Truth be told, many of my setbacks have just been camouflaged opportunities.
One more thing that helps you deal with disappointment is to have the right people around you.
I have worked hard at cultivating and surrounding myself with the right support network. My wife, my parents, my business partners, and a select group of close friends offer me tremendous support, which helps me overcome my disappointments.
Be careful not to pick folks who will fuel your anger, or just drive you deeper into self-doubt.
Look instead for people who are solution-oriented, and are skilled at empowering others.
To attract such persons in
your life, you must first be only interested in associating with people who are honest, and insightful. Constantly seek out individuals who have verve, vigour and enthusiasm for life.
This is the best sort of person to hang out with, rather than the downtrodden types.
Finally, learn to strategize and execute a recovery plan.
I ask my executive leadership coaching clients to do ‘action-research’. This simply means that you need to reflect on your actions, and to keep a tab on how you behave or respond to situations and stimuli.
This will help you understand your own motivations better.
It will teach you to the read the signs and signals of behaviour patterns that do not resonate with you. And, it will help you create strategies to avoid and overcome similar disappointments in the future.
Life is definitely going to test you, repeatedly. The question is; are you ready for it?
Shankar R. Santhiram is managing consultant and executive leadership coach at EQTD Consulting. He is also the author of the national bestseller “So, You Want To Get Promoted?”