Moving Past Disappointment

By far the biggest hurdle to productivity is a disappointment. The thing about disappointment is that because we are so often disconnected from our feelings, we overlook the impact disappointment has on our emotions and ability to get things done.

With that in mind, we have to monitor the various disappointments in our lives because they add up and have the potential to hamper our willpower to continue on towards a goal.

I recently experienced a major dip in productivity, passion, and couldn't tie it to any major event. What happened was several disappointments over a short period of time that caused frustration and hampered my ability to see things for what they were.

"Disappointment obstructs your vision."

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When you experience something different from what you expected, disappointment happens, also know as a "dimmer switch". This is an excellent description of what happens when we are disappointed. Consider the difference between driving at night with bright lights as opposed to standard headlights. With your brights on, you have the ability to see past what is immediately in front of you.

When you only see the disappointment, your sense of hopelessness becomes magnified because it's all you can see at the moment. Your loss appears greater than it is because you've lost context. So how do you get past this part of disappointment that dims your vision? You turn your brights back on and focus on the big picture.

1. You accept this small loss and objectively evaluate what you could have done better.

It is a very rare case when we've done our best. Most times, if we are honest, we can say that we could have prepared more to prevent the loss we experienced. In the case that our best isn't good enough, it simply means we need to go back to the drawing board to enhance and/or learn more skills that would better suit our end goals.

An example of this is when I interviewed for Caesar's Entertainment a year or two ago. I had the perfect experience, but I didn't have experience with SQL (a database language) which was listed as preferred. I knew I did extremely well in the interview, but when we got to that question I was automatically disqualified. It was a major blow to my confidence and I didn't apply for jobs for the next six months.

An objective view would have said I could have started learning SQL when I applied for the job and been able to communicate my training at the time of the interview. Although I gave the best I had at the time, I can be honest and say that my best could have been better.

2. You review your previous wins so that you can regain perspective.

Sometimes to understand where you are going you have to see where you've been. Interviewing with Caesar's for me was the first time I interviewed for a job and did not get it. However, when I thought back to all the other companies I interviewed for and was hired for like...

Coach, the luxury handbag designer

Target, the national retail giant

the Department of Defense, one of the biggest government agencies

and my current position working as an operations manager in Mexico;

I had to refocus on gratitude so that I could see and focus on all of my gains instead of this one loss that was small in the context of things. Not to mention, around the same time I was given the opportunity to manage revenue for my facility. That is unheard of for a twenty-four-year-old in a male-dominated industry like manufacturing. Once I decided to be grateful the disappointment was easier to swallow because I realized that what I wanted was one option, not the only option.

3. You readjust your daily, monthly, and yearly goals.

A change of plans isn't always the easiest thing, but the less we resist change the easier is it to survive it. By readjusting your goals you send an internal message that reflects acceptance and a sense of hope that all is not lost. A goal delayed is not a goal destroyed. Reviewing and updating your goals provides you with a sense of control and increases your bandwidth for being able to accept not getting what you want.

I expected to have another job in 2017, and I didn't get it. My initial response was becoming upset and taking a step back, eventually, I looked at what I could do instead of focusing on what I wanted to do. I got back to applying for jobs for a little while, but even then I realized I was putting so much energy into the job search instead of being a better candidate. I took hold of the opportunity to get extra training and certifications with my current company and was able to get a job position that I did not even apply for.

The moral of the story is that although we do not always get what we want, we always have what we need to move forward. If we can simply adjust our perspective, work with what we have, and never lose sight of what we have already accomplished we can overcome disappointments - both big and small.

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