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encouragement

3 ways to fight disappointment

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Disappointment.

Literally, “an arrangement to meet someone at a particular time and place that doesn’t happen.”

I think it’s all about the expectation. The very reason we feel disappointed is because we show up expecting.

We are dressed for a job interview and we discover that they company just shuttered it’s doors.

The anticipation. The what if. The hope and dream.

Stopped dead in it’s tracks.

So what do we do with our disappointment?

How do we process it?

You have three options:

  1. Continue to expect and receive disappointment as an affront to you.
  2. Lower your expectations (no anticipation equals no let down).
  3. Anticipate with data.

I vote number 3. Math for the win.

The longer I am in business, the better I get at anticipating the results of our efforts. And here’s what I’ve found- expectations (and disappointment) come from a misalignment between vision and reality. We hope things will turn out one way and we’re shocked when they turn out another way.

So instead, what if we were to check in more frequently on our expectations? What if we were to back them up with some data?

We can still anticipate- but our expectations will be more in line with reality.

And thus, less room for catastrophic disappointment.

Of course there will be those times when something happens out of the blue.

A reliable team member quits. A company closes. A client loses grip with reality.

But for the most part, these are exceptions rather than the rule.

Here are a few steps that have helped me in my daily life:

  1. Track actions not just results
  2. Check the data at least weekly
  3. Start small, dream big later

First, tracking actions:

If I want to lose weight, I measure the number of days I pressed play on the workout DVD. Get off the scale (a lagging indicator) and put on your workout clothes (a leading indicator).

Second, check the data weekly:

The drift between the dream and reality happen when no don’t know what is really going on. Instead of checking your bank account monthly, check in weekly, or even daily. Resetting your expectations based on the latest data helps give you a realistic picture of where you are today.

Third, start small and dream big later:

When we get pitched to publish a course, often the vision is for more than one project. They share all of their ideas instead of just one good one. Slow down. Get started. Work hard and see what happens. You can always talk about the next thing, but right now, focus your efforts on this thing.

Of course I still experience disappointment. But I have learned to tamper it by tracking actions, checking data, and starting small.

I hope this encourages you today.

Your message matters!

-Brian