“You’re disappointing me.”
“You’re such a disappointment.”
“This is disappointing.”
“I can’t get over the disappointment.”
“I’m so disappointed.”
In this business, I am faced with varying degrees of disappointment that can be presented as a noun, verb or adjective. Whatever the context, disappointment is a strong force that can shape your perspective of self and others and your relationships.
There’s plenty of research on the core and consequences of disappointment and while research informs me in knowledge, my clients are more interested in what to do about it; how to stop being disappointed.
First, see people for who they are and not who you imagine they should or could be. Stay in the present.
Second, try to separate your emotion from what’s really happening. Be realistic in your expectations. Understand that people “show up” for you in their way.
Third, remind yourself to communicate before, during and after disappointment. Ineffective communication is shutting down to teach people a lesson. Since you’re not telling them that you are shutting down to teach them a lesson, they won’t know that is the lesson they should be learning.
Lastly, cry, complain and consider. Cry to process your sadness; tears have a way of explaining the unexplainable. Complain to give yourself an opportunity to reexamine what happened, not just how you feel. Consider what you could have done differently, what you will do differently next time, how you will communicate your needs in the future and what will be the roles of people in your life.Learn More
What I’ve noticed about me, about the people I serve and about folks, in general, is that change comes when you’re ready and most of the time when you’re not ready. When change comes, it’s about how you address the change that brings life lessons.Learn More
I sat with the Figure for a very long time. Just a few days shy of one month. I can’t really describe what I was doing while the audience waited for me to make a move. I know for sure that the Figure is still sitting there but I have risen from the couch. I would like to say that I leaped off, I really sort of peeled off the couch. Not the grand entrance to self-confidence as I expected.
I am writing on my blog now but that doesn’t mean I am rid of all doubt. I had some great conversations while on that couch; most conversations in my head and then with supporters who gave me the look of, “Whatever the excuse; just do it” And with those thoughts, that’s what I’m doing. The “Just Do It” Nike marketing campaign folks are geniuses on this one.
Doubt likes to linger in places in your mind. I look on my couch and the Figure is still there, but it’s frozen. The thing with doubt is that it waits for you. It waits for you to open up to it and invite it in. Like the movie vampires; they can eat you if you let them in.
For right now, here’s my action plan for Doubt.
1. Work on a task.
2. If Doubt enters the door, turn to it, look it squarely in the eye and say “Hey”.
3. After exchanging salutations, let Doubt explain why it has arrived. Things like you are lazy, not creative, not assertive, boring, and nobody cares. Let Doubt talk to you and you will notice that it basically says the same thing over and over again. Talk about a lack of creativity. Doubt has some nerve, right?
4. After Doubt has bored you with mundane repetition, extend your appreciation for the feedback and tell Doubt that if it doesn’t have anything interesting or nice to say, then it should leave you alone.
5. Return to working on task.Learn More
At the top of the scene, the audience sees me standing there with my head down in fierce attempt to gaze away from the Figure. Shame and fear creeps in me. The Shadowy Figure stands there satisfied because it can feel my spirit deflating.
I slowly lift my head but still averting my eyes and say, “How did you know I wouldn’t and couldn’t keep up with writing for my blog?” The Figure walks away from me. It turns its back to me. The audience sees that the figure is grinning, but the words I hear have a sympathetic, overly sugary tone. It says, “Don’t you know I know you better than anybody? I know you have these big ideas and don’t follow through. That’s just what you do. Look at all the things you said you wanted and they haven’t happened. Look, it’s not your fault. You’ve been so busy and honestly, you’re not that creative anyway. It’s fine if you just give up. Nobody will judge you.” Then, with a full belly laugh , the Figure mockingly says “You may judge yourself but you already knew you would fail. Just give up now. It really is okay. You’re making a fool of yourself anyway!””
This Figure does know me. My body is exhausted and my mind empties of any rational thought.
The Figure turns to me and extends its hand to lead me to the couch. I grab its hand and we sit side-by-side.Learn More
I used my fancy task app to remind me that my blog entry was due.Thursday came and went and no entry was written. I thought of an array of topics but didn’t write. There is a good amount of technology at my disposal; smartphone, laptop, tablet for writing. There’s even pen and paper! (remember that?). My blame-everything-on-everyone-else ego decided I had barriers: social commitments, chores, fatigue and personal plans intefered with writing and posting for my blog.
The truth is that doubt entered. I’ve imagined a story of success in multiple areas of my life. This blog is destined to be my arena to share my thoughts. Success will be measured by the grin on my face and the satisfaction I will feel.
My vision of success is much like a stage play: the house lights dim and the stage lights softly glow. At center stage is me sitting on a stylish couch. I have a journal sitting on my lap and I am writing with a feverish pace. Dramatically I put a period at the end of the last sentence and in a breathy sigh I whisper, “There. It is finished.”
I stand to gaze through a large window. As I look through the window with a satisfied smile on my face, the audience sees a shadowy figure entering from stage left. Not as cartoony as the villains with a cape and not as scary as the villains in horror movies, but a figure who is jut as frightening.
The character reaches my ear. I don’t run, but I am afraid. I know the figure wants to hurt me but I’m curious to hear what it wants to tell me.
It whispers…”You can’t do this. You haven’t even told that many people that you have a blog. You don’t know what you’re trying to do with this. The whole thing is a waste. You should be doing something else. Time is money and this is a waste of time and money.”
I look at the figure and I still don’t run. I take in everything it says to me and I agree.Learn More