We’ve all been there right? Your day is trotting along like normal and then suddenly, over the course of the day, as if your life was one long game of paintball, you get hit over and over again- this time it was with disappointment.
I actually experienced a full spectrum of disappointment ranging from mere annoyance to tears streaming down my face. And then to make matters worse, you always have that one person say, “if you didn’t have expectations in the first place, you wouldn’t get let down.” Suddenly it’s a bad thing to have expectations! While I fully admit there are areas where I can lower my expectations, I certainly don’t subscribe to the notion that expectations are bad. I totally get it- the more you have an attitude of gratitude over one of expectation, life is going to be that much sweeter. But that said, there are still times when expectations are normal and good and unfortunately lend themselves to the possibility of disappointment if things don’t go as expected.
My minor disappointment came to be in the form of contrast after I had been pretty happy/proud of myself – I do project management work in addition to my coaching and training and I very proactively emailed the team with some extra clarification on an earlier email that the executive sponsor had sent out. Communication is often a barrier in projects, so the more the merrier as far as I’m concerned! I was pretty happy that I took the moment to be present to the situation, went above and beyond, and responded with that additional info. Well the executive sponsor did not agree with me, hah! I can laugh now, but dang I was annoyed in that red hot moment!! Thoughts like, “well if he were more attuned to the group’s needs, he would know this was the right thing to do.” Or another, “sighhh THIS is what happens when you try to do the right thing!” Hahaha again, it’s so easy to laugh now, but sometimes in the heat of the moment, we can say some pretty negative things. And that is NOT kosher with a life of intentional thoughts and choices.
I instantly recognized my mood shift and took immediate steps to address the contrast I was feeling. But then as life would have it, I was faced with yet more disappointment in seeing that a colleague still hadn’t replied after my multiple attempts at contact. Yuckies. And also, another person I was expecting to get in touch with blew me off. What is it with this day?!?
So we have all had these days where it seems the minute you have cleaned up after one disaster, the next one happens. What I see there is a need to get really clear on what I want to be vibrating in this world. It’s almost like a smoke signal to me- “Jamie! You need to be more consistent about your desire to maintain a positive, uplifting environment! Get with the program!” Message heard loud and clear, but it’s not as easy as “snapping” out of it, right? So I’m going to share what worked for me in hopes that it will work for others too!
My number one tool for quickly overcoming disappointment is to totally love and accept yourself and be supportive of the fact that you have this feeling of disappointment. If you can consciously choose to be present to the moment, embrace the feeling (don’t downplay it), acknowledge how you feel and honor it, I promise you that you will be able to move past it so quickly!!
What did this look like for me??? First, I played moody music. I was NOT in the mood for something loving or upbeat! It made me cry and that’s when I knew I was on the path to recovery! I acknowledged my disappointment but then I said, ok now what? How do I want this story to evolve? I decided, that’s ok that the executive sponsor and I don’t agree. That’s not a reflection of my capabilities nor my expertise. I also decided not to interpret the lack of response from my colleague as a lack of interest. And even if it was, that’s ok too. If we aren’t a match, then I would rather not waste time on that relationship when I could invest it in people that were eager to engage with me. Finally, I decided just because I got one closed door in that final scenario (THAT one really stung), I can simply change up my approach and carry on there as well.
You see, there are always going to be things that let us down or cause disappointment. My son is heartbroken if we have plans to go to the zoo and it unexpectedly rains. It’s a part of life! But the great news is, we have control over how we respond to that disappointment, and we have control over how we move forward from it. THAT is where the power is!
Finally, you might feel a bit drained after having recovered from disappointment. So after I had processed and moved on, I took extra steps towards enhanced self-care to make sure my cup was full again. To really resonate with joy and love, I looked through old videos and pictures on my phone and facebook- I can’t help but smile seeing and hearing my children. This helps me ANY time I need a boost. This also included a nice sea salt bath with essential oils to wind down the night. Someone else might prefer a nice walk outside, firepit, or even simply a nap! These are all simple but effective solutions! Last but not least, you may have guessed this, but I wrote out a gratitude list. I re-directed my energy and attention to all the things going RIGHT in my life, all the love and support that I DO have and boy did that feel soooooo good.
Next time you find yourself in a state of disappointment, try my approach on for size and let me know how it goes!