disappointment

Disappointment

This past year I’ve focused on becoming a consultant. Its new territory for me since I had been a full time employee (FTE) in Corporate America for close to 40 years. As an FTE, you’re assigned a specific role in an organization with specific performance expectations. You execute your tasks and deliverables, and get rewarded for your contribution (or not). Typically, unless you’re in a very small business, you are “cog” in the big machine, somewhat sheltered from all other functions where you don’t always see the big picture, especially with sales and marketing.

Well, as a consultant or a small business owner you wear many hats. You have to. You don’t generate sales (& income), unless you have paying clients. You typically obtain paying clients by performing marketing functions where, hopefully, you generate enough interest where a prospect wants to employ your services. Which brings me to my point about “disappointment”.

I recently spent untold hours developing a training proposal with my business partner. Several meetings were held with the prospect identifying their various needs and requirements. We looked at all aspects of the design, delivery and our approach. We were very thorough and our proposal (in my eyes) was AWESOME! But then came the inevitable email, thanks, by no thanks. They had found another consultant who better fit their requirement. What? We could have done an excellent job with the training! Needless to say, I was greatly DISAPPOINTED!!

But after having a conversation with my partner who has been a consultant since 1987 said that rejection and disappointment are life of being a consultant. Well, I don’t like that! Felt like, and probably acted like, a 3 year old having a tantrum! I want to be successful like I was in corporate life. This is much more difficult. I don’t want to feel disappointed the rest of my life. So, I determined I needed to change things up and come up with a strategy that would help me through my next proposal.

So, here’s my new strategy and I suggest you try it too:

1. Let your feelings out. Get mad, yell, or hit a pillow. Have a good cry! I find them very healing. Get the frustration out of your system. Go exercise, take a walk or talk to a friend. Burying your feelings is not healthy, so please choose to let them out.

2. Change your expectations. As a consultant you will not win every proposal. Maybe it will only be 10%, 1 out of 10. Changing your expectations will help you not be overly disappointed.

3. Be grateful. I am grateful for my family and friends, great conversations, learning and growing, health, nature and God’s endless love and joy! I do not take any of these things for granted. They are a gift!

And as Martin Luther King once said, We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. And I am eternally hopeful!

Greg Sievers

Handling Disappointment

After having become laid off from a corporate job in 2008 (during the great recession), I continued to pursue the same kind of position that I had become used to. I’d climb into that Gerbil wheel (as I now like to call it), and run & run & run, working very hard seeking that goal of being employed again. Yes, many say men place too much of their identity with having a job. So, when they lose one they lose their identity. But I have to say it was primarily financial. I knew who I was & what I was good at. I did various human potential programs and was always doing self-discovery work. I was driven by the need to make money, enough money to just pay our bills. Nothing extravagant. The mortgage, utilities, & food. But after so many interviews & getting so many “no’s”, the disappointment came in, in fact, at times depression.

So, let’s look at this disappointment. I had certain expectations of working to make money to pay the bills. The not working & not making money created a gap in my expectations. That gap became disappointment. Disappointment in myself. Disappointment in me as the husband & father, not fulfilling my bread winner role. As I saw this pattern repeat itself over & over, I began to think maybe, just maybe I needed to change my expectations. My expectations of what kind of job I really needed or desired. Or possibly our expenses were excessive.

The best remedy to deal with disappointment is to acknowledge and work through the emotion it evokes. It is normal to feel upset or angry, but instead of wallowing in self-pity, we need to recognize that this is a part of life and although this will happen time and time again, each time it does, you will only become stronger and more resilient. I now realize that life will continue to offer me lessons which I can either view positively or negatively. It’s a choice. It’s all in my perspective. I encourage you to look at your perspective.

Secondly, what has helped me the most is my network of supportive friends. People who I can truly confide in and share my true feelings. Where I’m not judged. So, I continue to nurture friendships, where I support them and they support me. Which will help me deal with the ups and downs that life continues to offer. And provide a clearer perspective on the meaning.

“If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.”

Henry David Thoreau

I welcome your comments. greg

Greg Sievers

Handling Disappointment_gos.docx