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

Staying sane in the midst of chaos; otherwise known as changing your expectations!

My wife Kathy and I made the decision to down-size our home in the early summer of this year for two reasons: (1) to reduce our house payments and (2) reduce the size of our home to keep clean (current home is 3,300 sq. ft.). Both very practical reasons. We thought we could being doing repairs, updating and boxing up our stuff in June 2014 and have ready by September 15th….WRONG! I had that date set in stone and maintained it within my own head all summer.

Well, we had various family issues spring up during the summer which included one of our children had a psychotic episode which became a roller coaster for the entire family. From getting the medical help and medications stabilized to taking turns where who was going to be on duty. She’s still not out of the woods yet. Another child, adopted at birth who has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) was in jail again and he wanted some help in getting out. He expected that we’d get a high-priced lawyer that would help his case. Lastly, a week ago our small family dog, Cody a Pom-A-Pug, went into convulsions which was very upsetting. Especially having never seen a dog do this before. And off to the vet we went. Incidentally, it was a kidney infection which is known to cause convulsions when a dog is far along with illness. Well, you get the picture. It was roller-coaster summer. Now, back to the house…we were completely distracted with the family issues and did not maintain our original momentum. But I still had September 15th as the date for placing our house on the market.

What that did was to cause me to be more distressed…beating myself up for not getting all of the home repairs done in a timely fashion and being completely exhausted. So, as I talked to Kathy about the date, she stated very simply let’s move the date out….to spring time. Wow! Those words were a MAJOR relief! I relaxed. Now, why didn’t I discuss with this with her sooner? Because my earlier conditioning around making and keeping commitments kept me focused on that goal, that priority and do it at all costs…because it was cast in stone….even though that was not the healthiest choice for me. I needed to let go of that belief.

What I learned from this experience is when your circumstances change, what else in your life needs to change? Do your priorities, goals and expectations need to change? Probably. Do you need to renegotiate your priorities? So, please know that this situation goes well beyond family issues and our homes. This is called LIFE. And that changing our expectations of ourselves, and of others’ is OK. In fact, it’s NORMAL!

Greg Sievers