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How To Deal With Disappointment

As I write this, we are barreling toward the end of the year. This is a time when I reflect on the year behind, and project about the one ahead.

If you don’t have this practice, I highly recommend it.

Now is a perfect time for some self-assessment, and for building momentum in your personal life, business, or both.

Some of you are champion goal-setters, and you have a system for recording and tracking your progress throughout the year.

Others, not so much. 😊

Whatever your level of proficiency, here is a quick way to review the past 12 months and to jog your thinking about next year.

Step One: Make a list of 3-5 areas in your life you’d like to measure. You can use a simple notebook, journal or even your smartphone if you’re more digitally inclined.

For me, I focus on the following areas, in no particular order.

✅ Business

✅ Family

✅ Faith

✅ Health

✅ Relationships

Step Two: Reflect on how you’ve done in each category and make a few notes in your journal or notebook.

In each category, decide on a few performance indicators where you can measure yourself. For example, in business, one easy measurement is money.

Did I make my money goals?

With relationships, it may be a question of connection with others.

How much time did I spend with my kids? Did I date my spouse?

You must create some criteria by which you can honestly evaluate your performance. With no criteria, there can be no honest assessment.

Step Three: Consider what will be different next year.

How will you deal with the shortfalls uncovered in Step One?

If you missed your money or relationship goals this year, how will you course-correct for the next?

How will you move the ball regarding your business, or your spouse, for example? How will you evolve?

If you’d like a copy of the “One-sheet” that I use to make this review, send me an email or message and I’ll send it to you.

There is one inevitable outcome of this exercise.


You’re bound to fall short in one or more of your goals and that can feel deflating. No one is immune, including yours truly.

Letdowns are usually in one of three areas (or any combination of them).

When I undertook this exercise, I dealt with all three.

Disappointed With Myself

I set some goals that are important to me. In measuring my progress, I realized that I hadn’t kept some promises I made to myself, and by extension, the others who are affected by me.

This may be the worst form of disappointment. I let myself down.

Disappointed With Others

It's a bad idea to make plans for other people. I know this is true, but I still do it. It often leads to disappointment. People have their own lives and their own plans. Why should they follow mine?

I may have an idea of another's best interest (it may even be correct), but it's meaningless if the person disagrees. I allowed myself to be clouded by other people's actions (something I can't control) and it took some steam out of my engines.

Disappointed With Circumstances

I've made a bunch of detours on the path to achieving my goals. I've also sat in God's waiting room for long stretches. Other times, I've "dared greatly" and failed.

Negative emotions like disappointment are insatiable. Once they began reminding me why I was upset with myself or with others, they started pointing out everything wrong in my environment.

To push past these voices, I had to recommit to three things.

Let out some air.

I had to release pressure off myself. So what? I missed some targets. The world didn't end. I'm evolving as a creator, and I’ve had plenty of wins this year.

I had to put things in perspective. I suggest you do the same. When you start spiraling in the blame-game, step back and look at yourself from another angle.

Let people go.

When I was 12 years old, I had an epiphany.

The revelation was that I was in charge of my own life. Whatever I would become or whatever I would be was up to me. If I failed in life I couldn't blame my parents, my siblings, my teachers—no one.

The message was that life and the people who made up my life didn't owe me anything. By taking responsibility for myself, I began to release others.

I'm human and I get let down by others. But I never let that define me because other people aren't responsible for my happiness or success.

That's up to me.

Learn from it.

This past week I’ve been able to combine a business trip with some R&R. I’ve had time to do some deep thinking. I considered my disappointment in myself, in people and in some of the circumstances surrounding me.

I decided that I would stop mourning and would instead learn from it all. What good is disappointment if only serves up pain? I might as well grow.

I’m making some adjustments. How about you?


PS. Let me know if I can help you with any of your goals. Click the links below to check out some of the ways we can work together.

I'd love to see you there!

I'll see you back in your inbox next Monday!

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