"Desire is the mother of disappointment." - Alexander Pola
I recently launched my third book. Although many had registered via LinkedIn, Facebook, and email, a flood of last-minute cancellations led to fewer attendees than expected. Naturally, I was initially disappointed, but the positive reactions from those present and the fact that I sold more books than there were guests made up for a lot. Have you ever experienced a similar disappointment? How did you handle it?
With these steps, you can turn your disappointment into strength.
Step 1. Acknowledge Your Feelings
It's normal to feel upset when things don't go as expected. Maybe you missed an opportunity, a promise was broken, or a goal was not achieved. That hurts. That evening after the launch, I gave myself time to feel and accept the disappointment. This is an essential step to turn disappointment into strength. In my article about 'constructief lijden(constructive suffering) I explain why it's so important to allow and give space to sadness and negative feelings.
Step 2: Explore Your (Limiting) Beliefs
Take a moment to reconsider your expectations. Were they realistic? Could I really have expected my launch to turn into a large event that was more crowded than my previous launches? Tony Robbins, now a famous speaker in stadiums, started with events for an audience of three people. So, I had to accept that growth takes time and that it's okay to start small.
Step 3. Redefine Your Goals and Expectations
Now that you've adjusted your beliefs, you can also redefine your goals and expectations. Instead of focusing on the number of attendees, I chose to appreciate what went well: the quality of the interactions and the feedback. This helped me revise my goals and focus on what's really important: the impact of my work and sharing insights.
Step 4: Build Resilience and Perseverance
With adjusted goals and expectations, you can now continue with renewed resilience and perseverance. Like Thomas Edison, who experienced many failures before his breakthrough, I saw this experience as a valuable insight on the way to my ultimate goal.
Step 5: Create a New Strategy
You now have enough motivation to work out a new strategy. In my case, that meant focusing on the power of 'butterfly effects' or starting small. Instead of fixating on the number of readers or followers of my author's page (which, by the way, has increased tenfold in the last three months), I can now focus on a real connection with readers.
Step 6: Improve Your Self-Image
Finally, use the experience of disappointment to develop gratitude for what you have learned and pride in how you handled it. The experience has already helped me to move forward with renewed strength and confidence.
Disappointment can be painful, but it is also a powerful tool for growth and development. By embracing these feelings and learning from them, you transform yourself in ways you never thought possible. Often, the seeds of future success and happiness lie at the core of disappointment.
What setbacks have you had to deal with? How did you handle them?