The cost of disappointment

What holds you back from stepping into a better future? It may be that you are avoiding disappointment.

“That sounds like a personal issue,” you might say. Yes, it is. Avoiding disappointment shows up often in the workplace too, including in the C-Suite.

Have you heard this statement before? “We tried that before, and it didn’t work.” Or how about this one: “That won’t work here.”

When such idea-crushing statements are made in strategic settings, avoiding disappointment is at play.

Avoiding disappointment may be holding you back in life and in business.

Avoiding disappointment will cost you time and emotional stress as you maintain the “what is” that actually isn’t leading to your best future

Avoidance and fear

When you are communicating, knowing the fears at play is critical. I’ve written about fears that block your message from landing the way you intend it to. (If you want to learn more about how fears block communication, download Chapter 7 “Hope & Fear” from my book Pivot to Clarity here.)

Disappointment isn’t listed as a fear. Avoiding disappointment is a symptom caused by fear, usually of loss, failure, or looking bad. We may not even be aware of which fear is behind our aversion to disappointment. We simply “know” we don’t like the feeling.

Effective strategic thinking

Often, we avoid taking action because we have a memory where a similar action ended in disappointment. A more effective way to approach an idea that triggers a disappointing memory is with curiosity and optimism. What is it about the situation now that makes the idea possible? What is it about you and those with you now, that may better equip you to move forward with more ease, and make successful progress this time? Strategic thinking involves working out a winning game plan—the moves you will make—to achieve worthy objectives and goals as you move toward your vision.

You will consider what will be hard, and what could go wrong. However, you will not focus on disappointment. You will focus on the best steps to take and how you will recover when something doesn’t work as expected.

Pivot your perception of disappointment

How might you Pivot from being held back by avoiding disappointment to whatever state you need to be in to move forward?

What if you learned to not take disappointment so hard? What if you absolutely knew that the north star you were heading toward was closer every time you moved through a disappointing result? Or removed/repositioned a person who wasn’t ever going to show up (behavior, words, actions, inactions) in the way you needed them to?

Momentum requires you to be nimble

Life is short. Today, the life of a business is too often shorter than it could be. We last longer, and live better, when we stay nimble. That is, when we stay operationally flexible—in what we do, how we do it, who is best to determine what needs to be done, and our feelings about how something is done.

Stay focused, strategically, on moving toward your north star,* while remaining nimble, operationally.

If you want momentum in your business or life, you must remain nimble.

To remain nimble, you must drop all that stalls you, including what you are doing or not doing in order to avoid the feeling of disappointment.

* Typically, your north star will be an inspiring vision. It’s combined with your mission and guiding principles to help guide decisions. Note that some organizations only see their mission as the always-there clear direction while others look to vision to set direction. I lean toward an inspiring vision because it creates a magnetic pull which helps to generate momentum. Mission and values, then add parameters.

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About Lori

Lori is The Pivot Catalyst. A trusted advisor and coach, who catalyzes momentum for leaders and teams. The result is lasting business agility--even performance breakthroughs.
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