Work is hard. Period. There are no exceptions. Your work is hard. My work is hard. This is the reality of this crazy world we live in. Not every initiative is successful. Not every project takes off. Not every idea is innovative. Some do, some don’t.
Work is especially hard when you have big dreams or a big mission. You have passion and a drive deep within for what could be and what should be. Great! But when work is hard and when you face disappointment, it’s not just irritating—it can be soul crushing. Leaders must learn to deal with disappointment, or they will not last. Here are 3 things to remember in dealing with disappointment:
1. Expect To Fail
“All I’m asking for is total perfection.” – Lord Business, The Lego Movie. When your expectations differ from reality, frustration and anxiety are near. Setting your expectations properly is a crucial skill for leaders to develop. It’s counterintuitive, but when you expect to fail, it takes a lot of emotional energy out of the experience. Not that you expect EVERYTHING you do to fail. Not at all! Just lower the bar of your expectations down from total perfection. Then when things don’t work how you thought they would, look at what happened, learn from it…and move on! Most failure isn’t fatal; it can be your best teacher. Expect to fail (at least every so often).
2. Remember The Big Picture
Disappointment can be consuming. But not every disappointment is created equal. The smallest paper cut can cause so much pain. Is it a big deal? It feels like it is. Is it really?? No. Something small—a coworker failing to respond to an email, a client moving to another firm, getting passed over for a promotion, etc.—might feel like a big deal at the moment. Step back and see the big picture; see things from the right perspective. You can lose a lot of battles and still win the war. Remember the big picture.
3. Keep Going
Don’t let disappointments derail you. There are so many problems in this world that need to be solved. There are so many wrongs that need to be made right. There are so many discoveries that need to be made. There are so many people who need to be organized, encouraged, and led. Your work is too important to stop. We need you to keep going. So keep going! Work is hard. Period. There are no exceptions. And you will survive many disappointments in your life. But you’ll grow stronger and smarter. You’ll be better on the other side of your disappointments. Keep going!
What do you think? How do you deal with disappointment at work?