The reality is that we all face disappointments…in our personal lives and our professional leadership. It was true for Moses, David, Jesus, and Paul. It will be true for us. This we can’t control. But, we can control their impact on us.
The following are some keys I have found for minimizing or controlling the negative impact of disappointments in my life and leadership. Maybe they can help you as well.
First: Seek to avoid experiencing avoidable disappointments. While we can’t avoid all disappointments, we can seek to steer clear of those disappointments which are of our own making.
Here are some examples:
Bad choices often lead to some of our bigger disappointments and regrets.
I know this has certainly been true for me. And, what kills me is that these were completely avoidable. Though we’ll make some bad choices, no matter how hard we try to avoid them, there are some helpful roadblocks we can put up. The best for me is found in James 1:5…asking God for wisdom. This simple action forces me to slow down, acknowledge my limitations, analyze the choice, seek others counsel, and wait on God (at least for a second), for an answer.
Check out Proverbs 13:4. Sometimes our unfulfilled desires are the simple result of procrastinating. We certainly have control over these kinds of disappointments. We have to get up and diligently invest towards our God-given dreams and desires.
Failing to give our best
In Colossians 3:23-25, Paul makes it clear that some of our disappointments stem from not giving our best. Think about it. Though giving our best doesn’t always lead to the fulfillment of our desires, it never leaves us with the dark regrets of failing to seize an opportunity. We can avoid some disappointments by simply giving our all and best.
Second: Don’t allow your disappointments to become a discouragement. This will only lead to more disappointments. Paul gave us some great advice on this in Philippians 3:13-14. He tells us to forget what’s behind and keep pressing forward.
Third: Readjust to overcome the disappointment as soon as you experience it. Don’t wait until a new year or new season. Waiting prolongs and magnifies the disappointment and allows it to take root in our lives.
Fourth: Don’t allow the disappointment to defeat or deter you…even if it’s the result of your own stupidity. This is a big one for me. Because I like to do things right, I tend to beat myself up over my mess-ups and bad choices. It doesn’t help. It only hurts. So, remember…failure isn’t final and get on with living or leading.
Finally: Create a plan for putting the disappointment behind you and replacing it with that which will encourage you and help to move you forward.
We will face disappointments. We just can’t let them define our lives or leadership.