How to Live Up to Your Aspiration – Not Down to Your Disappointment
You can’t control everything, but you can control responses.
Don’t give control to disappointments.
How disappointment controls life:
Disappointment controls life when you say, “I won’t bring my best because I’m disappointed.”
- I’ll be angry – until you appreciate me appropriately.
- I’ll stop complaining – if you show more respect.
- I won’t take responsibility – because you didn’t promote me.
- I’ll practice gratitude – when you stop screwing up.
Gratitude as an example:
Don’t blame others for your ungratefulness. Gratitude is about you.
Practice gratitude even during disappointment. If you don’t, bitterness will wrestle your future away from you.
Gratitude is approval. Ingratitude is disapproval. Can’t you find something to approve?
Disappointment controls you when an employee’s failure – in one area – justifies ingratitude in all areas, for example.
How perfect do things have to be for you to find something to approve?
Tip: Walk around looking for something to approve from 10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. (Start small. Don’t shock your system.)
Respond don’t sacrifice:
Don’t sacrifice your best self on the altar of disappointment or offense.
Respond to disappointments, but don’t sacrifice your vision, values, and goals.
Bring your best self even during disappointment.
How to live up to your aspirations in 4 steps:
Are you living up to your aspirations or down to your disappointments?
- Develop a clear vision of the leader you aspire to become. Use values, strengths, talents, passions, opportunities, and feedback as guides.
- Make daily choices based on who you aspire to become, not negative reactions to disappointments.
- Use disappointments as warning or instruction, not excuse.
- Reflect on your progress at regular intervals.
Disappointment shackles potential when bringing your best self is contingent on everything pleasing you.
How might disappointments shackle a leader’s future?
How might leaders live up to their aspirations instead of down to their disappointments?
Ha! You got me!
My biography should be titled “Leading Indicator”!
I can’t find my way out of passive-aggressiveness being culturally acceptable. So tired of being called a fascist for insisting on legality, merit and logic.
Thanks Rurbane. Love your comment. I couldn’t help but smile.
This was an excellent and timely post Dan! I presented to our leadership meeting and i was disappointed by the out of scope and other non-productive comments from some in the group esp in light of the robust contribution from others at higher levels in our organization. I was very disappointed as i thought the leadership in our team let me and us all down. But (very important), your post teaches how to respond. Thank you! #liveuptoyouraspiration
Thanks for sharing your experience, Ron. It’s helpful. I find that these ideas are learned, relearned, forgotten, and relearned again. I have a leaning toward the dark side.
Gratitude in the face of the upcoming election results is so very important. A large group of folks will be disappointed. How will they/we respond? Thanks for the reminder to give thanks in every circumstance.
Thanks Pete. I might not be thankful for the person elected. But I’m certainly thankful for my country and for all the people who are trying to make a positive difference in the world. The media makes it easy to focus on disappointments, but there’s a heck of a lot more in the world than what I see on cable news. I’m thankful for that. 🙂
Personal or business…. this post is timely and impactful.
Thank you Dan
Thanks you Bob. Best wishes.
Thanks for the insightful timely and uplifting post ! Feeing disappointed or betrayed shouldn’t be an excuse to drop back into a sulk. Much better to remove thumb from mouth and lead the way forward cheerfully. (Gratefully as Dan reminds us). I feel this ties in with your other topics of grit and determination. Have a great Friday and weekend, all !
Thanks Cate. Your language is delightful and instructive. The word ‘sulk’ is perfect. And the thumb comment makes me laugh until I have to pull my own thumb out of my mouth. 🙂
“Make daily choices based on who you aspire to become, not negative reactions to disappointments.” So how does one get to the point one is thinking and acting this direction. Well one has to experience disappointments and failures along the way and come to the realization that “negative” reaction is not productive. Pick yourself up from disappointment, learn from said disappointment and move forward to the point of making forward looking and forward approaching positive aspirational directions and outcome.
Thanks Roger. Perhaps one of the most important surprises in leadership is don’t be surprised when things go haywire or when you encounter disappointment. Disappointment is inevitable … how we respond is volition.
Thanks for the much needed gut punch today. This week has been a week of feeling disappointed, but have been trying to focus on gratitude and it truly does turn your attitude around. Law of Attraction. If you want respect, give respect. If you want gratitude, show gratitude.
Thanks for being transparent, Stacey. One person’s transparency helps others be honest with themselves. We grow when we see ourselves more clearly.
Gratitude may be the most powerful practice available for a person who strives to flourish.
I felt that you were talking to me… it is so true and very hard to practice when you are disappointed
Thanks Mira. For some reason, we often hope that the solution to our challenges is a magic pill. But, the path forward is usually bumpy. The answer, I think, is continuing to move forward. Best wishes
Making decisions based on who you aspire to become. This line has to be one of the best leadership tools I have come across. This idea would also lend itself to reactions as we discussed before. Allowing ourselves to react in a manner that we can see for the long term will benefit all those involved in the decisions.
Thanks Adam. We toss around words like authenticity and ‘be who you are.’ Personally, I prefer to choose my aspirational self.
Helpful article, Dan! I got up and found something to approve. I like the motivation! Thank you.
Thanks Tom. So glad to be useful. Have fun.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” — Carrie Fisher
Love that quote, Jennifer. Thanks.
Pingback: How to Live Up to Your Aspiration – Not Down to Your Disappointment -
Pingback: How to Live Up to Your Aspiration – Not Down to Your Disappointment - Leader's Minute
Disappointment can be a shackle to a leader because they can obsess on the disappointment and it holds them back from moving forward. I have seen this in various instances in life both at work and in my personal life.
i am reminded of a spiritual guru’s statement: Gratitude and disturbance cannot Co-exist.
I understand more than what happens to me it is my emotional response t it that determines my future.
Dan’s suggestions resonate well with these.
Pingback: How to Live Up to Your Aspiration – Not Down to Your Disappointment
Buddha quote: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Thank you very much. Sometimes, it’s hard, it takes practice, discipline, and kindness, towards yourself for sure! Very timely post.
Hi Dan, thank you for the article. It made me realize that disappointment can also come from within ourselves and not always about external factors (other people, circumstances). We often get disappointed for not getting things done right, could’ve done more, and wish we could have foreseen the future better. These things could also drag us down, and it shows up in the form of being so down and underperforming/not doing things wholeheartedly throughout the day or weeks.
Pingback: How to Reinvent Your Leadership - Leadership Freak