Q: I have heard so many times that in order to be successful you have to visualize the desired outcome. How do you do this and avoid disappointment when things don’t work out the way you wanted them to?
A: You don’t. And I myself am utterly miserable when it comes to handling disappointment. I’m truly horrible at it, but if there is any bright spot, at least I’m aware of this particular…um shall we say, weakness of mine. In fact, I am so profoundly inept at handling disappointment that I find myself altering my behavior considerably because of it.
I should qualify this and say that where business is concerned I have learned how to keep it in its place. I have learned that if a deal doesn’t work out or I don’t get or see the results I desired it doesn’t overtake my mood or my mind. It’s just business as they say. And it is. If it involves deals or dollars or anything that can easily be boiled down to an Excel spreadsheet, then I don’t let it get under my skin. There is always another opportunity waiting around the corner and more often than not, I have found that the next thing that works out is far better than whatever just fell through the cracks. Is this to say that you shouldn’t visualize your success and believe in it, drive toward it, and make it happen? Certainly not. But as Greg is fond of saying, “success is the sum of the whole.” Visualize the Big Picture…the Whole, and go about creating that. Individual successes AND failures are all part of that learning, growing and becoming process. If one lost deal, contract or business transaction creates enough disappointment to blur your vision of where you are going and what you are becoming then you need to discipline yourself toward a more singular belief in not what CAN be but what WILL be. If your focus is strong and clear enough losses, setbacks and disappointments are simply part of the path toward your ultimate success. Dorothy eventually reached Oz, but she had to deal with some road blocks along the way.
Having said all that, where personal beliefs and relationships are concerned disappointment is, in my mind, are a much bigger beast. For as easy as it is to say that business is just business I would never dream of being so cavalier about personal disappointments. Those that involve our heart, not just our bank account are a different animal to be sure. But here’s the somewhat difficult truth of the matter. People WILL disappoint you. At some point it’s going to happen and hurts like hell. But what is life worth if you don’t allow your heart to be on the line? You might feel safer to guard against it, but life will lack the color the vibrancy and the experiences that were meant for you and what a shame that would be. Over the years I have been deeply comforted by two absolute truths in life. One is that SOMETHING GOOD ALWAYS COMES OUT OF SOMETHING BAD. And the other is a close relative: THERE IS A REASON FOR EVERYTHING. If you don’t just know these two truths, but truly believe them, it will provide a good deal of solace when disappointment in any form begins to settle in. If the deal fell through it is likely so that you are available for the better one that is about to come along. If the house you had your heart set on doesn’t work out, you were meant to be somewhere else.
Bottom line is that as much of a discouragement as disappointment can be keep in mind that it should never dilute your vision of what can be and what you are capable of. I don’t know a single soul that is exempt from the experience of occasional disenchantment. But your faith in the Big Picture needs to be far stronger than the inevitable bumps in the road. Disassociate disappointment with belief in your ultimate vision of life as you wish and can will it to be and you will never lose sight of the Yellow Brick Road that leads your very own Oz.