Have you ever had your heart set on doing something? You think about it and work towards it, pushing aside other things to make working towards this goal a priority. Months go by and you’ve envisioned your sweet victory. But then, after all that work and focus, sweat and tears, you fall short. You don’t hit your mark and you are stunned.
It happens to all of us at some point.
We suffer a big disappointment and in that moment, fresh from the sting of the experience, you must make a decision.
Do you stop trying and reaching for goals ever again? Or do you pick yourself up and figure out how this incredible loss can make you better?
I watched my close friend experience this sort of breath-taking loss this weekend, as she was pulled off the bike in her first IRONMAN race. The IRONMAN is a grueling ocean swim of 2.4 miles, on to a 117 mile bike and then finishing up with a marathon 26.2 mile run. After months and months of training, she missed a tight cut off and was forced to stop her race.
It is the sort of race that very few attempt, and when they do, the must pour their heart and soul into the training for months, even years before hand.
The way she handled it, was so impressive. Grace and joy for her friends who raced on and, of course, disappointment. I learned some things watching her this weekend that I wanted to share.
The Top 3 things learned about disappointment by watching my friend this weekend.
Remember why you set the big goal. You probably wanted to push yourself and strive for something bigger than you had. You wanted to experience the hard work and struggle so that you could change. Success meant you were different from who you were when you set the goal. So think back to your starting point. Have you progressed? Have you grown? Are you different? Perhaps you are closer to your goal than you thought.
Experiencing disappointment allows you a chance to empathize better with someone else. When your kids, friends or coworkers fall short on their goals, you can relate. You can share a story and feel the emotion with them, provide understanding and show them how things turned out okay. You have a story to make someone else’s journey easier.
Put it in perspective. Thinking back on all the great things you have accomplished can help you get perspective that disappointments are just part of the bigger picture of your life. You’ve probably accomplished lots of other things along the way, and remembering these things can help you stabilize and ease the current let down. Your disappointments can add to the beautiful fabric that is uniquely you and they stand for something. They show the world that you are trying! Maybe we need to put more emphasis on our value of learning instead of our value of performance. Let’s celebrate failure more often!
Lets start creating environments in our lives where it’s safe to take risks and share our mistakes.
There can be no great big let down and disappointment where there is no great love. So keep on lovin’ and tryin’ and failin’… and keep on learning!