“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
― Alexander Pope
The quote by Alexander Pope is not meant to support the idea that one should not expect anything but instead it asserts that not expecting anything is the only way not to be disappointed. But never fear, some of our greatest disappointments can lead to a clarity that we may have never experienced otherwise. “How so?” you may ask. Disappointments force us to take stock of our internal fortitude. How we react can predict the degree of success that we will have in our work and personal lives.
If we can master our emotions under the strain of disappointment, we can master our lives.
Over time, what seems insurmountable can be one of your greatest teaching moments. Personal disappointments can be tricky because there are seemingly no rules or contracts to enforce. We believe because we just do. However, many work disappointments are just as unenforceable.
For instance, you may have been promised a promotion but at the last moment, the company decides to hire someone else. Maybe they decide to hire from the outside or cross promote someone from another department. Rude, right? In most cases, you can you do very little if anything about it that won’t make you seem desperate or a bad sport. What you can do is look for additional opportunities for yourself and don’t rely on any one person to provide opportunities for you to advance. In other words, hedge your bets. Look for opportunities to cross-train and gain measurable competency for other desirable roles within your firm and in other firms.
Never give any single person control of your career.
Another example of a work disappointment is not being selected for a special training that may put you in line for a new position. Again, you must be proactive. How about getting the training on your own during some of your time off such as evenings, weekends, or vacation?
Remember, this is your career not the company’s and you are worth the investment.
Finally, the seemingly worse disappointment is getting fired. Getting fired is one of those life-changing events with the emotional intensity of graduation, childbirth, or getting married for most people. To most of us getting fired ranks right up there with the death of a loved one. As an adult, you might only get fired once or twice in your entire life. If or when you do get fired, don’t forget to breathe. Expel negative hyper-critical self-talk that can paralyze. Inhale positive possibilities. Getting fired is just another opportunity—an opportunity to grow and you can learn invaluable lessons from it. Take a full accounting of all your experiences and skills. And even what you learned from this experience about yourself, your industry, and the culture of work. Reflect, change, and move forward. Turn a terrible moment into a great opportunity. You can do it.