How to outsmart a damage from unmet expectations
I've always believed in two things: there is no such thing like a failure (learning opportunities only), and gratitude is an extremely potent happiness component and unbelievably helpful bullshit antidote. I swear, it always works perfectly for me. Now it's scientifically proven fact.
Why and how gratitude can transform life
Psychologists and neuroscientists see appreciation as an acknowledgment the good things in life. Noticing positive sides in events, experiences, or other people (like our partners, colleagues, friends, and loved ones) literally broadens our perceptual horizons.
Let me give you an example. I collaborated with well-known event organiser in 2018. The experience was a typical "diminishing return" story: the first event was well-organised, every next one was worse the the previous and the end was pretty logical. The whole journey was accompanied by never returned emails and phone calls, constantly changing responsible managers who, obviously, lacked any possible responsibilities. Long story short I had to move on.
From the first glance, the experience is pretty awful: unmeet expectations, disappointment, raised cortisol level, and lost opportunities as every invested hour of our life has an opportunity cost. I'm hourly paid professional, so, fairly speaking I lost money as well.
However, over 15 years of practice in psychotherapy and life coaching taught me a great deal of resilience and "positive reappraisal" techniques. Gratitude practice is one of them.
Let me explain how I addressed this on the first glance sad story from perspectives of gratitude.
Step 1. Acknowledgement.
I acknowledged few things:
- I was sticking to my values: collaboration, sharing, compassion, spreading of knowledge and positive vibes
- I tried (if you never try - you never know)
- I ended up with unmet expectations and disappointment but! I realised that I have a massive room for learning (digital marketing and tech solutions, social media networking, event organising, ) and this fact is extremely exciting because I absolutely believe that when we stop learning - we start dying! Yay!
Step 2. I let it go.
The faster you bounce back after setbacks the better. And Btw, it's a skill as everything else in life and that's why could be trained and built up! Thanks for such a wonderful practical learning experience. Yay!!
Step 3. I realised that the situation really gave me a lot:
- an opportunity to train my resilience
- an opportunity to train my social skills
- an opportunity to train my public speaking skills in my second language (english is not my mother tongue and I use any chance to improve it)
- I understood where exactly I have to redirect my attention in order to obtain new skills. And as we all know: where attentions goes - energy flows and neuro-wiring grows. So! Yay! Yay! Yay!
Step 4! I started feeling genuinely extremely grateful because I've got a chance and clear understanding now where, how, and why I must invest my attention and energy in 2019.
As one of the "Ocean's 12"'s characters said: "any failure is a hidden opportunity" and, obviously, gratitude is a right lens to start seeing these opportunities arising out of our hard times. And because shit just happens (that's what it does with no excuses) to anyone we all have a wonderful chance to rip benefits from any setback. The only thing we have to be equipped with is gratitude!
Thank you very much!
Calculating a marketing budget for 2019 to make my humble contribution for turning this colourful World into even a better place.