by Deborah Hartung, founder of Pivot PeopleTech
It’s a fact of life that we don’t always get what we want and it sure isn’t always fair. Being a woman in business and in leadership, you’re bound to have to face more than your fair share of disappointments. Here are some tips on learning to move with the flow of life and not let temporary disappointments become permanent setbacks.
Not many people know this, but I was nominated as a Tedx Speaker this year and I was really so excited about sharing my “Don’t be Decaf” message with the world. I’m so passionate about creating more authentic servant leaders who show empathy and put people first, especially in this digital and increasingly disconnected world that we live in. I really, really wanted this! I mean, who would want to pass up the global platform that Tedx provides and the opportunity to change thousands more lives with the message? And it’s not like I don’t have a solid social media following and a successful career and some serious public speaking experience. I wasn’t arrogantly expecting to be a shoo-in, but to be totally honest, I didn’t expect to not make the top 15. I was really disappointed when I learned that I hadn’t cracked the nod, but I wasn’t ‘devastated’ or bitter or resentful in any way. Here’s why:
It’s not Personal
I had the privilege of reading “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz about 13 years ago and that book honestly changed my life! I’m a total evangelist of the Four Agreements and the Second Agreement in particular: don’t take anything personally. What the book teaches in a very no nonsense manner, is that nothing that others ever do or say, is personal. It’s never, ever about you – no matter what the other person says or what you think. Having really taken these teachings on board, I have been able to effectively deal with a lot of disappointments and setbacks during my career and personal life and I would credit this book with helping me deal with divorce in my early thirties.
We all tend to make the grave mistake of automatically assuming that we have somehow done something wrong or we were not ‘good enough’ to land the new Business or get the big account or get the promotion. We think it’s personal and it’s something that we can control, when it really isn’t. All any of us can ever do, is our best. All any of us can ever be, is our true authentic self. If doing our best and being our true self isn’t what others were looking for, there’s no point in beating ourselves up emotionally and second-guessing our every move and decision. Do your best. Invest in a coach and do some work on personal and professional development so that you can be the best version of ‘you’, just please don’t ever allow yourself to be convinced that you are not good enough or that anything that happens, is personal.
It’s not Meant for You
Part of maturing emotionally and spiritually, is the realization that not all the things that we want, are necessarily what we need. We are so programmed to set these goals and be total control freaks in terms of how we are going to get to where we believe we need to be, that we sometimes miss the fact that some opportunities just simply aren’t right for us. We get swept up in ‘what went wrong’ and we agonize over what we think we should have or could have done differently. Yet, in my experience, when I don’t get what I wanted, it usually turns out that there’s something else (usually way better) waiting for me around the next corner and had I gotten what I thought I had wanted, I would not be able to accept the better opportunity.
In this specific instance I don’t know what better opportunity there may be for me than a Tedx talk, but I trust the Universe (you may call it God) implicitly and I know that for whatever reason, this opportunity was not meant for me. Definitely not this year and not with this specific group of people. Knowing this to be true and looking back over my life at all the evidence of previous ‘disappointments’ which ended up being blessings in disguise, I can release this particular disappointment with love and I can actively and positively move forward with my mission to help as many women leaders as possible, lead with authentic humanity. You cannot let your sense of self worth and self esteem be linked to external factors like your job or business ventures or relationships and you have to always remember that the things and people truly meant for us, will always find a way, no matter what. We cannot force those things, no matter how badly we may want them, in business and in life.
It’s not Permanent
Here’s the thing about setbacks and disappointments – they are absolutely, always, 100% of the time, temporary. The single biggest mistake any of us could make, is to wallow in the disappointment and spiral into depression and darkness because of it. You didn’t get what you wanted? Bummer! Be pissed off or disappointed. Cry if it makes you feel better. But then go wash your face, steady your crown and remember who you are! You are a bad-ass warrior and nothing and nobody will ever break you down. Use the disappointment as a learning experience and grow from it. Focus your attention on the future and on building something new and move on from the disappointments of the past. The future is where your greatest opportunities lay, just waiting to be discovered. If you’re sitting in a corner and feeling sorry for yourself because you didn’t get what you wanted, you won’t be physically or emotionally able to receive the blessings and abundance that await you.
So, if, like me, you’ve recently been disappointed and you didn’t get what you wanted, chin up sister! It’s just a minor setback and a temporary disappointment and there is always light to be found and new opportunities on the horizon. Listen to The Rolling Stones classic and remember: We can’t always get what we want. But we always get what we need!
Deborah Hartung is a consultant, coach, author and speaker, and the founder of Pivot PeopleTech. She loves helping entrepreneurs find their unique voice and leadership style in order to empower them to create amazing places where people truly want to work. She has spent the majority of her career in HR and labour relations management and consulting, gaining experience in all fields related to the human experience in the workplace. While her main focus remains on consulting, coaching and training in the HR and labour relations space, Deborah is passionate about people and technology and the opportunities for the advancement of humanity in the digital age. Professionally, Deborah is known as an HR turnaround specialist with a proven track record in improving workplace culture, employee engagement and organisational effectiveness. www.pivotpeopletech.co.za
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