Category Archives: disappointment
Did you ever have a day when you were just down, depressed, and discouraged? We all do to one extent or another…..
Maybe there were lots of things that happened during the day to make it so, maybe it was just the accumulation of things over time.
Not long ago, my wife and I were facing some tough financial times. She quit a job to start another business, we had some expenses that came up unexpectedly, and her business startup was delayed, the cost of startup ended up being three times our expectation due to one cost, and things were slowing down with cashflow there, and things were so tight!
For so long before that point, things had already been tight. I was not happy with my career, at that time, and I had other concerns about the future.
I was really concerned. I remember that it was a Friday, my wife and I would be alone for a change (our kids were on a trip) and we could relax. Instead of living in the moment, enjoying our time and relaxing, I allowed myself to get all freaked out about things and I ruined the day we had. I didn’t yell or scream or go bezerk but I was “out of it” and certainly not fun to be with…just kind of ‘zoned out’. I recall that I was exhausted from being stressed, I think I had an ulcer, and I was feeling ill. I was totally in a bad mood and unhappy. My wife did try to make the day better but it was a very rare time for me that I couldn’t recover.
Recently I was looking through some old things and this day came flashing from the past and was now fresh in my mind. I suddenly felt that desperation and bad feelings from long ago.
Did you ever have a time when you just wanted to give up?
You just wanted to throw in the towel and say, ‘take the house, my car, I’ll go live in the woods or something.’ For a moment I thought about just running away and working on a boat in Alaska or something. I remember feeling that desperation.
We do have a choice, we can give up, but why? What would you gain by giving up? You’d gain some guilt, embarrassment, lack of achievement, more unhappiness, and a bunch more negative feelings than you feel already….
- If we can make it through those moments of desperation, that’s when we grow the most.
- If we can change the meaning why things are happening to us, we can improve.
- If we change the questions which we ask ourselves, change is again easier.
“Behind your greatest fear, lies your greatest gift.” – The Universe, Mike Dooley, www.tut.com
If we focus on what it working in life, and what we can do to take action towards a goal today, that works much, much better than focusing on what we lack or what is wrong with life. THIS IS the primary reason we all get in a desperate state of mind form time to time. We’re desperate, sad, angry, bitter, whatever because we’re focusing on the wrong thing and asking the wrong questions
I’m not here to preach, we all do it, I’m just offering thoughts from my own experience.
Focus on what works, focus on what you can do now towards what you want. Ask better questions. Take action and get some exercise.
Sure, the facts may still be the same but you’ll feel a lot different about them.
And when you’re in a better state of mind, the facts will begin to change for the better, slowly at first then faster and faster.
I wish you the best, keep swinging!
(This is a quick overview “MY STORY” of my life, mostly to highlight the victories, challenges, and roller coasters we all ride in life. I offer some lessons that I learned at some points, and hopefully my perspective and experiences can help at least one person. Plus, some of you have just simply asked to learn more about me…)
….in Chapter 7, I mentioned how I was finally focusing on the right things and doing well. That’s when I got a call out of the blue to try something new and different, and to leave the world of self-employment. It was a little risky, too, because I entered the world of banking and SBA lending for the first time and I knew nothing about it….
Before I jump into new info, I wanted to reflect on what I consider to be guidance by our inner Self, or the Source, or God or the Universe – whatever you want to call it. To me, it is much the same. I believe we’re connected, so if you’re true to your Self and in the right state of mind and heart, your Self should equal = God.
Anyhow, I find it interesting, now looking back, at the ways I have guided myself, or been guided, along the way in life. While I was in the moments, it wasn’t much fun and wasn’t “interesting”. It was just plain rough. Now looking back, I’m glad and sort of relieved things didn’t always work out like I hoped. I think that I was being led by my ego during many of those moments into a job I thought I wanted, a job that paid a lot or looked cool, or both. Luckily my Self led me another way.
I can think of a few times where I wanted a job, even Needed a job. I applied for a position and did everything right. Then I got to the interview and blew it or just didn’t get a position that I felt I was definitely qualified for…..while I was in the MBA program I made contacts that got me an interview with Arthur Andersen Consulting. At that time, Arthur Andersen was doing very well nationwide and locally. They were in the news in good ways often. I had 4 interviews with them and they seemed to all go well. I loved the culture, the age groups, the compensation packages, etc. I wanted the job!
I was scheduled for a 5th interview. I was pretty happy that things were moving along well. Then I heard Arthur Andersen’s name in the news again. It seemed this time Negative! They were identified closely with ENRON and some of the ‘creative accounting’ there. Soon all new hires were put on hold. Soon after that a few people started to leave the local Arthur Andersen office. Soon after that more things came out and things got worse for them.
I had worked for the federal government, as I mentioned, and in one case later in my life, I tried to go back into the government and get re-hired by the same agency. The economy was shaky and I thought the government would offer some security while I got back on my feet. I had applied and many people and old friends thought it would be a slam dunk hire. Then, I got a form letter that I was declined. I had accidentally filled out the form wrong in one spot, I erroneously put a wrong grade number for the application and they denied my application. Even after I called and explained I was told that they could not modify an application and I’d have to wait until next year. It really was depressing and disappointing. However, not long after, it was announced that this agency was going to close. 300 people, many of my friends, would now need to look for new jobs. Had I been accepted, I would have been there only a short time and then required to go out and look anew. It would have been worse.
I’ve had many other instances when I wanted to work for a company, been passed over in some way, and then found out that there was an issue, it closed, or the job was not a good one. In some way or another I was lucky and it seemed like someone was watching out for me. What appeared to be bad luck seemed like good luck.
More recently I considered a career move and was again denied. I took it to heart and felt pretty down for a while. Then I recalled these past experiences in my life…I’m still “too close” to see big picture so far but I tell myself that this too shall pass and that something better is coming, this opportunity wasn’t right for my path and some Intelligence is helping me…..
…I think that it helps to have a Vision where or what you want. Have a clear idea, picture, thought, feelings – where you want to go, how you want it to be, and why. Don’t worry about the How. You need to stay focused on that vision – what you can do today, how you can take action – and avoid focusing on what doesn’t work, avoid focusing on the negative. Setting goals is great. Having faith in yourself and faith in others, and faith in the world helps a lot. Giving, being open-minded, being happy, and being persistent are other lessons that I’d have to pass along too…..
…..to jump back into my Chapter 8 timeline and get back to the story – I was going to start telling you about how I was hired to a large bank for the first time and how well things went for some time……had I not had the previous denials, challenges and even failures, I would not have had this new job at the bank. Those doors that were closed may or may not have been good for me, we will never know, but certainly when I started this new job at the bank, I was very happy to be there……to be continued.
….so that fall I returned to college a new person….really I felt like a man for the first time ever. As I mentioned, people treated me differently. I had a new confidence and self-respect. I can tell you that my relationships, grades, and life were affected.
I went to the fitness center 4 or 5 times a week. I ate better. I worked in the office and carried a 90% load of schoolwork. My grades improved greatly. My professors noticed my change. I began to think differently.
My parents now went to Florida from January to April. They bought a small place there and had a great time – they deserved it. My dad played volleyball 4 or 5 days a week and softball once or twice a week. My mother and father rode there bikes around the park most of the day and they socialized. They looked and acted years younger.
Besides some basic challenges, the year went on well. My father had a minor set back the next year but recovered quickly. I continued to run the business mostly on my own, using my dad as a valuable consultant. I would bounce ideas and situations off of him and we’d work together. My father and I did travel together to some larger clients, some tradeshows and other business. I got to spend time with him as a boss, partner and for the first time friend. It was a great time and I am forever grateful for that time. As time went on, I began to inject more of my own ideas and personality into the business. I had much to learn.
The next year of college came and I continued to maintain the balance of work, school, and social life. I began to enjoy the bit of extra money that I started to gather. Life was good.
I began to really taste independence. When I say that, I mean it in a few ways….I tasted what it was like to earn money, to save money, and to invest it. I saw my money grow in my investments, so I understood the passive nature of investing.
By the nature of our business, we set up dealers, home centers, and distributors. They sold our products. We earned commission. That was pretty cool. We earned money whether we were golfing, driving, sleeping or whatever. Sure we had to offer support, service and coordinate deliveries….and yes set up new dealers, but it was cool when I understood that there was a recurring revenue of sorts happening there.
The other part of independence was that we were living one about 30 acres – about 10 acres of fields in front of the home and office, and the balance behind us in beautiful woods. There was a small hillside on the on side of the property so that we were in a nice little valley. Not far in the woods, we had a creek. You could sit in the office in mid-summer and open the windows to a great cool breeze. You could hear birds sing, hear the bubbling creek, and look out and see deer.
If you wanted to take a walk, go fishing, it was all possible. There was an independence so that we were not tied to a city building, hampered by a commute and traffic. We weren’t tied to one employer. We had the freedom of recurring income. The independence that all people experience when they first reach a certain level of income was there. Life was good.
Later in my life I got away from many of these things. I worked in the city and had a very long commute. I worked for controlling employers. I would spend years longing to get back to that independence – the feeling that I controlled my own life. I lost the recurring revenue and the almost passive nature of the income. For many years, sometimes on purpose, sometimes because of circumstances around me, I lost independence. I can tell you this, it is much better, in so many ways, to be as independent as possible. I’ve had it and in some ways, I lost it.
As with any life event, I learned lessons. Among others, I learned the WORDS TO LIVE BY: Independence. Being free to act on your own, free to live where you want. I encourage you, define what independence means to you and what types of it are important to you.
I really grew over a few years. I learned a lot. I took some risks. I made some mistakes. I had successes.
One of the companies was about 90% of our income. We were independent but when you looked at the finances of our business, we were very dependent on one company. It wasn’t by design but because that company had such a diverse nature of products and because of how the territory simply developed, we were tied to them.
One spring we got news that this company hired a new set of sales managers. We got the call that one was coming to our area and we had to set up some visits. We approached it with a great attitude but he was pretty tough to deal with. Even though he knew nothing of the industry, he came across as egotistical, typically interrupted people, and was not a pleasant guy to spend the guy with…..
….he came into town a few times that summer and he’d typically tick off clients wherever he visited. We’d ask for help solving problems but he never solved one of them. He often was late for appointments and was disrespectful to me and my father. Then one day he asked us to meet him somewhere far. So we got up at 5am, drove to see this guy and we got fired.
That year, that company let go of any and every representative like us across the country and they went with some in-house salaried people. (Within 12 months that company also let go that sales manager!) Things change. You must adapt!.
So we drove all the way home on that beautiful summer day. I could tell that my dad was very upset that suddenly the business had lost 90% of its cashflow and the legacy he wanted to leave was not going to be the same. We tried to enjoy the day and we discussed the exit strategy….we also began to think about what the next step would be………
How many of us have fought with a spouse or partner about money?
We all have in some way, right?
When financial issues come up, we handle things differently due to our gender, family, upbringing, current outlook, etc.
So how do we handle this?
I saw this good video about it from Noah St. John.
(This is one of a part of a series of WORDS TO LIVE BY. This series grew out of a workbook I first made for my young daughters and discussed at the dinner table. These Words include values, good ideas, and Words to aspire to….and learn from….enjoy!)
This Words To Live By is about Making judgements and generalizations in life. I guess I want to focus on how we look at others and how we look at opportunities and make a generalization or judgement.
From vocabulary.com –A generalization is taking one or a few facts and making a broader, more universal statement. If all the girls you know play with dolls, you might make the generalization that all girls play with dolls. Scientists try to make generalizations based on research — the more data they have, the more accurate the generalization. Generalizations can be similar to stereotypes in that they are sometimes wrong and harmful. Usually, it’s best to stick with specifics and avoid generalizations.
We constantly are making judgements in our minds each day about small and large decisions. We need to make snap judgements about all sorts of things. But, many times we make judgements about others based on emotion, prejudice, previous pain, misunderstandings, etc.
We generalize about some things don’t we? Sure, it is necessary to some degree but these generalizations are unfair and limiting. When we judge someone or something, we limit ourselves, we limit them, and we immediate limit the possibilities.
For instance, I had a former boss that made lots of generalizations. If we’d get a client that was from a certain vocation, he’d generalize “I worked with a few of those people before, she won’t return the forms or follow up, they’re all like that.” He would immediate make a judgement that she wasn’t the type to follow through, she was flakey, and that she wasn’t committed. Guess what? He was often wrong when he made these generalizations and I loved it. Often I didn’t even say anything, but once in while my ego got in the way perhaps and I’d say something like “Oh, she did return the forms and follow up?” I had to becareful.
Sometimes a client or prospect came in dressed a certain way. My boss would make a judgement whether they had money, and if they were flakey, etc. It really bothered me. Again, often he was wrong. I remember one single man came in and was about to retire. My boss thought he was without financial resources and was the type to not follow up. He was wrong.
I’ve had bosses, friends and relatives make judgements and generalizations about all sorts of things. In some ways it is almost entertaining to hear someone talking about their misunderstandings about other people or about an opportunity. I love to laugh at people who say small-minded things (but I don’t classify them as small-minded, nonetheless!) It is unfortunate and even offensive when people start making generalizations about race and creed.
I remember an older lady in my family, she has since passed, she was getting a little foggy in her head as she grew older. She often would see someone, almost anyone, and make some generalization. Many times it was amusing. She saw an Irish man once drinking tea and said “They like their tea, don’t they?”
I, on the other hand, did not know thatJ. She’d see someone riding a bike and say ‘they like to ride their bikes around here.’ Do they? But, it would get borderline racist when she’d see an African American and make a generalization. Many times it wasn’t about a stereotype and maybe wasn’t necessarily offensive by itself, but it was sometimes racist and we told her to stop it.
I had a boss that would generalize about Jewish people due to his experience with one Jewish person years ago. It made me sick. I told him numerous times not to make those statements around me.
What about when others make judgements or generalizations about you?
I recall, when I was young, getting passed over for a few rounds for an intramural football team. They made a judgement about me and how I played without ever having seen me. They were wrong. Soon they had me playing first string.
We’ve all gone to job interviews and felt that the interviewer was making a judgement or generalization right? Relatives often easily pass judgement and generalize about us, don’t they?
How does it feel when someone makes a judgement or generalization about you? It angers me. I feel that I want to yell, point out all of their faults, that I don’t want to deal with them.
I must admit, I’ve been told that I’m not cut out for things or can’t do things many times and in many ways it motivates me. Healthy or not, I use that anger or whatever it is to fuel me to do better. In some ways I do it to “show them” – but that’s not what it really should be about. We need to do things and make choices for ourselves, not for someone who is passing judgement on us.
When confronted by mean-spiritedness, and hateful gossip, respond to it from your position of love: “I don’t want to make any judgments.” Rather than criticizing the mean-spirited person, silently project love. Wayne Dyer
How many times have you had a friend or relative pass judgement on an opportunity, job, relationship?
“You can’t make money in the stock market.”- or – “Real estate is a drag, it’s all about fixing someone’s toilet, tenants are mooches.” – or – “He comes from a big family. People from big families are attention hounds.” – or – “She’s an only child. You know how only children are spoiled, she is so selfish.” – or – “Why would you ever work there? That job just seems so boring/challenging/empty….” – or – “do you put in an honest day’s work in that kind of job?”
These are all actual one’s that I have heard lately. Many people make judgements about a whole group of things because of one or two situations.
Many of us also make judgements because of our own fears and negative emotions. It is a way that we can rationalize passing on an opportunity and doing nothing. It is a way to deny a failure or lack of action.
I think of my old boss sometimes and all the things he said. He must have been a fearful guy. He was constantly setting himself up so that if he did fail or not get an opportunity, he had the excuse ready. “Sure he didn’t sign up as a client, he’s one of those _____, what do you expect.”
I see some of my friends and relatives do this too. I love these people and they’re good people, hardworking, giving, friendly – but sometimes their judgement isn’t entirely un-biased. Emotions and fear cloud them. Prejudice too.
Don’t get me wrong, I make judgements, incorrect ones, and generalizations. But I do constantly work at stopping myself. Judging others is such a waste of time and energy. In essence we’re focusing on a perceived negative quality of another person or situation. In essence we’re complaining or worrying about something we don’t even know to be true. Other than rationalizing and making us feel a slight bit better for a moment, how does that help anyone?
So many people build up prejudice, judgements, generalizations as they go through life because of failure, hurt, loss, pain, etc. It is easy to do. It is natural, perhaps, but not healthy.
Are you making judgements? Generalizations? About people or opportunities? Are you limiting yourself? Are you seeing things clearly for what they really area?
A good friend and coach once said, we should not judge an event as good or bad. He said,” I suggest taking words like bad, good, negative, positive out of your self-talk by simply stating what it is without labeling it.
You can change it to “I have empathy/compassion for that person,… Yet If you have empathy/compassion and want to do something (even if it’s sending love or compassion from your heart) that offers something for that person to help Empower them to move forward…use your feelings to help in some way instead of simply feeling “bad” which usually ties to guilt and is a mind and time waster.”
In some ways I think judgements and generalizations, like forgiveness, seems to be about others but in fact it is about us. When we hold a grudge against someone else, it really doesn’t hurt them, it hurts us mostly by what we carry around. When we pass judgement about someone or something, we do limit the other person but we also limit ourselves more by not seeing the whole picture, relying on prejudices, not being open, not being a loving human being. We’re hurting ourselves when we judge or generalize.
Our prejudice, judgements, generalizations often tell others a lot about ourselves, too! Have you ever seen or heard someone say something, some kind of judgemental statement or generalization – that they are trying to ‘look bigger’ or somehow act superior, or put down another person? However the effect is instead that they look silly/small-minded/angry/inferior. We suddenly see what is really inside rather than the fascade they project.
I’ve heard people say that there is perfection in our lives – that where we are and what happens is in some ways perfect. For many things I accept this – but when we lose a loved one, especially a child – or something similar, it is hard to see any kind of perfection in those tragic events.
But, just for this conversation, let’s just discuss events around our careers?
I look back when I was working full time and going to the evening MBA program. It was over 10 years ago. Arthur Andersen Consulting was big, at least it seemed to be from my perspective. They were worldwide, visible, and seemed to have a great reputation. Through the university’s MBA program, I got to meet many of the local Arthur Andersen’s (AA) staff. They were about my age and seemed like really interesting people. I researched AA more and it seemed really interesting.
So I started the interview process. I was intrigued and excited. I loved it. I seemed to be doing well in the process – although it was a long process. They had 5-6 interviews. I felt things were going well and got invited back to my 5th interview. I was pumped. That interview was tough, and I eventually was told that they ‘passed me over’ this time.
I was crushed. I was so excited, felt connected to the people, the mission, the pay, the aura. It really bothered me.
A few weeks went by and through the MBA program, we heard that AA was no longer going to pursue ANY candidates. What? None of us? There were about 7 people in the last stages. We heard two might be hired.
Then we found out that Arthur Andersen was somehow involved with ENRON. There was a big backlash and other problems. Suddenly no hiring. Soon after layoffs came to AA.Then I was told the Pittsburgh office was downsized. That opportunity had looked SOOOOOO good. I would have almost paid for it. I wanted it so bad.
Now I was somewhat relieved that I didn’t get hired. I later found out that some former Arthur Andersen staff had a tough time getting hired elsewhere, at least for a while, due to the Enron stigma. In reality many had nothing to do with it but the PR was bad.
I’ve had other times in my life where I started a partnership with another guy and it seemed to be a great thing. Then in 2 months he decided to end our contract. I was shocked. There was really no reason, all parties were performing and doing well. I was mad, upset, hurt, confused……but it didn’t take long to realize that he was so incredibly anal, controlling, etc. – that we probably would not have gotten along. Years later I talked to someone in the industry that had worked for him and he didn’t have anything good to say. He felt that the years with him were lost years. A bad breakup turned out to be good?
I remember attending a football banquet with my father. A local organization put it on for charity – some of the Pittsburgh Steelers attended and spoke, took pictures, etc. Two of the Steelers spoke about how they progressed – even how they were guided through their careers and through life. The kicker, Gary Anderson, spoke about being on the football team before the Steelers. Before the NFL, he was a very accurate kicker and was drafted. After being drafted to the NFL, he spoke about how his kicking in practice and in games was far below his potential. As he said it, “I could kick better with my left foot than I was with my right during that period.” He soon got cut. He went through all the bad emotions and worry. How could he ever work again? Would he be able to kick well ever again? Etc.
Then he was picked up by the Steelers. For whatever reasons, when he arrived on the Steelers, he kicked well again. It seemed much easier and things went well for a number of years. He was happier, he contributed to the team, the community, his family was happy, etc. Looking back, that previous experience and failure almost seemed necessary – it seemed perfect.
I’ve heard many other stories of people in sports, life, love where a crushing blow seemed to be the worst loss, failure, dead end, or bad moment in their lives. Something that seemed to be so good, so desirable, such a must was suddenly taken away or shut off. How could they ever recover? Maybe it was a relationship, a career change, a move, whatever.
Then, a short period after, they looked back and they were glad it happened. One thing led to another and something better showed up. Something unexpected came about and now they were happy.
This has happened in my own life many times in many ways. More recently there has been a career event that seemed to be so good, then suddenly changed and it hurt. I’m still too close to look back on it clearly but for once I’m kind of excited to see the perfection in the new life and options I now have. I feel calm, confident, and faithful that whatever comes next will be better and that event is part of the perfection.
I’ve read different stories about people getting hurt and now have to use a wheelchair all their lives but they now feel grateful for the new role. How many people have you heard say they went for a certain job and found it miserable, and now they have a better, simpler life doing something else, something that they could not have dreamed of on their own? An injury? A loved one being challenged by something? Any of the hurdles each of us face….
Some people say it is Destiny. Others say God is guiding us. Some say that it is our Inner Self guiding us. There is no right or wrong answer. For me, I feel it is a little bit of all the above.
I feel that Destiny/God/Inner Self is all the same thing. When we calm down and listen to ourselves, we often feel/see/hear the ‘right’ decisions. I believe that this guides us. I also believe that our Inner Self is connected to the outside world – the Source, God, the Universe whatever you call it. Are we being guided or guiding ourselves? Does it really matter?
There is an old Chinese proverb that helps us have a perspective on events….is something ‘good’ or ‘bad’
Sāi Wēng Lost his Horse –Sāi Wēng lived on the border and he raised horses for a living. One day he lost a horse and his neighbor felt sorry for him, but Sāi Wēng didn’t care about the horse, because he thought it wasn’t a bad thing to lose a horse. After a while the horse returned with another beautiful horse, and the neighbor congratulated him on his good luck. But Sāi Wēng thought that maybe it wasn’t a good thing to have this new horse.
His son liked the new horse a lot and often took it riding. One day his son fell off the horse and broke his leg. Because of his broken leg, he couldn’t go off to the war, as was expected of all the young men in the area. Most of them died.
This proverb is said when bad luck turns to good, or when good luck turns to bad.
Related to this, we should avoid labeling anything as good or bad.
I suggest taking words like bad, good, negative, positive out of your self talk by simply stating what it is without labeling it. For example: you may feel emotional inside where your energy is low in a situation, ask yourself if that feeling is serving you and if it is, ok…if not, choose to change to another feeling state. Realize that you may not know if this event today is really ‘bad’ or ‘good’ yet.
Be excited to find how the failure, disappointment, rejection is just going to lead to something better. Be relaxed and at ease that you’ll be guided – by yourself or by something else – to the right spot, to the state of perfection. Have faith, have patience, and let it happen.