How do you handle disappointment?

6pm Friday night, at home, hanging out with my boys & excited about the weekend.

My phone rings. On the other end is the contact person for a position for which I had recently lodged a formal Expression of Interest (EOI). The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hello, Mark speaking.
Bad news person: Hi Mark, this is Fernando (the name has been changed for the sake of anonymity, although I reckon someone with the name Fernando would be calling with cool news!). I’m calling to advise that your EOI for the position has been unsuccessful.
Me: (a little taken aback, not expecting such a call afterhours as my weekend is starting) Oh, ok…
Bad news person: If you want feedback about your application Mark I’m happy to give it next week. Just call me.
Me: (confused): Oh, ok
Bad news person: Thanks Mark. Enjoy your weekend.
Me: (bewildered) Oh, ok...

Ignoring the poor timing of this communication I had a choice. Would I now focus on this disappointment, letting it dominate my thinking over the weekend or would I put
it aside and carry on regardless?

I, being the wise man and all, decided to ignore it and carry on.

Guess what happened?

A little voice inside of me kept reminding me of this disappointment ALL weekend. When I was at soccer with my boys, when I was at church with my friends, when I was catching up on the week with my wife. ‘Carrying on regardless’ was not in fact a
suitable strategy!

I realise now a better strategy for me would have been to assess the decision after I received the call, communicate my feelings, and then create an appropriate plan of
action for the following week. This would have enabled me to truly ‘carry on’
knowing I had a plan in place to address the circumstances around this news,
ensuring I was “in the moment” for my family over the weekend.

Let Hope Rise.

4 thoughts on “How do you handle disappointment?”

  1. Great insights Mark and very applicable to us all. Disappointment can only be avoided by a life with no expectation; and that leads to a totally disappointing life.
    Geoff Blight

  2. Mark – that’s great advice. A little trick I use when I can’t switch stuff off is to take out my notebook and write down what I’m thinking about…. then I can flush it. It used to be literally a pen and paper but these days…. pick a toy


What do you think?