When Life Doesn't Pan Out As You Planned

We've all faced disappointments in life, when something we really wanted didn't happen the way we expected. It may have been a relationship we wanted to develop, a career move that would have given us financial stability, a rejection letter from the university of our choice, longing for a child but not able to conceive, having our loan application declined, we expected to be further along at this stage... and the list goes on and on.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to consult with a company that was, in my estimation, the ideal client. I enjoyed the people, the culture, the location, the work and the perks. After three months, on a Friday afternoon, the department head called me into her office and asked if I would consider a contract extension. I was elated! This would be the financial anchor I needed to help withstand the recession the economy was in.

Low and behold, on Sunday evening, I received a phone call informing me that, not only would I not be getting a contract extension, but the company had decided they no longer needed my services. A complete turnaround within 48 hours. How was it possible they could rave about my work over the past three months and end the agreement so abruptly.

As you can imagine, I was disappointed and confused. All types of explanations ran through my mind... was it my credit? I'd never burned any bridges in my past employments. After playing out all the possibilities in my head for the next few weeks, I made a conscious decision to let it go.

Perhaps your hopes have been dashed in some area of your life that has left your disappointed because things didn't work out the way you expected. I want to share 5 things that will help you maintain control of your life in the face of the challenge.

Don't give in to despair

It’s natural to experience some anguish when your expectations have been dashed. Acknowledge your feelings, but don’t throw a pity party. You don't want to play the blame game either, not even with yourself. We can’t always change another person’s actions and attitude toward us or the circumstances in which we find ourselves. It's how we respond that matters.

Share your experience with a trusted friend as it will allow you to vent your anguish and frustration. They can be a source of insight by helping you to put things into perspective.

There may be a logical explanation

There's nothing wrong with seeking to understand why your plans didn't work out as you expected. In fact, you should take the necessary steps to get clarity. This could mean making a phone call to an individual who might have direct knowledge of the situation. The explanation might not change the circumstances, but it can relieve you from trying to figure out the logic or perspective behind your disappointment. It can free you from those nagging thoughts that tend to play over and over in your mind when there is no closure.

There are some outcomes that you may not understand until later in life as your reflect back in time. When you can find no satisfactory explanation, you must believe there is something better in store for you.

Seek what you can learn

Try to capture what can be gained from the experience. Keep a notebook or journal of lessons learned. This is not a diary of events, but a record of what you are learning. Write down the insights and lessons that life teaches you about God, about yourself, about life, relationships, and everything else.

You can waste a lot of time and misery reacting to events in a knee-jerk fashion. Dealing with disappointments as an opportunity to grow will help to keep your priorities straight and progressively move forward. Whether the disappointment works for your good depends entirely upon how you choose to respond.

Accept it

When you've done your part to understand why your plans didn't work out as expect, it's time to let it go, accept it and move on. Don't waste your time and energy trying to kick down a door has been closed. Change your focus and look for another door or opportunity.

Quote of the Week - "Carve a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment" –Dr. Martin Luther King


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