I’m all for evolving, stretching yourself and constantly trying to improve, and goal setting is a huge part of that process. So how is it possible to set a goal, reach the goal and still be disappointed?
My son recently tried out for the 7th grade basketball team at his school. His one and only season of organized basketball was in 4th grade, but when it came time to sign up he decided to give it a try. Before the tryouts he explained that the coach described the process as daily tryouts, beginning on Monday, with cuts at the end of each day beginning on day 2. He said his goal was to “just make it to Thursday.” He felt that making the team was unrealistic given that he hadn’t played much basketball, there would be nearly 50 boys trying out, and most of his friends have played basketball for the last several years. So we supported him and held out hope that he would make the first few cuts.
Wouldn’t you know it, he actually did pretty well early in the week and as he got in my car after Tuesday’s tryouts he told me that 21 boys were cut, but he was in the group invited back the next day. As I asked for a rundown of the day’s tryout he concluded his description with this line: “You know dad, I think I could actually make the team!” The amount of excitement in his voice was matched by the caution in mine as I responded, “that’s awesome, Cooper. I hope you do.” Then I added my obligatory parental disclaimer, “But if you don’t make it, it’s okay. Remember you just wanted to make it to Thursday, and you’re halfway there. Just keep working hard.”
Wednesday came, and he was invited back for Thursday.
Thursday evening I parked my car on the curb in front of the school and waited…
As he walked out of the gym I could see it on his face.
Disappointment. Embarrassment. Frustration.
He got in the car and the floodgates opened. I prepared my comments, but he didn’t want to hear them. He hadn’t made the team and his 7th grade world was CRUSHED!
Cooper made it to Thursday and was still disappointed. Why? Because early results opened up new, better possibilities that were previously unthinkable. Thursday is a great goal until you realize you were one day from making the team.
Exceeding your goal of losing 10 lbs can be disappointing if the scale shows a loss of 14.9 and you focus on missing out on 15 lbs.
Maybe you’re a pastor who set a goal of 500 people on Easter Sunday. Before leaving the church you got the news: 595 in attendance! You should be thrilled, but all the way home all you can think about is how close you were to 600.
You set a goal of 10 new sales leads this month and you ended the month with 12. Instead of cake you’re wallowing in your morning coffee because the guy who shares your cubicle set the new company record with 17 new leads.
Disappointment can often be the result of unmet, unrealistic expectations you set for yourself.
It can also be the result of giving your heart to new possibilities before taking the time to celebrate present successes.
Are you disappointed?
If so, is it because of unrealistic expectations, or
is your original successful goal no longer enough due to comparison or success in the process?
Go buy a cupcake, celebrate what you’ve accomplished and set a new goal!
Disappointment is Dumb!