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The Sneaky Seven of Discouragement and Defeat: Disappointment

Management Corner – Part 7

Annette Reissfelder, a Professional Accredited Coach active in Prague and Hamburg, shares her musings on management, innovation and beliefs in this series first published in BUSINESSWOMAN this summer.

This article first appeared in “BusinessWoman” in November 2013.


Myth No. 4 is “I'm not getting what I want” 

You feel disappointed when you seem to have done everything right but still don't get the results you want. You've spent a lot of time and have travelled a long way. Is it time to give up and try something new? Sometimes it is - but not always.  It can feel safe and be comforting (in a limiting sort of way) to get dragged down by disappointment, but from there, it really is just one small step to falling in the trap of letting your preconceived notions like “nothing will ever change, and nothing I could ever do will make a difference” become a cheap excuse for not even trying. 

Have you really tried everything – have you tweaked your strategy, listened carefully to feedback from clients and peers? Look at the support you got: did you really use it to its fullest extent? Or do you happen to believe that if you don’t make it alone, success doesn’t count? Have you read the books, listened to expert advice or, if there’s really a lot at stake for you, had a few sessions with a coach to expand your beliefs? Or perhaps you've set your goals so high that it's unrealistic to achieve them in the time you've set. You probably can achieve very ambitious goals, but definitely not irrespective of resources and context.

Don’t get lost in a cycle of recrimination and self-judgment, finding yourself at fault for not meeting your expectations, or for not being the person you wish you could be – just yet.

Get some input from others, and set up a support system- complete with a “personal board of advisors” – revise your goal, and make a new plan; then go into action mode. If you then still realize you are in the wrong place, you’ll be much better equipped to deal with the situation- since you’ll already be in action mode! Even if the next steps entail changing your employer, or even your career, you might find you are ready to take those steps.

By the way - I'm not asking that you believe anything I am writing in my articles. What I do want you to do is to notice your beliefs! Your beliefs shape your thinking, your feelings, your actions and your life. And don't believe that either! Take a look and see for yourself if it's true.

A word on “role models”: Of course it can be inspiring to hear successful men and women share their (ex-post!!) evaluations of how events led to become their "oh-my-god" careers. This is especially so if the people sharing them are conscious of the difference between how they felt about things at those famous crossroads - and how things played out in hindsight. In all other cases, these inspirational stories are simply stories.

I often feel we may be looking for inspiration in the wrong places. People with whom we don't interact on a regular basis cannot help us "become more of who we are". And why become a less-than-perfect version of who they are? After all, their role is already taken! I am a great fan of people who don’t want to emulate others, and instead focus on who they really, truly want to become. These people access their deep sources of energy and motivation to get there - complete with dealing with the dark sides of their dreams on the way. These are the kind of journeys that lead to meaningful lives full of proud memories.

The next article will look into Unworthiness – and some deeper, darker territory…

Management Corner – Part 1 Why Good Girls could be losing out in the workplace now
Management Corner – Part 2 The New Management Ideal
Management Corner – Part 3 Beliefs Trump Facts: An Introduction
Management Corner – Part 4 Personal Myths: Beliefs That Might Be Holding You Back
Management Corner – Part 5 The Sneaky Seven of Discouragement and Defeat: Confusion
Management Corner – Part 6 The Sneaky Seven of Discouragement and Defeat: Impatience


About the author:
 Annette (www.an-edge-for-you.com) studied economics and holds a master degree in psychology. She started her coaching training in 1998 while she ran a management consultancy for manufacturing companies. Today her clients are business owners and senior managers who want to actively shape an important personal or professional change project. In her work, she combines the roles of consultant, strategic thinking partner and psychologist. She is multilingual and works in German, Czech and English.