Exciting Disappointment

Every entrepreneur will experience disappointment at one time or another – that’s a fact. We tend to be optimistic and visualize very positive outcomes. Of course not every outcome is realized exactly the way we anticipate. To succeed we need to have a heavy dose of resilience. But there’s more to it than just the ability to bounce back.

We had a really big deal blow up recently. It involved the sale of several apartment properties and would have resulted in a very large financial gain after holding these properties for nearly 20 years. The buyer had made a preliminary inspection of the properties, and a purchase and sale agreement had been executed by both parties. Then the buyer claims that our broker misrepresented an element of the transaction that would ultimately result in a substantial reduction in the price – something we were unwilling to accept. We believe that the buyer never intended to pay the agreed-upon price and was starting the process of “chiseling” once the documents were signed.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had a deal blow up and it certainly won’t be the last. And it isn’t the first time that a buyer acted less than honorably – nor will it likely be the last. Our initial reaction was one of disappointment. It would have been wonderful to monetize an investment that was many years in the making, and we would have disposed of some smaller assets that no longer fit our strategy going forward. Naturally, resilience kicked in and we didn’t shed any tears over this situation. The broker went back to the drawing board and worked to find another buyer. Here’s what may be a surprise to you though – our mindset in the moment.

After I understood the transaction wasn’t moving forward, I actually became excited in a positive way. Why? Because I tend to look at situations like this as a sign that “something better is in store!” Yes, we would have had a very favorable result had we closed the deal. But I’m convinced that there’s something much bigger and better to come from this.

Some may snicker and laugh when they hear this. They might say that this is simply naïve and wishful thinking. I would tell them that I’ve been living my life this way for 40+ years and more often than not, I’m right. Here’s why. By knowing and believing that something better is in store, I’m telling my creative juices to kick into overdrive. In the case of this apartment sale, our broker might come up with another buyer. Yet I have an idea that will require a bit more innovation and take a bit more time, but the end result could be even more profitable than originally planned. And it jazzes me to develop and execute the strategy necessary to make this happen.

A more conventional approach might be to lament the loss of the original buyer. It might be to play the victim and become angry that the original buyer was less than honorable in his dealings with us. We could be mad at the broker for his misstep in the way he worded the offering document that purportedly caused the issue in the first place. But what purpose is served with all of the negativity? The fact still remains that the buyer backed out. The choice is ours as to which fork in the road we take. The one that leads to an even greater success or the one that leaves us wallowing in misery and limited thinking.

When we realize that our entrepreneurial lives are continually unfolding as a series of opportunities, we never look at unexpected outcomes as setbacks. Instead they give us a chance to use our skills, our resilience, our experience and our creativity to achieve even better results than we initially sought. Allowing negative thoughts and emotions enables limitations on our creativity. What might otherwise be viewed as a disappointment is simply a nudge to adjust, modify and tweak in such a way as to eventually win a better prize.

Entrepreneurs need a baseline level of resilience to survive. Seeing greater opportunity in what others might term as failure is a step beyond resilience. And knowing and believing that something better is in store enables us to thrive in amazing ways.

You can also listen to a weekly audio podcast of my blog. What you hear will be different than what you read in this blog. Subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also click on this link – Click here to listen to Audio Episode 73 – The 1,057 Point Swing.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

All the Best

Question: I hate being disappointed about so many things in my life. How do I set my expectations so that this doesn’t happen?

Answer: Disappointment is an insidious feeling. Years and years of disappointment breeds cynicism. Disappointment also leads to pessimism. Cynicism and pessimism slowly creeps into our consciousness and attacks our soul. At all costs we must avoid allowing ourselves to be disappointed. So your question is really about how to avoid being disappointed.

The solution may sound perverse but it’s really not. Expect the best. It’s that simple. Expect the best. This is not a Pollyanna concept but a mindset. Think about it. When we try to lower our expectations what does that do? It creates a mindset that is limiting. We may take actions that align with our lowered expectations and as a result we ensure that we won’t achieve our highest good. The reason we may be disappointed is because we may not really believe high expectations. We think at one level that things are going to be amazing but deep down inside we don’t really believe it. And the situation then becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Expecting the best is all about truly believing. I’ve written before about being accused of wearing rose-colored glasses. But I’ve found over the years that always expecting the best generally turns into reality. It’s the law of mind-action. What we believe in our minds is produced in the world around us. Of course a distinction must be made lest this law be misunderstood. If I’m 60 years old and believe I’m 20, I’m not really going to roll the clock back and become 20 again. But if I believe that I feel like I’m 20 . . . if I truly believe this . . . then I will feel like I’m 20. Which brings us back to expectations. How many times have we said, “I really want to win that new contract, but the deck is probably stacked against me.” What is most likely to happen? We won’t win the contract because we affirmed that we wouldn’t. Our lowered-expectation is that we won’t win.

Expecting the best is liberating. It means that we have no need to lower or measure our expectations. Instead we can truly believe the best about our lives. And as an added bonus, our beliefs will manifest.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

Ice Cream