When things don’t go my way, or, Dealing with Disappointment.

A few things have happened this year that I have found pretty disappointing.

I didn’t get a job I thought I would get, and really wanted. Some funding I was expecting didn’t come off. Some other funding I have been promised was latterly withdrawn. A friend talked to me about a work opportunity and then (through no ill will, just unexpected circumstances) went with another director.

And all this happened in a very short space of time (about a week).

It was pretty gutting. I felt sad and a bit silly. I also started doubting myself and thinking no one would ever want to work with me again. And I got a bit cross.

As I’m not a fan of self-pity I had a big talk to myself and on the whole, most of the time, I dealt with it. I ‘worked on’ my attitude. I explained the situations away and told myself that I was better off with these things not working out. That it was all part of a big plan and there were better things round the corner. That the timings had been all wrong (they probably were actually) and the work would have been a failure, too stressful and not fun (who am I kidding?, I would have loved bring creative and doing the work!).

A few months down the line I am mostly ok with it all, but every now and again (like today) I recognise the bitter taste of regret and disappointment rising up my throat again. If I’m not careful I wander down the road to where the self pity party is kicking off. I wallow for a while and lick my wounds. I tell myself that it was all a very terrible thing, that I was hard done by, and the injustice of it was considerable.

Then I pat myself on the back for being such a trooper.


I know…. Makes me want to vomit too. I’d like a better way of dealing with it. (We actually drove past this sign on Monday – near Durham – someone trying to tell me something?)

Recently I was reading a blog I sometimes enjoy by a writer called Donald Miller (you can find his blog here: http://storylineblog.com.)

On his blog he linked to a speech Conan O’Brien made when he had got the boot from NBC. I don’t know the ins and outs of it but I’m sure you could google it, I get the feeling it was a bit of an injustice, or at least that is how his fans saw it. I think he gave this speech on his last show.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/20534171]

Inspired by this, i am going to endeavour to take Conan O’Brien’s approach. When I taste that bitterness rising again I am going to choose to not be cynical. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. I will work hard, have fun and be kind.  And expect amazing stuff to happen.

I’m ridiculously blessed and fortunate.  Of course it’s not all going to go my way.

  • Sarah
    Posted at 16:42h, 02 October Reply

    I ‘get’ this 🙂

    Yes. I do.

    Love the little video, words very true. Not sure about the videography tho eh? Feel a bit giddy!

  • thehippochronicles
    Posted at 18:01h, 02 October Reply

    Know what you mean Sarah, felt a bit like i was ‘at sea’, but the words are good!

  • Jenny Harding
    Posted at 09:08h, 03 October Reply

    Love this, think the whole nation could do with a dose of Conan O’Brien!

  • cdcowles
    Posted at 08:41h, 05 October Reply

    Love your work Elli – really enjoying reading it.

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