Sliding Otter News 9/10/2011

When Life Does Not Meet Your Expectations

Canadaway Creek

Canadaway Creek

You May be disappointed if you fail, but your are doomed if you don’t try.

~Beverly Sills~

I wrote before about knowing who you are and who you are not. Sometimes you think you know who you are and set out merrily along your life path only to find yourself at a dead end. I have done this several times. While I stumbled around in confusion for a while each time, I finally picked myself up and searched for another path.

An accident or illness can take away some of your capabilities. A career for which you prepared might not still exist when you are ready to start it. Staying on your old path could require you to compromise your principles in a way which would mean giving up what is most important to you. There are many reasons people need to switch paths. Years ago when I studied careers and occupations, I learned that the average person has at least three careers during their lifetime.

You could stay stuck where you are, become angry about your disappointment or refuse to look for another path. I have met people who have handled life disappointments in each of these ways. Feeling sorry for yourself or giving up are options, but to my mind not very good ones. They also seem rather boring to me.

Of course it hurts to discover that your life dream is just that and accept that it will never amount to anything. Maybe you don’t have the skills you thought you did. Maybe the path you chose changes so much that it is no longer worth pursuing. Perhaps you find you have talents better than the ones you first relied on. None of this means your life is not worthwhile or that you have nothing to contribute. It just means you need to reevaluate your situation and reset your sights.

I know that is easier said than done. Having to give up who you thought you were can be very sad. It can be humiliating if you had many fans supporting your previous efforts. It can be disorienting to forget your old ways and beat a new path. You might lose confidence in yourself and start second guessing your ability to make good choices.

But maybe you can learn something about yourself in the process. You can learn perspective. Having to change paths is a chance to discover that disappointment is not the same as being devastated. You can discover skills you did not know you had. You have a chance to learn to be flexible rather than rigid about your goals. Maybe what you learned in your past life will help you in your new one.

Life Lab Lessons

  • Do you like the path your are on?

  • If not, what can you do about it?

  • What is most important in your life?

  • What path will help you find what is important?

  • Be courageous and choose that path.

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