By: David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

David Freund, MACNY_2015Disappointment is defined as the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations. Disappointments are just a natural part of life, and a part of life we would all like to avoid. But what if disappointments were a good thing? What if a disappointment was just a road sign pointing to personal growth and transformation?

As you read this, I will be in the middle of my year-end review and goal setting for 2017. Part of this process is to take an honest look at what didn’t go well. At times, this can be a painful experience as I look at my limitations or situations where I may have hurt someone that I love or missed out on a special day with them. It is disappointing when I see opportunities missed or where I came up short on a goal. It is a harsh reality that a year has passed and I will never get it back.

But wait! The disappointments are really just the road signs pointing me to personal growth and transformational opportunities.  These moments of regret and frustration occur when we are most likely to make a foundational change. We simply need to open our eyes and reflect on WHY we missed the goal or opportunity. We did not fail– the plan we were using failed– and we can leverage these emotions to bring about the behavioral changes necessary. As John Maxwell often says “Setbacks become Set-Ups when we respond correctly.” They can actually set us up for success.

Okay, back to my failures. Part of my year-end review process will be to honestly look at each disappointment, missed opportunity, or missed goal and to determine a root cause. I will ask myself what went wrong. Did I have the skills necessary to make the change? Do I need to turn accomplices into friends to help me stay the course?   This process allows me to move from disappointment, anxiety, and sorrow to optimism, growth, and transformation.

How about you, as you approach the New Year,  will you leverage your disappointments to create growth and transformation.