The D Word
This week we delve deeper into #LizzysLegacy with MSL Regular, Lizzy Newman. If you haven't caught up on her adventures, you can catch Lizzy's introductory post here.
I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news, which do you want first?
Whenever someone asks me this question I always take the bad first. Gotta get it over with, right? Well here is the bad. The really bad. We’re going to talk about one of the worst things a person could ever feel or have felt about them.
Ugh. Even just typing the D word brings me back to situations where all of a sudden my heart can feel physical pain and my stomach is in knots. If you read my introductory blog post (yay, you!), you know that I thought my life was going to go according to plan and voila – it did not. When things don’t go the way we anticipate, disappointment is a major feeling we experience and let me tell you: I was DROWING in it.
Setting: June 2013. Fresh college graduate. Going to go into the family business as a financial representative. Planning to be successful and a leader and flawless and powerful. Planning to make myself proud. Planning to make my Dad proud.
Setting: Late August 2013. 3 Months into the business. Crying every day. Sick. Exhausted. Terrified. Facing failure every day. Inner turmoil. Testing my relationships. Losing self-esteem. Seemingly making my Dad proud. Not making myself proud.
I think you know what comes next. I quit the business. WHAT!?
That’s right. I made the hardest phone call I’ve ever made to my Dad (while he’s on vacation, nonetheless) and told him that I just couldn’t do it. I wasn’t made for it. I failed. And while he was amazing and supportive and kind to me, the inner disappointment that I felt was enough to keep me in bed for days. I was so sad, run down, and frustrated with myself. I was full of regret.
This was the first moment in my adult life that I realized that getting knocked down and disappointment were inevitable and the best way to deal with that was to let go, stand back up, and follow my gut.
"We often equate disappointment to failure or letting someone (or ourselves) down. Regardless of what makes you feel this dreaded feeling, the understanding that you can still persevere after disappointment or failure is your strength."
And that is exactly what I did. I went back to work at the office but this time as an assistant. I learned the business from the ground up. I did a job that I naively thought I was too good for and thanks to the leadership on our team, I realized there is nothing I am too good for in this world. I worked long hard hours. I pushed myself. I spoke up. Seems great right? It was. And then it came time to take my first test – the dreaded Series 7.
Now, if you’re in the financial industry you’ve heard of the Series 7. Some people think it’s hard, others don’t. I didn’t really know what to think so I just put my head down and I studied and studied and studied. I walked in feeling confident.
Failed by 2 questions.
Kept studying, working, and trying. Went in feeling confident.
Failed by 1 question.
At this point, I was frantic. I had never before felt the sense of desperation I felt to pass that test. Every time I failed I could feel the disappointment of my Dad and our team, and especially from within. I knew I could do it but I just wasn’t. I felt like a letdown.
Study. Cry. Study. Freak out. Study. Study Study. Walked in shaking.
The elation I felt was not long lived, though I tried so hard to hold on to it. I had another test to pass immediately after – the Series 66.
Study. Study. Freak out. Study. Cry. Study.
Failed by 2 questions.
Luckily, I passed the Series 66 on the second try but the disappointment still lingered. I realized that there were going to be times where I disappointed others and myself for the rest of my career – no one is perfect and everyone fails. Finding out new struggles is hard, fearing the disappointment that the future might bring is intimidating, and I didn’t want it to hold me back.
By now this probably seems like a drawn out whine fest but I promise I’m getting to the point.
The good news: Disappointment is the pathway to achieving our dreams, if we are willing to take the risk. Repeat.
I’m sure you’ve all heard the clichés before. Fall down 7 times, stand up 8. Reach for the moon, if you miss you’ll land among the stars. As cheesy as these are, they have some serious truth to them. Disappointment in itself is not what keeps you at your all-time lows, it’s how you deal with it.
We often equate disappointment to failure or letting someone (or ourselves) down. Regardless of what makes you feel this dreaded feeling, the understanding that you can still persevere after disappointment or failure is your strength. When I quit my first position, I was taking a serious risk. But I was also allowing myself to be okay with walking down a new path. I was giving myself the opportunity to grow as an employee, a team member, and as a person. If I had pushed through and continued along the unfulfilling and miserable road I was on, I may have missed the chance to end up exactly where I belong. If I gave up after the first time I failed the Series 7 I would have stifled not only my career, but my self-confidence.
Are you picking up what I’m putting down? If we never fail and in turn never experience disappointment, we would never know how strong we are and how able we are to persist. Do not shy away from situations, relationships, adventures, or challenges because of the fear of disappointment. Instead, think about what you would never be able to do if you didn’t take that first step. Is the scariness of the risk and the potential to disappoint worth more than the chance to be all you can be? No. It never, ever is. With disappointment comes strength and courage and determination, if you can find it within yourself to take one more step after the darkest hour.
Don’t let yourself miss out on your fate because of your fears. The best is yet to come, if you let it.
With love and light. Xo Lizzy
Read more from Lizzy under the "Lizzy's Legacy" category