The Upside of Not Getting What You Want

Posted December 20, 2012 by Rebecca Niziol in Life After Five

It’s frustrating when you don’t get what you want. And not just in terms of gifts around the holidays. Although, no one really wants that fuzzy pink sweater that Aunt Bertha re-gifted to you. The same way no one wants to be dumped on Christmas Eve when they thought they were getting a ring.

It can be the biggest disappointment when you expect or anticipate something great, only for the lackluster version to become your reality. The boss brings your team together for a big announcement (your promotion?!), only to announce they hired someone from the outside for that position. It happens all the time, and it causes a lot of frustration and unhappiness. It transforms brides into bridezillas, and achievement oriented coworkers into psychos. One situation like this can cause you, a bright and very sane woman, to become one big hot mess. 

A lot of brilliant leaders are forward thinking. The ability to plan for the future, see the big picture, and be one step ahead of the crowd can have huge benefits for you in life and at work. But with this strength comes the tendency to focus on the future more than the present moment.

Here’s what it’s costing you: enjoying what is happening in any moment. Future-tripping, the practice of creating and dreaming about possibilities, is fun. But remember, every minute you spend up in the clouds is one less minute you have to live in the moment. It’s very easy to get caught up in a picture-perfect version of what could be. However, this causes extremely high expectations to be placed on yourself or others to deliver exactly what you imagined.

Life will not always go according to your plan. And if it did, it would be a little boring to know what to expect in every moment. The key is to have a vision, goals, and aspirations, but to release your expectation of how they should unfold.

5 Thoughts to Remember When Things Don’t Go Your Way:

  1. Release expectations and detach from your intended outcome. Sometimes life has a different idea of what’s best for you. And in moments of disappointment, it can be really hard to recognize that. Expectations place a “should be” on a situation, and our “should be” is based on our limited experience and understanding from our own experiences. Not always what we believe is best actually is. Trust that the cards you’ve been dealt are exactly what you need in that moment.
  1. Be open to something different, which might pleasantly surprise you. There is never just one way things can pan out. With the thousands of possible outcomes, it is fun to allow yourself the freedom to enjoy whichever one lands into your life. When you don’t get what you want, remember you might be getting exactly what you need.
  1. Make room for something bigger and better, by allowing time and space for something else. The things we want are just a little further out on the time line, so be patient. Your vision will manifest when the time is right, so just continue to take steps in that direction. What we want is often hidden or masked by something else. Instead of strangling your life with the idea that things “must be this way,” take a step back and allow things to flow naturally.
  1. State your intentions and clearly communicate what you want and need. Part of manifesting what you want involves gaining clarity around what you want. So first, be very articulate in your thoughts about what it is you are after. Secondly, share that with others so they can understand and be part of the process. People can’t read your mind, so fill us in on your plan.
  1. Be grateful for what is happening right now. The best way to be in the present is to enjoy it, and express appreciation for it. You can’t be disappointed about what could have been when you are having so much fun participating in what is. What is working? What is perfect about this moment? If nothing else, laugh at the humor of the way everything is happening.


About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.