The Art of Strengths Coaching

D is for Doing Deeds To Overcome Disappointments

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Different people employ different approaches to overcome disappointments. A person may choose to sleep, think, talk, listen to music, go for walks, write about their experience or do other things.

Whichever route they choose, however, they may go through elements of the classic change curve.

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One approach is for a person to spend some time in their chosen sanctuary. They then emerge to do good deeds to help other people.

The emphasis is on doing deeds, however, rather than simply writing a cheque. They actually do something to help others. This can have a cleansing effect on their body and soul.

Everybody experiences disappointments. Sometimes these are strongly influenced by outside events. Whilst the person may play some part, the difficulty may be caused by events they cannot completely control.

A person may be the innocent victim of an accident, lose their job through redundancy, experience an illness or suffer some other setback. Sometimes the person may have tried their best – such as when applying for a job – but other factors meant they experienced disappointment.

Sometimes, however, the person may disappoint themselves. This can be more difficult to deal with.

They may normally be kind, but have inadvertently said something that hurt somebody. They may normally be professional, but have failed to prepare properly and lost a piece of work. They may normally be able to stay above the fray, but have fallen into fighting dirty.

Disappointing oneself can lead to lots of soul searching. Looking back at my professional life over the past 45 years, for example, I can recall some occasions when it would have been advisable for me to be calmer and think before speaking. This led to thinking:

“What can I do better in the future? How can I encourage people? How can I do something in the next 24 hours to translate this into action?”

Outside driven disappointments can sometimes be easier to deal with, because you can then summon your fighting spirit. Inside disappointments call for returning to your moral compass and doing something to translate it into action.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a situation in the past when you aimed to do good deeds to overcome a disappointment.

Describe the specific things that happened that meant you experienced a disappointment.

Describe the specific things you did to aim to do good deeds to overcome the disappointment.

Describe the specific things that happened – both for you and other people – as a result of you aiming to do good deeds to overcome the disappointment.

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Looking to the future, can you think of any setbacks or disappointments you may experience? Some of these may be mainly caused by outside events.

You may, for example, experience loss and grief. Such feelings seldom go away completely, but we may learn to manage them. They can also enable us to live more in the present and appreciate what have.

Looking at your professional life, you may always aim to do your best. Despite preparing properly and giving to others, however, you may still make mistakes.

People often mentally rehearse things to do their best to succeed and minimise mistakes. They may use various models of mental rehearsal before giving a speech, having a difficult conversation or doing other activities.

Some use reminders such as the much quoted THINK acronym before saying things. This is particularly relevant in the digital age. The Teach Thought website, for example, advises people to consider certain things before posting on the web. Here is a link to their advice.

http://www.teachthought.com/technology/a-simple-acronym-for-encouraging-digital-citizenship/

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Some people choose to translate a personal failure into a lifelong act of redemption.

The remarkable Ashoka Organization, for example, is named after the Emperor Ashoka. He was a leader who threw himself into redemptive acts that transformed the Indian sub-continent in the 3rd Century BC.

Ashoka is a pioneering organisation that supports social entrepreneurs across the world. These entrepreneurs aim to improve the quality of people’s lives.

They may focus on education, medical care, agriculture, housing, broadcasting or any field of human need. Such people have the passion and practical skills to translate their vision into reality. You can discover more about their work via the following link.

https://www.ashoka.org/

The young Emperor Ashoka initially waged war against his neighbours, but he became horrified by the carnage. Converting to Buddhism, he dedicated himself to improving the quality of people’s lives.

Deeply committed to his own beliefs, Ashoka nevertheless spread religious tolerance. Historians are split over the value of his legacy, but all agree that his reign produced great prosperity. H.G. Wells wrote in his book Short History of the World:

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“Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history the name of Ashoka shines, and shines almost alone.

“His reign for eight-and-twenty years was one of the brightest interludes in the troubled history of mankind.

“He organised a great digging of wells in India and the planting of trees for shade. He founded hospitals and public gardens and gardens for the growing of medicinal herbs.

“He created a ministry for the care of the aborigines and subject races of India. He made provision for the education of women.

“Such was Ashoka, the greatest of kings. He was far in advance of his age.”

Let’s return to your own life and work. Looking again to the future, can you think of any setbacks or disappointments you may experience?

This obviously calls for imagination, but it can be useful to consider potential scenarios. You will then be in a better position to take action if such events occur.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a situation in the future when you may experience a disappointment.

Describe the specific things that may happen that may mean you experience a disappointment.

Describe the specific things you can do then to aim to do good deeds to overcome the disappointment.

Describe the specific things that may happen – both for you and other people – as a result of you aiming to do good deeds to overcome the disappointment.

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