Windows and Doors

How to not let your disappointments beat you

We’ve all heard the adage “When God closes a door he opens a window” but do we really know what that means? More importantly, what does it really mean to you… personally?

The other day I faced one such example.

My colleague and I had been working hard on a project that would have been significant for business had it come together. I had put a lot of time and effort into making sure every obstacle was removed. I was confident that there was nothing more I could do to make sure that project succeeded.

It didn’t.

There was no reason for the failure. Nothing was wrong. In fact, I was told by everyone involved that there was every reason to expect it would still happen… just not right now.

I was disappointed. I was hurt. Initially I took it personally, as if it was somehow my fault.

I chose to take a walk to get my mind off of it because I didn’t want to lose my temper or do something I would regret. It was in those moments of frustration that I found clarity. Here are the thoughts I had…

This Alone Does Not Define You

I’ve written about this before. One failure, one mistake, or even one victory or success, does not define who you are. You are more than that one experience. You are a compilation of years of experiences. You are likely the best version of all the things you have learned, experienced, and practiced.

I knew that just because I was really disappointed by this failure, it alone would not define where I was in my life and what else I was able to do. It was a temporary setback that I would get past.

Hope, Hope, Hope

In that moment of frustration I realized that I had overlooked something. I had not been told “no”, I had simply been told “not right now.” In the seconds after hearing the disappointing news, I had completely lost sight of the big picture. This was a temporary setback. I should be celebrating that this project would most likely still come together, but for the moment I had lost hope.

I have a friend who likes to tease me about my hope. He likes to mock me as I cling to an idea, or as I believe in things beyond when most would. I have always found that hoping for the things I want is necessary for me to build a belief in them and in myself. My hope is paired with my faith.

I once heard the example that while faith is like a teacher who prepares you for things, hope is the stalwart leader that fights when the opposition comes. Faith precedes miracles, but only when hope holds the course.

Let the Moment Pass

I knew that if I allowed this disappointing moment to linger, I would be in a foul mood the rest of the day and would accomplish nothing else I had planned. I was not willing to let that happen.

So… I let go. I accepted the reality that I could do nothing more about the disappointment in that moment, and I let the moment pass. It’s amazing how the rest of my day went. I not only had success with my other planned endeavors, but I was blessed with unplanned opportunities that presented themselves as if by miracle.

It’s easy to let a small setback grow until we perceive it as being much larger than it actually is. Too often we allow a bad moment to take control of the rest of our day until we have lost sight of all the good surrounding us. We make this mistake when we carry a little disappointment into the next call, the next meeting, or the next hour. Even worse is when we let that one moment impact the end of our day, like how we then interact with our family. Too many tears are drawn from frustrations that should have died with a moment that ended long ago.

Let go of the moment that failed you, for it is gone and out of your control. Be careful you do not let it affect how you treat others, because that regret will never go away.

Like Water off a Ducks Back

I’m not suggesting that it’s an easy thing to let go and move on. I am not even saying that you should disregard the disappointment. It is often a disappointment that later inspires and drives a person to greater successes than they ever thought possible before.

What I am saying is that no one thing is so singularly important that it should dictate the rest of your life. You will get past it. You will overcome it. You may have to do things differently, and it may require more effort, but you do not have to be defeated.

So I told you about my closing door… now let me share my opened window.

Hours after the door of that project disappointingly closed in front of me, a window was opened where I found three new projects that would more than make up the difference for what I had temporarily lost.

Your life is full of doors and windows which are constantly opening and closing. There is no way of knowing ahead of time which ones will be available. It is our purpose then to be ever present and aware of what is being presented to us, knowing that we may only have to turn around to find what we have always been waiting for.


Question: Does this make sense to you, or do you disagree? Share an experience that illustrates why you feel that way. Leave a comment below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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