The Leadership Blog

How to Prevent Disappointment from Killing Your Dreams

fear growth leadership otto overcoming wisdom Jun 19, 2023

If you're over 21, chances are you've dealt with some disappointment in your life. 

If you're over 50, you've likely dealt with a lot of disappointment. 

Everyone develops their own way to handle it.  My question is, "Have you lowered your expectations in life to deal with your disappointment?"  Have you stopped allowing yourself to dream or have you given up on that big dream you've had for decades?  It's a pretty common strategy, but one I don't recommend.

Today's tips were inspired by the new Tom Hanks movie Otto.  Otto Anderson is a grumpy widower who reluctantly gets involved in the lives of his neighbors. When the love of his life died, he gave up on living.  His grief prompted him to attempt suicide, multiple times, but he wasn't very good at it. I'm going to do my best not to give away the movie.  It was great and I learned the following leadership lessons from it.

Here are four tips that can help you keep chasing your dreams and not let disappointment become their coffin.

      1. Keep Living

No matter how young or old you are, you've got to choose that if you're still breathing, you need to keep living life to its fullest.  Life's not over, until your dead.  Stop practicing for it while you're still alive.  Working toward making your dreams a reality can put pep in your step.  Just because your BIG HARRY AUDACIOUS GOAL (BHAG) hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't.  Of course, dreams don't come true like they do in fairy tales by waving a magic wand.  We have to work at them, even when we're disappointed and don't "FEEL" like it because it's taken longer than we expected.  When we learn how to manage our feelings, we'll be on our way.  We need to do things whether we feel like it or not.

      2. Find Something to Love 

For Otto, it was a cat.  He wanted to give up on life, give up on his purpose, give up on his dreams.  His heart was broken over the loss of his wife and he didn't want to love anyone or anything.  He had been dealt the ultimate disappointment and he was done.  However, this stray cat kept coming around and while he refused to take care of it for a while, he eventually gave in.  Loving and caring for that feline, helped him see the joy in life again.  Helped him see the possibilities.  Helped him see the impact he could make on the world.

     3.  Fight Against Injustice

One of the things that helped Otto, was his desire to stand up for his neighbors and take a stand against the developer.  When you focus on something bigger than you, dreams worth fighting for are born.  Dreams that help others tend to keep you focused and actually help ignite your passion, even when the flame starts to dwindle.  They tend to pull you when you want to give up.

    4. You Need People in Your Life Even if You Think They're Idiots

Otto thought everyone was an idiot and that's why he pushed people away.  What he learned over time was that even if people weren't as smart or as quick at things as he was, they were special, important and he needed them in his life.  Letting others in helped him deal with the loss of his wife and truly helped him learn how to enjoy life again.

You were created for greatness, and I believe there's so much more for you to accomplish.  The world NEEDS YOU to make your dreams comes true and I hope these four tips help you prevent disappointment from killing YOUR dreams.