Lately I’ve been talking to a lot of people who are frustrated with the way their lives are going. One has been looking for a new job, but keeps getting sick – like needing surgery sick. One is experiencing the frustration of learning to work within new physical limitations and is struggling to find a job that she can do. Another is looking for a different job and has had no luck whatsoever.
Here’s what every one of these women has asked me: “What am I doing wrong?”
My response? You’re not doing anything wrong. You are doing every single thing right.
The Power of Myth
Unfortunately we’ve been sold the myth that if we do everything right, our lives will be lovely and smooth sailing. Here’s the deal, just because we’re doing things right, it doesn’t mean that we get what we want when we want it. It doesn’t mean that our lives will be easy or fun all the time.
Incorrect. When we do everything right, we are lining things up to work out in the end. We’re showing our faith in ourselves and the future. We’re doing the footwork to move ourselves towards a destination.
The trick is to not lose faith. Listen, this isn’t easy. Continuing to do the things we know we need to do – in spite of what looks like a lack of progress – takes grit and resilience.
You know, I think the most frustrating thing in life is letting go of expectations. Maybe this resonates with you, too. Here’s how it goes for me.
I’m doing all the things I know to do: taking care of myself, doing all the things at work – networking, marketing, creating new programs – and it’s not turning out the way I want in the timeframe I want.
So, where’s the disconnect? It’s my expectation of how it should turn out. I learned a long time ago that an expectation is a premeditated disappointment.
Think about it. Do I really know how it should turn out, or do I only know how I want it to turn out?
Do the right thing
Here’s what I’ve learned about doing the right thing. I don’t get to choose the timeframe for things to work out. I have to deal with the struggles, setbacks, and scary things like running out of money, and keep on doing the next thing.
And, as I deal with the struggles, setbacks, and scary things that are between me and my destination, I grow; I become more resilient; I learn things I didn’t know I needed to learn.
The core right thing is to keep going. Perhaps doing the right thing – in spite of obstacles – so that I can get to my destination is really about testing my resolve about the destination.
The big mo
Come to think of it, my destination has shifted more than once based on my journey (aka pursuit of doing the right thing). And, each time I’ve tweaked my destination, the result has been better than I could have imagined. I could never have reached it had I insisted on my timetable.
Here’s the thing. Doing the right thing creates momentum – even if we can’t see it. It puts us in the right place at the right time in front of the right people. It sets us up to recognize our destination when we come across it.
Doing the right thing doesn’t mean we get what we want. It means we get what we need.