Maybe you didn’t put all your eggs in this one basket, and maybe you knew better than to hang all your hopes on this one deal. But you were really hoping this one would go your way. You worked hard. You analyzed all the angles. You invested energy, money and emotion in this one. Turns out, your ship didn’t come in. You’re disappointed and down. This is not the story you hoped to tell.
Keep plugging along? Go back to the drawing board? Change directions?
Factors Out Of Our Control
Matt Miles was in the middle of the best cotton season he had seen in a while. His fields were about a month away from harvesting when the weather took an unseasonably cool, wet turn. August, which is typically the hottest and driest month of the year, brought 14 consecutive days of rainy, cloudy weather to southeast Arkansas. There was nothing Matt could do about it and certainly no way to anticipate the anomaly.
While we all learn in elementary school that plants need water and sun to thrive, farmers know first-hand the effects of minor changes in the weather. The young cotton bolls on Matt’s plants were at an early stage of development that requires consecutive hot, sunny days to expand into the full fluffy cotton that can be used in so many products. Instead, there was damp, cool weather that stalled the bolls’ development and even mold and rot on the stem. Matt lost 30-40% of his cotton. In just a few short weeks, his year changed.
Matt’s response: Grateful and Hopeful. Of course he is disappointed. He had invested the same time, money and energy as always into the 2016 crop and had high hopes for a big harvest. But he is also grateful for the excellent crop he had on his farm that was able to withstand the unpredictable weather. And hopeful because he knows what it means to recover and “farm through” difficult years.
This seasoned farmer has known disappointment like this before. He's a courageous leader who has surrounded himself with good financial and scientific counsel. Matt understands that a farming operation is not defined by one year: not one good year or one bad year. He has the perspective of time that has taught him to look at a 5-10 year business model to determine success.
Matt’s a fighter. He has been all his life. He will survive. He will trust. He will get back on the horse and plant again next year.
What about you? How do you respond to disappointment? Maybe you throw a tantrum or reach for your favorite comfort food or binge-watch Netflix. Maybe you run it off at the gym or give yourself a timeout to regroup. Whatever the strategy, we all must figure out how to push through disappointing seasons. It’s often in these hard times that we remember our priorities and we rehearse the truth that it’s our response to our struggles that strengthens us not our avoidance of them. That's the unexpected joy of maturity.