(236_365) disappointment_fallen by Britt-kneeIt’s that time of year when bloggers offer up their Top 10 lists for 2012 and share their plans for 2013. If you’ve been reading my blog for the last 2 years, you know I prefer to save my plans for what’s to come until the Lunar New Year celebration.

Why? First, it suits my hectic schedule, and second, it gives me plenty of time to reflect on the year that’s drawing to a close. I can’t focus on looking forward until I’ve taken the time to look back. I have to ask myself:

  • What worked and why?
  • Did it work because I did everything right or because I got lucky and adapted to last minute changes?
  • What didn’t work and why?
  • Were my goals too lofty or did I fail to follow through?

Honesty and self-awareness are very important to me. If I don’t assess what went right versus what gang aft agley, I’m simply not being true to myself and my business will suffer for it.

So here it goes. The undoctored truth: 2012 was a bad year for me.

I’m speaking overall, of course. Every year has its peaks and valleys, but looking back, I have to admit the valleys far outnumbered the peaks this time around. I’m also applying this to both my professional and personal goals, so my perspective isn’t focused solely on my freelance aspirations of 2012 alone. As I said in January, the Year of the Dragon was the year of “go big or go home.” So I set my sights on some steep climbs and gave it all I had.

But I’d be remiss now if I ignored the fact that I didn’t reach most of those mountaintops. Sure, it’s left me a bit deflated here in the month of December, but I walk away from 2012 with this very important truth: My year was difficult and frustrating more than I possibly could’ve anticipated, but I’ll never regret trying to reach those mountaintops.

I recently attended a Meetup celebration for the Naturalistas in Nap, a Indianapolis group dedicated to educating and supporting women who choose to wear their naturally curly hair. Not only did I have a great time reconnecting with members I hadn’t seen in months, I had the chance to speak to one vibrant woman, Elaina, about the hardships I’ve juggled this year.

In kind, Elaina told me about her efforts to move her career forward and get her certification. It wasn’t easy and, in the end, she failed the exam. She said that even though she didn’t pass, she was focused on the most important thing: “At least I tried. It may not have worked out this time, but I’m glad I went for it.”

Keep Calm And Carry On by StefanyWhether she knew it or not, Elaina’s positive attitude knocked me out of my yo-yo state of self-pity and depression. She reminded me that not all basketballs make it through the hoop, but you’re guaranteed to miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. In that moment, I remembered that coping with disappointment is a fact of life if you ever desire to be more than you were yesterday. I also remembered how vital it is to have a strong support system in your life.

I’m still analyzing the ups and downs of 2012, but it’s no longer with a heavy heart. I fought like crazy to make the most of the opportunities presented to me, and I gritted my teeth and powered through tough times when all I wanted to do was give up. Now I’m coming out on the other side of the storm and I’m still walking with my head held high. I may be limping a bit, but I’m still walking. 🙂

I believe acknowledging your valleys only helps you appreciate those mountaintops even more when you finally reach them. You may also realize that this isn’t the peak you wanted to scale at this time anyway. As long as you’re honest with your goals, your life and yourself, you can rebuild. And you never know just how high you can truly climb until you face and overcome real disappointment.

Did you fall short of any major goals this year?
In what ways have you coped with your disappointment?