Embrace the Opportunity to Learn

Welcome back to Part 2 of "What to do when things don't go your way." In Part 1 we talked about how let-downs actually present us new opportunities to move forward.

This week and next, I'll be wrapping up the "What to Do When Things Don't Go Your Way" series by sharing about how disappointment caused me to embrace new opportunities.

Disappointments annoyingly have the power point out what must change IN US.

Nobody LIKES being faced with the need to change. It hurts! But at some point you're gonna have to pick your pain: the pain of keeping your pride and repeating the same mistakes, or the pain of changing and growing.

When the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change, you're finally in a position to learn.

Learn to Manage Your Thoughts

I only consider myself experienced at a few things, and they most relate to failing- I know... lame. But failing has been one of the best things for me.

Years ago, someone I deeply respected (and had the power to help me develop) told me that they and a few other people had decided I just wasn't "cut out" to go after my dream. For YEARS I incessantly ruminated about that comment, and the power I thought they had to stop me from that dream. Thankfully my husband snapped me out of it, and a few encouraging friends reminded me that that simply wasn't true- that person wasn't in control, I WAS. I almost became someone who threw my future away because of one naysayer.

I had to learn to control my own negative thoughts, instead of letting them control me.

Learn to Focus on the Good

On this side of that disappointment, I actually come out stronger and more compassionate than had I NOT experienced it. I learned the power of words, the power of believing in the younger generations, and never to discount another person's dreams. It grew me.

There is a phenomenon researchers have discovered called PTSG (Post traumatic GROWTH syndrome)- the opposite of PTSD.

You can usually spot people with PTSG because despite their circumstances, they are some of the most JOYFUL people you'll ever meet!

People with PTGS don't just have a good personality; They've learned how to squash negative & destructive thoughts by chosing healthy ones.

How do you do that? By focusing on the good.

Philippians 4:8The Voice (VOICE)
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy.

Focus on the character of God, who's promised to be with you in every situation you face. Here are just a FEW of His characteristics straight out of the Bible: loving, faithful, provider, lifter of our heads, patient, gracious, strong, conquerer of our enemies, just, holy, pure, & able to do more than we can ask or imagine.

Whew! Now that's something lovely to meditate on! No matter WHAT our circumstance, God can help us find the good.

Learn to Communicate effectively

I am a person who has struggled to say what's on my mind or ask for help for fear of being seen as a "difficult" person. Unfortunately, this led to a lot of people treating me like a doormat. I used to hold back saying what I needed and wanted- I was afraid stick up for myself. As a result I realized an important lesson:

YOU must be your own biggest advocate! People can't help you if they don't know you need it.

Sometimes we just need to get the guts to speak up and be persistent.

On the other end of the spectrum... Some of us don't have a problem saying what we mean. Rather, we have a problem saying what we mean while still using kindness and humility. If you want things to go your way, you're gonna need to develop the gift of "sugar" (Ehem... sweetness). You can make requests, but honey if you're entitled when you ask, kiss that help goodbye.

Learn to... learn

It's really never too late to start learning something new. I just turned 34, and recently started devouring some online college courses, and am considering going back for a degree!

I'm at the place in life where if I want to do something I'm proud to put my name on, I simply have to learn more. I'm no longer content to skrimp by on the bare minimum needed to get the job done. Sometimes you can self teach, but other times you need a professional to take you to new depths.

Don't be too proud to admit you don't know it all.

The best leaders in this world aren't the best because they already know everything, they're the best because they're constantly learning and asking questions.

Things change and so must you. Don't get stuck in old logic.

Learn everything you can. Study. Search. Watch your thoughts. Say what you need. Humble yourself. You will never regret it.

Hoping today that if you're facing disappointment, you can embrace the opportunity to learn with me.