I had one of the biggest disappointments of my life last weekend.
My daughter is on a high-level competitive cheer team. They have been undefeated all season winning 5 Grand Championships and breaking international records with the highest score in the history of the sport.
This past weekend, they went into the Worlds competition with the expectation to win first place. Unfortunately, due to a fluke “slip of the foot” in the last 20 seconds, they lost their world championship title.
The disappointment was unbearable for these kids. Many of them had aged out of the sport and it was there final year to achieve this goal. They were heartbroken, crying for hours in disbelief. I cried with them.
As their motivational coach, they were looking to me to help them make sense of it and to help them recover from their loss. I was praying for answers.
In my upcoming book, Shatterproof, I talk about the 5 principles for overcoming adversity. The first one is “Give your pain a purpose”. I searched for a purpose for this loss and nothing was coming forward. It made no sense at all.
What do we do when we can’t find a purpose for the intense pain we are feeling? When nothing makes sense and all that we are left with is emptiness?
We make one up.
I created a purpose for them to grab onto that would help them hold their head up high.
I told them that the world would love them even more now. They made an impact on the sport that no other team had done. Now that they lost, the entire world would rally around them and lift them up. And that is exactly what happened.
There were thousands tweets from all over the globe from Japan to Australia to Mexico. Emotional love notes from kids whose lives were changed by this team.
The team who won first place got no attention at all. They were speaking negatively about us trying to redirect the attention to themselves, but it didn’t work. Our team was lifted to the sky. We were named “The People’s Champions”.
The outpouring of support was overwhelming and healing. The kids started feeling as if they finished on top.
They rose to a new level of stardom and became a model on how to handle adversity with grace.
I truly believe this would not have happened if they had gotten first place. They were even more inspiring because they lost.
When you give your pain a purpose, a new possibility is created. You see something that you didn’t see before. You begin to see the bigger picture.
By gaining a deeper understanding of your pain and how it can serve you on your path, you are armed with new strength and power. You break free of the limitations of disappointment, sadness and grief.
Disappointment happens to each of us. Sometimes we win and sometimes we learn.
If you look closely, and be patient, your biggest breakthrough will follow your biggest disappointment.
You have to search for the silver lining. You have to have faith that everything happens for a reason and ultimately for your highest good.
Every single thing that happens in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come. Your job is to shake off the sadness and step into a positive place where you feel hopeful about the future.
You can make it through anything. You can bounce back and bounce higher than ever before. Some of the best days of your life haven’t even happened yet.
When life knocks you down, simply get up, dust yourself off and keep going.