Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

March 26, 2012

What To Do When You Disappoint The People You Care About.

It’s evitable. You are going to disappoint people that you really care about. Friends, partners, clients. It’s going to happen.

And it’s usually not a huge mistake.

It’s a series of small annoying behaviors that, if not addressed properly, can lead to the people you care about being more than just disappointed.

Soon they’re angry and unforgiving.

And that means rebuilding the relationship is close to impossible. Even if you patch things up they don’t really ever forget your poor behavior.

So it’s important that you understand how to behave when you disappoint the people you care about.

You can’t just run and hide. That doesn’t work.

Neither does hoping that they’ll forget about it. That is shamefully short of the mark.

You need to be radical in how you react — knowing that your simmering relationships are on the verge of a volcanic eruption. This is not the time for small measures.

So what should you do?

Here are a few steps to get you headed in the right direction.

  1. Be aware why people around you are disappointed in you. Take note of both who and why.
  2. Take a moment to breathe. Reflect. Don’t let your emotions dictate your immediate actions.  Those reactions will just hurt you.
  3. Accept responsibility. Not for the disappointment alone — for your behavior along the way. Look at what you have done and admit your shortcomings (to yourself first).
  4. Make an unconditional, absolute apology. Don’t wiggle or waggle or be cute.  Just say “I am sorry.”
  5. Improve your performance. Look at where things went wrong and then be proactive about making sure those things don’t happen again. Actively create habits that drive mastery.
  6. Share your goals for improvement with the people that you have disappointed.  Let them know where and how and why you are working to be a better person. And keep yourself honest. Every once in a while stop and think about your improvement. Are you getting better? Or are you just better at pretending like nothing is wrong?
  7. Get help with skills that are hard to master. You might need a coach to help you fix you.  So get one.  Every super star has an amazing group of people helping them to take their game to the next level.
  8. Repeat as often as necessary.  At first, the cycle of improvement is stiff and awkward, but the more you work on improving, the more natural it becomes. And the better you’ll become.

Think about how you feel when people you care about disappoint you.  How do you feel?

It matters what you do.

You know that already.  Because you know how you feel when you are disappointed and the person that did it doesn’t seem to care at all.

It’s a wound that stays open even if you confront them about it.  It’s a broken relationship that might never heal.

Don’t be too proud or fearful to heal the hurts you cause.

People who care about you are too valuable a resource to just throw away.

Start healing.  Start with you.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.