“One thing I learned the hard way is that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged.”  Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball, actress, model, comedian, and business woman was well acquainted with discouragement.   Born August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York.  She was the daughter of a telephone lineman.  At the age of four, she lost her father when he contracted typhoid fever.  The only thing she remembered about his death was . . .

. . . that “a bird was trapped in the house”.  Ever since that day, she suffered ornithophobia (an irrational fear of birds).  She also reported having experienced abuse and humiliation from her stepfather’s parents while being cared for by them.  As a young woman she suffered from rheumatic fever and rheumatoid arthritis, affecting her early career.  As to her very public failed marriage with Desi Arnaz, Lucy said, “I hate failure, and that divorce was a Number One failure in my eyes. It was the worst period of my life. Neither Desi nor I have been the same since, physically or mentally.” She later had a 27 year marriage and business partnership with standup comedian, Gary Morton.

What we remember about Lucille Ball are not those points of loss, fear, pain, and discouragement.  We remember her success.

To her own success, she said, “I’m not funny.  What I am is brave.”

We can all speak to the challenges in our lives – those low points of disappointment and discouragement, when we are faced with the choice to give up or to be brave.

Disappointment evokes an energy drop.  This is purposeful, because it causes us to slow down and take time to reflect.

So I’d like to offer a strategy for managing disappointment:

  • Stop and rest.   Avoid avoiding. Let yourself breathe.
  • Take time to reflect on what has happened. Awareness is empowerment. Take time to review what has happened, where you are, and where you want to be. Asking good questions will produce good results. Good questions will take you to action.
  • Avoid self-criticism or self-blame. These inner states will only diminish your energy and distract you from moving forward. We’ve all been told that shame is an effective motivator.   It is not – it is toxic. Motivation comes from hope and passion. This is to move to in-couragement.
  • Get support from those who care about you.  Avoid isolation.There’s a time for private reflection, and there’s a time to reach out for help. Both are important.
  • Write down the next smallest, specific step you are going take to move beyond the discouragement. Putting insight to paper makes it more real. We can improve only that which we can measure.

Motivator Dale Carnegie said, “Develop success from failures.  Discouragement and failure are two of he surest stepping stones to success.”

One last piece of wisdom from Lucille –

“Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.  You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”