You had great expectations, but you fell short. Now what? How do you let go of expectations and regain your confidence?

Five steps for letting go of expectations and getting your confidence back. (Tweet That)

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If you missed part one yesterday, check it out here.

As promised yesterday, today I give you my five steps for letting go of expectations and getting your confidence back.

  1. Give yourself grace. Be nice to yourself. Don’t call yourself a name or tell others how pathetic you are. Talk to yourself as you would a hurting friend. It really is going to be OK.
  2. Remember: Perfection is not the goal. For at least this brief moment, remind yourself that perfection is not the goal. Whether its golf, sales, or writing blog posts, not every effort is going to be your best. There are too many variables. For just a moment, remember that.
  3. Remind yourself: Failure is not the enemy. Learn from failure. It truly is a building block to success. Use it.
  4. See the opportunity to recover. When I missed a shot in golf, it (usually) left an opportunity to recover. The fact is that I could be sixty feet from the hole in a bunker and my opponent could be ten feet from the hole on the green and I still have a good chance to tie him and a small chance to beat him on the hole. In other words, look at the bright side and look for a chance to redeem yourself.
  5. Get back on track. Your great memories and confidence didn’t work last time? Well…use them again. It’s still a good idea to recall memories and build confidence. So don’t quit doing the right things just because they didn’t work one time. Get back on track.

You’ll notice that it is a progression that goes the opposite of what you normally would think. It goes from the outside-in.

The first part is to simply not make it worse. Don’t be mean to yourself. That is external.

Then you move inside, remembering your goals, embracing failure, seeing opportunities, and then getting your inner confidence back.

Remember these five steps the next time you need to let go of the expectations you built and get your swagger back.

What would you add to this list?


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15 thoughts on “How to Let Go of Expectations & Get Your Confidence Back After Defeat

  1. Let's Grow Leaders says:

    It’s funny, I’m working on a similar post on compassion for yourself. I find I’m easier to cut others slack than myself.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Absolutely. The hardest person to forgive is usually yourself.

  2. Dan Erickson says:

    Not only is failure not the enemy, as long as you attempted to succeed I don’t believe you failed. You learned.

  3. Lily Kreitinger says:

    It’s easy to tell others that failure is not fatal and that everything will be OK. Not so much when we’re talking to ourselves. If you’re good at everything you do, then all you do is average. My daughter has been reading books on butterflies. The struggle they go through to get out of their cocoon is what enables them to strengthen their wings and fly. There is no victory without struggle.

    1. Steve Pate says:

      nice picture you just painted. I had a similar thought yesterday, the last 5 days we had 6 inches of rain and some times snow, but yesterday was the first day of sun shine and the storm left some incredible beauty, with snow top mountains, fall colors, bright blue sky, and deep colors of green from the lawn! With out the storm, I wouldn’t have appreciated the beauty around me.

      1. Matt McWilliams says:

        Pictures please 🙂

        That sounds like a beautiful scene and a great analogy from both you and @lilykreitinger:disqus

      2. Jon Stolpe says:

        Steve, Send some rain to the east coast. We had a rainy summer, but the local creeks and rivers are definitely running low.

  4. Zech Newman says:

    Getting back on track is what helps me the most. Like a boxer it is the getting back up of the mat. Focused on the next step, the next horizon, or the next shot. Good post Matt.

  5. Steve Pate says:

    out of the five number one was/is the hardest for me. That’s were the game on golf and my Dad came in to help me. It’s all in my head. As soon I start calling my self names, my confidence goes way down really fast.

    If you need to be nice to some one you might as well start with you then others. Lets face it, its tough to be nice to some one else if your punching your self in the head.

    I would add, take a minute to breath/pray and think of a positive step to move forward and then do it to start building positive momentum.

    Thanks Matt for another great week of post!

  6. Jon Stolpe says:

    Celebrate a potential new direction. Sometimes unmet expectations are simply a call to move in a different direction. By God’s grace, I have seen this as I have been given opportunities to empathize with others and encourage others who might be facing challenges that are similar to the ones I faced when my initial expectations were shattered. There is HOPE even when expectations fail us. We must keep that in mind.

  7. Tom Dixon says:

    Aiming for perfect is what held me back from blogging until I got into a groove about a year ago. My posts still aren’t perfect, but I see improvement and that works for me. Great reminders.

  8. Paige Gordon II says:

    “So don’t quit doing the right things just because they didn’t work one time”
    Way to hit the nail on the head Matt! That is exactly the problem I have been dealing with recently, only I couldn’t define it until now. I’ve been doing the right things and not seen any results so I decided to give up on them – and i’ve lost my swagger… Time to get back in the saddle and start going again!

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      “Time to get back in the saddle and start going again!”

      Cowboy up Paige!

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