To end an undefeated season, my former high school football team (Manalapan, NJ) played in the Central Jersey state sectional final last night.  This was their second consecutive year making the finals.  This was their second consecutive year coming up short.

Clearly, everyone was disappointed…and disappointment HURTS!  (We really thought this would be the year that we brought home our first state championship.)

What do you say to a person who’s made tremendous sacrifices to achieve a goal and now has to deal with the pain and disappointment of coming up short?

Here’s my advice:

1. CONGRATULATE THEM for taking the risk of setting such a big goal.

Understand this: Disappointment is the result of unmet expectations.

Most people set low expectations, or have none at all, to avoid the pain of disappointment.  They refuse to take the risk of failure.  Any time you have the audacity to believe you can achieve something big, you have already set yourself apart from most of your fellow human beings.

2. THANK THEM for having the courage to pursue such a big goal.

Lots of people WANT to achieve big things, but few are willing to put in the work to achieve that goal.  While everyone else is chillin, these special individuals were making the necessary sacrifices and commitments necessary to get them closer to their goal.

3. ENCOURAGE THEM to set some new, big goals to pursue.

Once the tears have dried, and the time is right, tell them it’s time to get back on the horse.  They can either try again to achieve the goal(s) that just eluded them.  Or, if that’s not possible, they can take the wisdom acquired from their past experience and use it to navigate their way to their new goal.

Napoleon Hill is credited for saying, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.”

Don’t stop setting and going after specific, lofty goals.

Keep moving forward.  Keep WINNING!