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Navigating Disappointment

The Pulse by TOGETHER 4

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
Nelson Mandela

"I lost in the final game ... I missed the cut."

This past weekend, I found myself anticipating a strong finish in a challenge I had set my sights on. As the final moments approached, things didn't go as planned—I fell short of my expectations.

First, Frustration.
Then, Disappointment.
Followed by, Shame.

It's human, right?!? 😑

However, a conversation with friends post-event shifted my perspective. We reflected on the journey, recognizing the successes along the way and how these experiences could propel us forward. This leveling reminded me of the importance of the second score—the score we get based on how we respond to the initial outcome.

In leadership, the ability to navigate disappointments isn't just a skill; it's an essential part of growth and innovation. As a leader you will face setbacks, yet what distinguishes great leaders is your response to these challenges.

John Maxwell said it this way: "The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure." Maxwell emphasizes the importance of how you handle failure, and the skill to transform failures into sources of growth.

The concept of "two scores" serves as a powerful framework: the first score is what you get, and the second, often more crucial score, is how you react and what you learn. This mindset can transform potential setbacks into catalysts.

This week, we’ll explore resources that help you manage and respond more effectively to disappointment. Each is hand-picked to help you focus on the second score following your next "miss". Let’s dive in! 


Resilient: An Unshakable Core

(video | words) – via Rick Hanson 

Mental resources like calm, grit, and courage kept us going when we were hit with freezing temperatures. And these are the same types of resources we all can use to help us cope with and push through obstacles in our own lives. But how do we cultivate them? The key is knowing how to turn passing experiences into lasting inner resources built into our brains. I teach this skill—called positive neuroplasticity.

Though it’s not a quick fix, you can change your brain for the better by working it the same way you would work a muscle. As you become more resilient in the face of life’s challenges, you move toward greater well-being and away from stress, worry, frustration, and hurt.

Winning vs. Succeeding

(video | words) – via John Wooden

When John Wooden returned from the Navy following World War II to become athletic director and head basketball coach at Indiana State Teachers College, his 1946–47 team received a post-season invitation to the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB) national play-offs. After the coach learned that Clarence Walker, a young African-American, second-string guard on his team, would not be allowed to participate in the tournament because of his race, Wooden declined the offer.

The college basketball world was stunned. (Remember, this is more than two decades before the Civil Rights Act was passed in America.) You can be sure that Wooden faced a considerable amount of criticism and pressure to cave in and go to the tournament.

{REWIND} Grit-Scaling 

(interview | audio) – via Angela Duckworth

Success looks different for everybody.

But author and psychologist Angela Duckworth has found that whether we achieve success, or even seek it, may hinge on a characteristic that she calls “grit.” Angela’s 2016 bestseller “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” quickly became a must-read for business leaders.

In this interview, she describes her unlikely path to scaling the impact of her work, through becoming a public intellectual. We hear why she studied commonalities among high-achieving individuals, her top advice for founders, and why grit alone is not enough.


Strategic Advisor

Hey 👋 - I'm Noah!
founder of TOGETHER 4

I help impact leaders build better. Think of me as your growth partner – part strategic advisor and part leadership coach. 

After spending 15+ years in-house designing growth plans and building teams, I’m now a consultant lending my experience and learnings to you, while building the community where impact leaders gather and grow.

I’ve led and advised growth at organizations such as Virtuous, Feathr, HubSpot, World Help, The Adventure Project, CauseVox, and many more.

Whether you’re on the frontlines fighting for change or building better tech and services to activate more – you’re an impact leader, and I’m here to help. Book your complimentary discovery session today.