brooklyn bridge

Deciding to Respond… INSTEAD of React…

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Doctors tell us that Responding is positive and Reacting is negative.

How do they tell us that?

I was sick awhile ago and I went in for a check up. My doctor sent me over to Walgreens to pick up my medication, but before I left the office she said, “Take the meds, see how you feel, and come back and see me in a couple days.”

I went back to the doctor and she said, “Oh no, your body is having a bad Reaction to the medicine.”

Needless to say, she prescribed something else.  Before I left the office she said, ““Take the meds, see how you feel, and come back and see me in a couple days.  If the reaction is bad again, don’t wait to come in, CALL ME ASAP!”

I went back in and she said, “Oh good, your body is Responding to the treatment.”

Responding is positive, Reacting is negative.

You are going to encounter disappointment along the way in life.

It does not matter how perfectly you run your life, how committed you stay to your goals, or what level of success you reach, you will at some time or another experience disappointment.

What you do need to do when this happens is deal with it well and Respond. How many people do you know who deal with disappointment well?

How do you personally deal with disappointment?

Do you get angry?


Do you blow it off as though nothing happened (which can potentially be as dangerous as the other options)?

The way in which you cope with disappointments is one of the defining factors in how you will do in life, and how well and how quickly you will achieve your goals.

Don’t wallow for too long.(a little wallowing is okay)

Don’t be angry forever. (a little righteous anger is okay)

But you can’t stay there long.

Be proactive.

Get back up and seek out new opportunities. Find a positive outlook on the turn of events.

Say this to yourself, “What if everything that has happened… has happened FOR me instead of TO me?”

Likewise, do not act as if nothing has happened.

Not properly assimilating a disappointment can leave it to fester, and affect you later on down the road.

Always take a moment to address what has happened.

Then allow yourself to proactively move forward.

Denial is one of the most effective ways to inflict harm on yourself and your progress.

Repression hurts and festers and leads to a system-wide infection.

Don’t brush aside your experience so effectively that you have never even processed it.

Remember, there are lessons there to learn, lessons that you can use down the road as you progress toward your goals.

There’s a very moving story around the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

It’s a true testament of how a dedicated, committed human spirit and mind can be.

The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City is an engineering feat, but it is also a feat of human potential.

A very ingenious engineer named John Roebling conceived the idea of the bridge.

A lot of other experts in his field tossed off his idea. They told him there was no way he would be able to build such an ambitious project with the technologies of the day.

Roebling was not about to be dissuaded from his dream.

He enlisted the help of his similarly innovative son, Washington, and set out to design, plan, build, and complete that engineering masterpiece.

They got the financing in place, got their permits and city paperwork taken care of, and hired a crew to begin construction.

Only a few months into the project, a truly disastrous event took place.

An on-site accident killed Roebling and left his son a quadriplegic with brain damage severe enough to prevent him from communicating with words.

Immediately, plans were made to scrap the project; how could that ambitious project continue without the only two people who really understood how to execute it?

The thing is, Washington was not down for the count—not by a long shot.”

Even though he lost his ability to move and communicate through the spoken word, Washington’s faculties were all still in place.

More importantly, his dream of building the bridge and his devotion to that dream had not faded.

So what did he do?

He engineered a new way to communicate.

In cooperation with his very patient and caring wife, Washington developed a system for communicating through finger taps.

An idea hit him as he lay in his hospital bed, and he developed a code for communication.

He literally tapped out instructions for the construction of the bridge and oversaw the entire project from his bed for thirteen more years.

So you can see how the bridge is not only a miracle of engineering, but also a miracle of human ambition and commitment, too.

No matter how carefully we lead our lives, we are going to experience disappointment.

It is inevitable that we will see failure, grief, pain, and every type of disappointment come into our lives.

Since you are sure to see disappointments, make sure you keep an extra sharp eye out for joy.

Spend time with people you love and value: family, friends, mentors, anyone who brings you solace, love, and joy. These moments of balance and bliss will make you that much more prepared when disappointments arrive.


These Young Managers, Who Do They Think They Are?

“He doesn’t have a lot of experience managing people. Do you think he can do the job?”

I remember being a young manager of a small business.  I was 26 and most of the people working in the company were my senior.  Even though I was qualified for the position I still felt as though I didn’t have the respect that the position required.

This is a tough position for anyone to be in

So I started asking questions to some of my coworkers, and people I was responsible to manage.

Here’s a couple questions:

  • I’m feeling like you don’t listen to my insights when it comes to your project, is there something wrong with our relationship?
  • When I’m talking to you about your work I feel like you’re not listening, and to me it comes off a little disrespectful.  Is everything okay with me as your manager or is there something bothering you about me?

Some of them expressed frustration about being managed by someone so young that didn’t have years of experience.

Were their frustrations grounded? 

How effective are newly appointed managers compared to the older and more seasoned folks they replace?

I assumed veteran managers would prove to be the more effective leaders. But the data surprised me.

Younger leaders are better at six things.

Here’s what we found:

  1. Welcome change. The younger leaders embraced change. They did a great job of marketing their new ideas.

They had the courage to make difficult changes. Possibly their lack of experience caused them to be more optimistic about proposals for change.

It was as if they did not know that changes would be hard to make happen. They possessed the courage to take on significant changes and were more willing to be the champions of change projects.

  1. Inspiring behavior. Younger leaders knew how to get others energized and excited about accomplishing objectives.

They were able to inspire others to high levels of effort and production to a even greater degree than their more experienced counterparts. Their older colleagues tended to more often lead with “push” while they lead with “pull.”

  1. Receptive to Feedback. Young leaders were extremely open to feedback. They more frequently asked for feedback.

They wanted more extensive feedback regarding their performance, and they found ways to both digest and implement the feedback. Older leaders tend to be less willing to ask for and respond to feedback from colleagues.

  1. Continuous Improvement.  It may be the result of the fact that they have less invested in the past, but the younger leaders were more willing to challenge the status quo.

They were constantly looking for innovative ways to accomplish work more efficiently and with higher quality.

  1. Results Focused.  Young leaders will do everything possible to accomplish objectives.

They have a high need for achievement and will put every ounce of energy and effort they have into achieving their goals.

In contrast, when someone has been in an organization for a long period of time, it is easy to become complacent and to see the status-quo as sufficient.

  1. Elevate Goals.  The younger leaders were more willing to set stretch goals.

Some older leaders have learned to sandbag a goal so they don’t have to work too hard or run the risk of falling short of a goal.

Younger leaders were more prone to set stretch goals and inspire their team strive to achieve difficult tasks.

Every organization will need younger managers to fill in the vacancies left by their long-term predecessors. Understanding and leveraging the many strengths of this younger group creates a big opportunity, higher performance, and productivity.

While younger leaders have challenges that will require focused effort and leadership development to overcome, they bring tremendous assets to the organization.

They may likely be one of the most under recognized and under utilized resources in our organizations today.

Thanks for reading,



Contributors: Thomas Nestor, Forbes, Joseph Folkman