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Women World Leaders' Podcast

Dec 29, 2023

During this podcast, host Tawana Lowery shares three important strategies that will help us overcome disappointment (regardless of the circumstances) AND … Keep our Joy!!

And as the new year approaches, let these strategies arm you with a game plan to transcend the disappointment traps that might arise.






How to Overcome Disappointment and Keep Your Joy

By Tawana Lowery (excerpts taken from her upcoming book)


1.     The Holiday Seasons is typically a time for celebrating with friends and loved ones.


2.     But it can also present the greatest opportunity to experience the pain of Disappointment…


·        Though we might not want to readily admit it…

·        Disappointment is big part of life…  

·        Disappointment hurts and stings…

·        Especially when it involves relationships.

·        But most of all… disappointment steals our joy.



3.     During this Podcast, I want to review 3 Strategies that will help us Overcome Disappointment (regardless of the circumstances) AND … Keep our Joy!!


4.     And as the new year approaches, I believe these strategies will arm you with a game plan to Transcend the Disappointment Traps that might arise.




5.     Like you… I’ve had numerous disappointing experiences.

·        But one that stands out happened when I was only 8 years old.

·        And it happened during the holiday season.


6.     In those days we still called it a Christmas Party.


7.     Second only to the last day of school, it was the most anticipated day of the entire year.


8.     Each hallway and classroom was covered with beautiful decorations.


9.     And the tantalizing aroma of Christmas Cookies hung like a thick fog, consuming every corner of every room.


10. Weeks of anticipation followed by hours of celebration concluded with the most exciting part of the day.


·        The Student Gift Exchange!


11. The ritual consisted of the teacher passing out each gift (in a very orderly fashion of course).


12. After what seemed a lifetime, she found the present with my name on it.


13. As she approached my desk, my exuberance quickly devolved into disappointment!



14.  Because my sweet teacher wasn’t holding a beautifully wrapped gift with a shiny bow…. It was nothing of the sort!


·        Instead, she was carrying what appeared to be a ball of aluminum foil….


15. With an awkward wince of embarrassment, she placed the horrifying blob on my desk.  


16. Well…. my initial reaction was total confusion. Surely my name was not on THAT.


17.  It wasn’t even a present…. Seriously… who in their right mind would give a ball of crumpled aluminum foil as a Christmas gift?


18. Fighting back the crocodile tears, I quickly snatched it off my desk and placed it in my lap… trying to remain expressionless.



19. As I clutched it tightly, in an effort to hide the evidence, I could feel that something was wrapped inside.


20. I thought… “Should I open it now or wait until I get home?”


21. The thoughts were racing back and forth.

22. But soon my 8 year old curiosity took control.


23. With eyes straight ahead and emotions at bay, I slowly pushed back the foil with my fingertips.


·        That’s when embarrassment gave way to complete bewilderment.


24. Inside the crumpled ball of foil was a small Plastic Donkey.


·        It was the kind of humble little grey burrow you might see in a Nativity Scene.

·        It had very sad eyes and a bowed head.


25. A donkey! A plastic donkey! What on earth can you do with a plastic donkey?

·        Just to add insult to injury, it wasn’t even new.


26. As I gazed at this unimaginable nightmare… My mind quickly recalled my shopping trip from the previous week.



27. I thought about the time I invested selecting the perfect gift for my classmate.


·        It was wrapped with tender care, by yours truly.

·        Then finished to perfection with a lovely bow!

·        Yet despite my tireless efforts, this is what I get in return?


28. You know… that event happened more than 40 years ago, and yet the disappointment I experienced is branded in my memory.




So… here’s the point of the story?

29. Sometimes we give our very best to people and circumstances only to receive a Plastic Donkey in return.


30. Sometimes situations over which we have no control cause embarrassment and heartache, leaving us with a stomach full of disappointment and let-down.



31. But… What if we could overcome those deflated emotions and bounce back with a fervent determination to Keep our Joy?


·        That’s what these 3 Principles will help you achieve.

The first Principle is…. “Keep it in Perspective.”

1.     A few days after the Christmas party, my mother learned the details behind the gift I had received.


·        My classmate, Teresa and her family were struggling.  

·        Her father had lost his job, and her mom was fighting a serious illness.

·        Teresa’s family had no money and no insurance for medical expenses.

·        In fact, the community was providing money for food and other basic needs.

·        No doubt, they were facing a very bleak holiday season.



2.     My mom also explained how that little plastic donkey was part of their family Nativity Scene.


·        And it just so happened, the little sad burrow was Teresa’s favorite character piece.


·        In actuality, Teresa gave me something very near and dear to her heart.


·        She gave the best she had to offer. You might even say her gift was sacrificial… sort of like the offering of the Widows Mite in the Bible.

3.     Although my hurt from the disappointment was real, learning more about Teresa’s situation shed new light on the entire event.


·        It helped me view it from a higher perspective.

·        As a result, my disappointed heart was transformed into a heart of compassion.

·        Keeping it in perspective gave me the emotional strength to keep my joy.



The second Principle for Keeping our Joy is…

“Keep Giving Your Best.”


1.     When we returned to school after the holidays…  I decided to give Teresa what she had given me.


·        She gave me her best. How could I do any less?


2.     For the remainder of the school year, I poured into her life as much as possible.


·        I helped her with homework so she could make better grades.

·        We sat together at lunch so she wouldn’t be alone.

·        Because we were the same size, I gave her some of my clothes and shoes.


3.     Teresa and Tawana became best buds, and we both excelled because of it.


4.     She discovered there was a great student on the inside with the ability to learn and grow.


5.     I discovered leadership abilities that allowed me to inspire others to excel.   

6.     Staying true to your core values in the midst of the pain, is vital for overcoming disappointment.


·        That includes being intentional to give your best regardless of what other don’t give you.




7.     Think about it like this…

·        If you want to keep your joy, then be sure to engage in activities that set you up to achieve it.


8.     After all, it’s very difficult to give your best while experiencing sadness at the same time.



Let’s wrap this up with the third Principle for Keeping our Joy which is to… “Keep Looking for the Good.”


1.     On one of the coldest days of the year, I got caught in a huge traffic jam on the way to have my car heater repaired.


2.     The temperature was 35 degrees outside and only slightly warmer inside.


·        Not exactly the best day to be stuck in traffic with no heat.


3.     But while I was sitting in my very frigid car, staring at a endless line of traffic, it brought to light another important truth about overcoming disappointment…

·        There’s a big difference between being cold and being left out in the cold.  


·        The first is simply an unpleasant circumstance of life. The second is a distressing place in life.



4.      In the same way, there’s a big difference in being disappointed with a temporary situation of life and being disappointed with life in general.


·        Most disappointments we encounter are nothing more than temporary unpleasant interludes between other normal events.


·        But problems arise when we allow the occasional let downs of life to create a fatalistic attitude towards life.  


5.     I’ve discovered the most effective way to avoid this pitfall is to maintain a posture of gratitude while you’re in a disappointment.


6.     Shivering in the car that morning, my choices were very simple. Either complain and grumble or be thankful and humble.


·        I chose to wrap my mind in a warm blanket of gratitude.

·        I decided to focus on the long list of things I was thankful for.



7.      Of course, I didn’t relish sitting in a cold car during a two hour traffic jam.

·        But, I couldn’t change it.

·        And, honestly, the situation could have been much worse.


8.     So I began to recite (out loud) all I was grateful for.

·        Things like warm clothes, warm socks and boots,

·        a full tank of gas,

·        a semi-hot cup of coffee,

·        good health,

·        money in the bank,

·        friends and family who loved me,

·        and so on and so on. 


9.     As I focused more and more on the good, my stress began to dissipate.

·        I became less focused on what was trying to steal my joy and more centered on what would revive it.



10. I believe when we form the habit of looking for the good in the “not so good” we actually Teach our Minds to be Joyful.       




1.    I’m not suggesting we should never admit or feel Disappointment.


2.    It’s part of life because ….


a.      We live in a fallen world full of fallen people doing fallen things.


3.    But I am suggesting that we use the Plastic Donkey’s of life as a reminder…  

To Keep it in Perspective,

To Keep Giving our Best and

To Keep Looking for the Good.


4.    When we do so… we Keep our hearts and minds positioned to KEEP our JOY (during the holidays and throughout the year).




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