How to Deal with Goals You Don’t Reach

work-failure-2The winner for the Happy at Work Action Day contest is in. S/he will be announced at the end of this blog post.

I have a confession.

I wanted Happy at Work Action Day to be a big/huge/life changing success. I wanted hundreds of people to join in. Over 70% of office worker are unhappy. An easy win. Right?

This contest didn’t quite work out that way. I’ve been waiting and hoping that people would write in before I declared the winner, but it’s been two months and no companies have written in about their participation.

I feel like a failure.

The whole point of the action day was to get a whole bunch of people involved. I’m so passionate about work happiness that there are some days when I feel like I’m crawling out of my own skin. I just want to keep making work happiness the number one topic of all business conferences, meetings, and values.

There are some days when I’m working so hard that I feel like crying. My wife is in bed and I keep plugging away, just hoping to reach a few more people. I’m exhausted, but I can’t stop.

Now that I got that off my chest, it’s time to look at the positive.

7 Blogs linked back to the Happy at Work Action Day page.

They are:

- Evolve Beings

- Creative Chronicles

- GeekUniversalis

- Stacey Shipman

- Jungle of Life

- The Bold Life

- WellSphere

I want to thank them for participating. Without these blogs I wouldn’t be trying this again next year.

Yes, I will try this again. I’m not giving up that easily. I expect to entice 25 people to join in the Happy at Work Action Day in 2010.

Now if I’m on my 5th year and I don’t see much growth then maybe I’ll quit, but that 4 cycles away.

So I could really use your feedback. What worked/didn’t work about Happy at Work Action Day? How come you didn’t join in? How can it be improved for 2010?

Dealing With Failure

I know all of you have been in a position in which you wanted something really bad and failed. Maybe you applied to a great college and got rejected, you were fired from a job, started a project and it flopped, or wanted to go out with someone you had a crush on and it never happened.

You felt crushed, sad, maybe even pissed off.

This is good because if you didn’t care about the outcome, then you didn’t care about the project.

Here are the three steps that I use to deal with my failure and overcome it.


So you failed; don’t just move on to the next thing. By ignoring your feelings you are missing vital information that will help you. Take notes on your feelings.

Ask yourself:

How do I feel?

I feel a little empty and unpopular. I know that the Work Happy cause isn’t about popularity. I was just hoping that everyone I supported would support me back.

Why am I so hurt?

I felt hurt because I couldn’t get more people to join in. I wanted to be able to write back on this blog about how 112 blogs linked to me and 15 people wrote about how they applied the 4 rules to their work day and how wonderful it made them feel.

What did I do wrong?

I should have made the day more enticing. I didn’t give away any physical prizes that people could actually hold, like an HD Flip camera. Sometimes people need to have a tangible reason to want to help – although it would be nice if people joined in for the intrinsic value alone.

What went right?

I was given support by some great friends. They rallied behind my cause and helped reach new people. I also learned that making anything too complicated will scare people away.

Too many people forget the importance of reflection. We need to look at what went wrong, right and how to make it better next time.


Now that you know what went wrong, you need to figure out how to adjust for next time.

What do I need to do better next time?

I think that I need to make the day more about fun and other people. Very few people want to go up to a person and share a compliment because it’s Happy at Work Action Day. People want to play games and interact with each other.

I also think that the day was a little too broad. I need to give people more tools to participate. I can write a couple of posts about creating games and ways of rewarding each other.

By taking some time to adjust for the next project, you can get your creative juices flowing again. We need to kick start this motivation early, so we don’t lapse further into “I’m a loser and I shouldn’t have tried this in the first place” syndrome.

Make it Better Next Time

Once you know how you will adjust to your failure you can start planning to make the next attempt even bigger and better. I was afraid to give away prizes this first year because of the learning curve. What if the project failed after I had put $500 of my own money into it?

This was a poor way of looking at my project. I was setting myself up for a weak first year launch. I limited myself by not believing that it would be a success.

It taught me the value of really believing in what I’m trying to do. In order to make my goal a reality, I have to focus my mind on success. I can’t let myself believe that the first year won’t succeed.

I may not have reached all my goals, but I believe that I would have had more people on board with the action day, if I had offered more incentives to participate.

Reaching Your Goals

You must always be aware of how you are limiting yourself. Are you applying for the job and expecting to get it, or just giving it 80% effort? By not putting all of your effort into your project, you are sending signals that you are not worthy of reaching this goal.


Creative Chronicles won the free hour of consulting.

What It All Means

I did not create this day for money or fame. I created this project because I want people to enjoy more of their work and to feel successful. I realized that if I helped one person work happier, then all of my efforts were worth it. I want to help more people of course, but I have to think of this first year as a chance to make next year’s Happy at Work Action Day even better.

Thanks to everyone who read, participated, and thought about Happy at Work Action Day. Just be ready for next year – October 4th. It will be improved and even more helpful.

What do you think I could do to improve Happy at Work Action Day?

What would entice you to participate?

* Join over 400 people who have already subscribed to the FREE Happy at Work 10 Week eCourse. It will arrive in your inbox every Monday morning, when you need it the most. (Sign up is also in the top left corner)

* I always talk about the importance of reflection. Chris of the Art of Nonconformity does a wonderful of breaking his life lessons down. Check it out - Annual review 2009 life lessons.

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Image courtesy of Jenica26