By Tom Shieh [linkedin.com/in/tomshieh, facebook.com/tomshieh]

Last year, I began working on a commercial real estate deal. I came up with this brilliant structure and offer that would have been a grand slam on the acquisition of a building. I had a large national bank renting out the 1st floor, the 2nd floor was already partially filled, the 3rd floor was completely occupied, and my business would come in to take over the 4th floor. Not only would I save money on rent, but I would generate cash flow, build equity, and immediately increase the value of the building. On top of that, our company had an agreement with the mayor of the city to provide us a tax incentive, among other potential deductions. I was extremely excited.

I flew out several times to meet with brokers, appraisers, bankers, inspectors, and other various parties involved. Over the course of a year, I had countless calls and conversations to get things set up properly. I meticulously submitted all the necessary paperwork and jumped through all the necessary hoops.

Finally, the day came last week to sign the official agreement. To my disappointment, things did not work out. I tried my best with various approaches, but the seller didn’t sign when it was time to execute. An entire year’s worth of work went down the drain, with no building to show for it.

Have you ever had life situations work out that way? “If only … I could have, I should have, I would have.” It can be such a deflating feeling. However, I’m truly convinced that sometimes not getting what I want is good for me. As a father of three young children, I can certainly attest to this when they ask for ice cream and candy every day.

Reflecting on my situation during a run this week, I came up with 10 reasons why not getting what we want is exactly what we need.

1) There’s something greater and better in store. I’m blessed, protected, and highly favored.
2) This situation teaches me patience and the value of proper timing.
3) The temporary setback strengthens my perseverance; it tests my desires.
4) This challenges me to be better equipped.
5) Disappointment breaks my story and pattern of self-reference as I evaluate the bigger picture.
6) It provides me the freedom to detach from material things, with the willingness to change. I can trust a greater power and higher source of wisdom for all that I need.
7) Challenges reveal our true character and integrity in our response. Can we act positively and maturely when things don’t go our way?
8) People are watching. This situation provides an example and testimony for others on how I move forward from disappointment.
9) Struggle triggers deep reflection, prayer, and pondering – the seeds of greatness.
10) Lastly, this develops my muscles of gratitude in realization that I lack nothing for genuine joy.

What about you?

Is life how you had imagined it would be?
Do you feel like you have “failed” time and time again?
How are you still clinging to your dreams?
Whatever your answers are to those questions, you are not alone. Sometimes not getting what we want is exactly what we need. Let’s learn to see our setbacks differently. Keep our heads up and keep moving forward!

As Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”