When I was a kid, one of the most important motivations with parents was not to disappoint. It the wasn’t fear of reprisal if you got into trouble, did something wrong or underperformed. It was something much worse. They would be ‘disappointed’. Letting them down, letting yourself down; it was the crushing weight of potential disappointment that made me toe the line or do my best.

The D-Word was a very powerful motivation and a force for good in my upbringing. I didn’t want people I respected to be disappointed. In me, or for me.

Disappointment is still a motivating force now. I went to see my physio about a month ago for my troublesome calf that I thought I’d fixed with my change in running style, but no. She gave me a series of core-strengthening exercises to do 3 times a week before I saw her again four weeks later. They were very hard work, bordering on the murderous at times. I exaggerate, but not too much. I didn’t want to go to the gym and do them, but I did, mainly because I knew she’d be disappointed if I’d not kept my side of the bargain and put the effort in.

When there’s a level of respect on both sides, the potential disappointment that one party will feel when the other party hasn’t made the effort is a strong incentive for the first party to do the work.

The D-Word is a word not used lightly, and carries much weight.

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