Whether we’ve let ourselves or someone else down, few feelings hit us as hard as disappointment. While it may be easy to wallow in these thoughts and fears, disappointment can be a truly powerful motivator. The anxiety of letting others down or the anger you feel when you know you haven’t achieved your best can help fuel your very own success story. Take Chuck Zerambo for example, he’s managed to transform disappointments from both his family and from himself into a powerful motivator for achieving his own goals and launching his own brand.
If you’ve ever had the sinking feeling that you weren’t supposed to be successful, you’re not alone. “I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and sometimes disappointment can fuel your success,” Zerambo explains. Growing up in a blue-collar family, Zerambo reflects that he didn’t follow the beaten path of his community. Much to the joy of his family, rather than follow his father’s footsteps and become a machinist, Zerambo worked to get into college. However, after attending a career fair, the young Zerambo–a self-described “gear head”– realized his true passion was in the automotive industry, a track that would pull him from a traditional college.
When his mother expressed her disappointment that her son would be attending automotive school, Zerambo had his first taste of that bitter feeling. Rather than become discouraged and resentful, Zerambo used his mother’s disappointment to motivate him to achieve more. He promised himself he would transform disappointments into successes when he promised his mother he wouldn’t let her down. “I promise you,” he said to his mother, “that I’m going to make a difference…I promise you I will be that kid in your family that gets his degree.”
“Because I was fueled by disappointment,” Zerambo explains, “I was fueled by ‘I’m not gonna let somebody down.’ When somebody sees something in you, you really don’t want to let that person down.” For many of us, seeing someone who has high expectations of you lose even just a little faith can be devastating. While we could ride that paralyzing sense of disappointment into a downward spiral of failure, Zerambo shows it is far more rewarding and far easier than we think to turn that disappointment into our very own success stories.
Vowing to make a difference in his industry and refusing to let past disappointments define him, Zerambo eagerly launched into his passion, working in “almost every department in the automotive [industry] from washing vehicles to running multi-bay large shop operations.” Still, Zerambo knew that he could achieve more.