Don’t let today’s disappointments cast a shadow on tomorrow’s dreams.
Disappointments are part of life, from big to little and everything in between. We think we have a hole in one, and the ball misses by a sliver, we think we have the new contract, and we are told we are a close, close second, we think a new friend is trustworthy and we find out, well not so much. As far as I can tell it is just a part of life. Furthermore, the more we strive for success, the bigger our dreams, the more likely we are to run into disappointments, because we are putting so much out there.
Many people will tell you that disappointment is related to expectation, if we expect to win, gain, receive and don’t we become disappointed. And I agree wholeheartedly. Their answer? Stop expecting. No expectation = no disappointment. I could not disagree more. Why? First of all, I don’t really get how it is possible. I think expecting to do well, dream big, love fully is part of a joyful life and yes that puts us at risk for disappointment but also sets us up for great joy fulfilment and love. So, I accept that disappointment is part of life. The key for me is not getting stuck in disappointment, for being stuck in disappointment looks and feels like discouragement or quitting and that in my books is not OK.
Here are 6 Tips for Moving On from Disappointment.
- Acknowledge your reality and the emotions that come with it. It is okay to be sad, frustrated, angry. Feel the feelings, talk, cry, write whatever works for you, but feel it, the sooner the better. You are allowed to be upset if you are disappointed. One of the great ironies of life is that by trying to hold back emotion we actually prolong the pain, feel it and it will pass. How you ever noticed, we can’t actually cry forever?
- Get some perspective from a trusted friend, family member or professional. A loving but objective perspective can really help you see things more clearly, which takes some if not all of the sting out of the disappointment.
- Do not take it personally. Whatever the disappointment is, it is not because of who you are as a person. If you are not chosen for a job, it is not because of who you are, there may be many reasons for the decision but it is not because of you.
- What can you change about the situation? Would you handle things differently next time? Can you have a belief shift? Can you see things from an objective point of view?
- Gratitude. Even in the midst of disappointment, there are always reasons to be grateful for what is. Experience gratitude in your heart and the disappointment will recede.
- Most important. Go back to the drawing board, a quaint and bit old fashioned term for getting back at it as soon as possible.
Let’s take a real-life example to see how this works.
One of my clients, Mary Lou (name changed to protect privacy) experienced a classic disappointment last week. Mary Lou, a beautiful, fit woman in her early 50’s dreams of building her yoga/coaching online business. She is hard working, determined and talented. Mary Lou called me to joyfully tell me about getting the perfect new client. Mary Lou was so excited and pleased. The next day Mary Lou received an e-mail from the client, saying she had changed her mind and was choosing another coach. Mary Lou was deeply disappointed, she called me so we could work through the situation —
First, she acknowledged her disappointment and accompanying feels of frustration, confusion and sadness. Second, she sought perspective. Interestingly, she used social media and posted the situation on a professional page. From this, she received lots of feedback and encouragement. Third, she refused to take it personally. She knows she is great at what she does and acknowledged that the client’s decision was not a reflection of Mary Lou. Fourth, she chose to change the way she was perceiving the client’s choice. She chose to believe the client was choosing the best coach for her and that other clients would choose Mary Lou. Next, she actively sought gratitude for specific good things in her life, making the disappointment feel smaller. Finally, the next day she continued with her work. She went back to the drawing board and in fact received a request from another client who wants to work with her. Mary Lou experienced disappointment, learned and moved on very quickly. She did not let her disappointment turn into being discouraged.
As always, I hope this guide is helpful. It is dedicated to my clients from whom I have learned so much!
All the best,
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Original article — “6 Tips to Handle Disappointment”