Handling Disappointment

Handling disappointment

“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” — Zig Ziglar

Unhappy news and disappointments are the given right of being human.  Odds are if you are breathing you will have inevitably experienced a major disappointment in your life.  In fact, if you google disappointment you will come up with sites that contain 100+ quotes on disappointment.    There’s disappointment in relationships, not getting the job you want, health issues, losing something such as a deal or job, children not being as motivated as we want them to be or far worse disappointments such as losing someone or something you love.  The list is endless.

Recently I experienced two disappointments in my life, one, not getting an opportunity that I worked hard for and really wanted and two, losing a good friend and coworker.   When you dissect disappointment, what you realize is that it’s built on the foundation of expectations. The core of disappointment is negative thoughts or emotions caused by experiencing something that didn’t go as planned. 

That means we need to check whether our expectations are reasonable. Some disappointments leave you with minor cuts, bruised egos and others leave gaping holes in your soul as you realize your life will not be the same. The degree to which you experience disappointment depends on the situation. How you handle disappointment is up to you.  If you can get in the habit of asking 2 questions, you will create a lifetime of learning that will create growth and catapult you into your best self:

  1. What am I to learn from this situation?
  2. How can I make the best of it.

Additional steps to help you deal with disappointment

  1.  Face the truth of the situation and ask the following questions.  These questions create awareness and a positive mindset. This will allow you to move forward on solving the problem and avoid getting stuck.
    •  What am I to learn from this situation?  Is there a chance to learn new skills, deepen your relationships, grow as a person or pursue other opportunities?   
    • How can I make the most of this? Don’t blame anyone as it will not serve you in the end.   Things are often not as bad as they seem and if they are, realize this is a bad moment, not a bad life.  Recognize that all things will pass. When one door closes, another opens…look for the open doors.
  2.  Allow yourself to mourn and be kind to yourself.  Give yourself time and space to mourn. Take care of yourself with exercise and eating right.   There is a gap between how you wanted things to turn out and how they actually did which leads to sadness and grief.   Take time to connect to your feelings and deepest thoughts and lose any judgment. This will enable you to let go and move forward.     Know that you always have choices and the skills to deal with whatever the situation is. Whether it is lost dreams or a loss of someone/something you love.  
  3.  Be willing to try a different approach.  If what you are doing isn’t working, do something different.   Getting what you want means moving out of your comfort zone and tolerating loss and uncertainty.
  4.  Keep showing up.  Persistence and determination are of just as important for success as intelligence.  Check out the book on Grit by Angela Duckworth…. Grit predicts success over and above the measure of talent or intelligence.

While we cannot always control the disappointments that come our way, we can make decisions on how we handle what may be defining moments in our lives in a way that will allow us to grow and mitigate the pain and negative impact on our lives.  

Are you ready to learn how to move past disappointment in your business and as a leader? Let’s talk! We are SPEARity, a local Milwaukee leadership coaching firm that specializes in business coaching, executive coaching, and leadership development training.

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