Dealing with Dissapointment

5 Steps that accelerate performance while dealing with disappointment

Anyone who is up to big things in life weather its shooting high the corporate world or being an entrepreneur, inevitably spend much of their time dealing with two dominant situations. Uncertainty and disappointment. It’s inevitable that while in the growth and development stage of any idea or career progression these two situations will form the endless carousel of emotion that we need to deal with. I would go as far to say that it makes up 80% of the total experience of being an Executive or Entrepreneur. Which makes the 20% of the time when you are not dealing with these two emotions so euphoric.

Like anyone else who has ever played a big game in life or in business I am not immune to that disappointment and it remains the dominant theme I spend much of my time working on with clients in my coaching practice, to the point where I have developed simple processes to thrive in uncertainty and move through stages of disappointment with lightning efficiency. They are skills I teach with regularity and have honed over years of practice as I have dealt with disappointment and assisted clients to extract value from those situations.

It is a simple 5 Step Process and I encourage you to print it out, make it into a fun colourful chart and post it on your wall or fridge whenever you are dealing with disappointment.

1) Manage Your Emotional State: disappointment generally arises from an unexpected set of circumstances or turn of events. You need to manage your emotional reaction first and foremost. It’s important to allow yourself time to feel so you can figure out what the event means to you. Making important decisions at this point or to take, action on those feelings is a sub optimal approach to achieving what you ultimately desire. It may take a few hours or days for you to reach a calmer state of mind. Use Gratitude as a way of changing your emotional state when you need to perform while feeling these emotions. You cannot experience Gratitude and Disappointment at the same, time nor do you have the luxury to wallow in your feelings for 24 hours a day while you are processing your feelings. Make Gratitude your foundation during this time to create a space for performance while also ensuring you set time aside to sit with your feelings.

2) Don’t take in personally: many of us are conditioned from an early age to attribute life events to our own personal failings. We often head down the path of believing “we deserved it” or “we attracted this to ourselves” or “its because we are not good enough” or “we are out of our depth.” The reality is life will simply do what it does, whether you are there or not. In this instance , you happened to be present during the event.
The pitfall in taking something personally, is it unnecessarily narrows your point of view and prevents you from acquiring the wisdom available through the event that has occurred. By reinforcing to yourself that what has happened “is not about you” its just life you create the space to see things from a broader perspective. The ultimate reality is you “ don’t know” why this occurred and often events in our life are multi-dimensional and can’t be broken down into black and white. If you do this, you make yourself available to get the real understanding from the situation and you will eventually discover more about yourself and life as you continue to reflect on the situation.

3) Review Expectations: When you reflect on your expectations around the event, you will get closer to a true understanding of the event and your roll in it. This is where the power of taking responsibility is most powerful. Disappointment ultimately arises from an unmet expectation. This is where the analysis of the situation should be focused.

4) Take a Big Picture Perspective: The ability to self-reflect is the essence of good mental health. Its beneficial to take the time to explore this event, do a thorough analysis of it from multiple dimensions and in particular to get complete for yourself what this event meant to you and what it has taught you about life. I have found this process is best undertaken with someone else. Don’t feel ashamed to reach out to a therapist, coach or mentor, someone who really listens and has your best interests at heart. You will recover faster, gain insights you may not be able to gain on your own or with loved ones.

 5) Try again or try another tack: Once you have gone through the first four steps its time to make some important decisions. It may be genuinely possible to give things another go. If it is then you should. Alternatively, the wisest course of action may be to pivot and try another course of action. Its important to not rush to this step. You need to give yourself time to work through steps 1-4. There are far more opportunities out there than there are dead ends.

This process has helped me personally and my clients through endless disappointment and I know it is full proof and if practised regularly like any muscle will allow you to move through disappointment faster and faster. I encourage you to try it at least once and notice the difference. I will be interested in hearing how you went.