It should come as no surprise that although last week’s column, How to Dream Big!, was published the day after the election, it was written just slightly before the election. Let’s just say that after the election, I was in no mood to “dream big!” I know at least 25.6% of the country, and 99.9% of my Twitter friends, felt similarly.
Although it was an extreme situation that followed an extreme election period, facing disappointment, in any form, is a part of being on your grind. Disappointment (or “wanting something to happen that doesn’t happen in the way that you think it should”) is a part of life, and failure, as we learned in Week 20, is a part of success. Sounds weird, huh? So, what’s the best way to move through it?
- Feelings?! Feel ’em! When a project doesn’t get the public response that you hoped for or you get passed up for a position you wanted, it’s important to be real about how you’re feeling. Sometimes, that feeling of losing something you wanted can motivate you quickly. At other times, you just need to sit with it, and let the sadness run its course. The good news is that there’s not a deadline; you don’t have to feel bright and chipper about a disappointing situation immediately. Especially when you’re aiming higher and going after something big, it’s never a bad thing to remember that you’re human, and sad days can just be part of the human experience. And those sad days will pass!
2. Don’t let your fears get the best of you. As we saw in the #everydayexpert responses in Week 20, fears live in your head. You have to get them out. Talking to others is a great way to relieve stress, the #everydayexperts said in Week 8, and it works great for when disappointment happens, too. Other things you can try: a creative pursuit that gives your brain a break (writing, drawing, coloring) or getting outside and as close to trees and nature as possible.
- Don’t play the “worst-case-scenario” game. When something bad happens to you, often it’s not what happens that’s the most painful part: it’s the thoughts we allow to settle in after the thing happens. You may be trying to make sense of a situation that disappointed you. That’s OK. But be careful with the meaning that you’re applying to the situation. Confront your thoughts (on paper, if that works for you). Something bad happened, but what does it mean? Realize that the second part, what it “means,” is open to interpretation. Don’t let your mind take you down a dark road you have no business being on.
The good news is: unexpected situations, in work, in relationships, in all areas of life, can come out of nowhere. You’ll move through it, and it will make you better. Sharper. A more true version of yourself. Hopefully these tips can help you get there a little more gently.
Remember, you can always talk about your disappointments, fears, or anything else with me!