It’s probably my least favourite emotion and the one I most struggle to deal with.
We all face disappointment throughout our lives.
Unfortunately it’s something we can’t avoid. From major set backs to small mishaps, that dreaded feeling is bound to sneak up on you.
Perhaps your presentation at work didn’t go as well as you’d hoped, you didn’t get that awesome job you went for, Collingwood didn’t win on the weekend (my husband’s constant source of disappointment), or a relationship came to an end.
In short, disappointment occurs when you have certain expectations around a situation and the outcome doesn’t align with your desired expectation.
MY BUSINESS DISAPPOINTMENT
A few weeks ago I was struck down with a bout of severe disappointment.
I was on a high after running my ‘Copy That Connects’ workshop and it suddenly dawned on me that it was the end of financial year in Australia, (which actually has no relevance to my business in Hong Kong BTW!).
Anyways, I thought I should look over my business finances and see how I was tracking.
Insert major disappointment here.
Without going into too much detail, I was horrified.
I shed a few tears, got really angry with myself, the world, poor little Esmeralda, (who isn’t physicllay present on earth yet!), and seriously contemplated giving up (which isn’t that uncommon when you have your own business).
But despite all this negative emotion, I dealt with the disappointment and I thought I’d share the steps I took to move on and get myself back on track.
HOW TO DEAL WITH DISAPPOINTMENT AND GET YOURSELF BACK ON TRACK
1. EMBRACE THE FEELING
Yes – you heard right!
To get over the icky feeling of disappointment it’s vital that you embrace all the facets of this ‘down in the dumps’ emotion.
We live in a world where we’re constantly searching for a ‘quick fix’ and we are often given the rather unhelpful advice of ‘just get over it’ or ‘get on with it.’
But when it comes to disappointment you need to give yourself time to sit with the emotion so you can get your head around the situation at hand.
I gave myself about a week to really feel all the different elements of disappointment and repeatedly stopped myself from jumping into ‘fix it’ or ‘action’ mode.
Give yourself space and time to embrace the feeling.
2. GET SOME PERSPECTIVE AND THINK BIG PICTURE
The benefit of allowing yourself time to feel all the elements of disappointment is that it helps to provide you with a broader perspective on your specific situation.
When disappointment arises, it’s not unusual to focus on all the negatives, view the world as a big bad place and to just want to throw it all in.
But once you allow yourself some space, you gain more clarity and you start to take on a wider, more realistic perspective.
For example, if you had a falling out with someone, you may now be able to see their point of view. Or if you didn’t get that new job you were hoping for, maybe it really wasn’t the perfect career opportunity you thought it was.
(But if you’re a Collingwood fan, you have no perspective. The Magpies should never lose. EVER! Ask James).
In my case, I realised that my income expectations were kind of ridiculous and I wasn’t taking into account a multitude of different factors that were linked to my business revenue.
To avoid feeling completely dis-empowered I didn’t get too attached to the income goal I had.
Instead, I kept my thoughts and energy focused on the big picture of what I wanted to achieve in life and business as well as how I wanted to feel.
So just keep thinking big!
3. SEEK OUT SUPPORT
I’ll admit that I kind of suck at this (even though I’m a life coach!).
I like to think I have my sh%t my together and I can work through things on my own.
But the truth is I can’t.
Talking about your disappointment and the feelings that arise is important.
Getting things off your chest, rather than locking them away, can be a huge release energetically and emotionally.
HOWEVER, BE STRATEGIC IN THE SUPPORT YOU SEEK OUT!
In my case the first person I spoke to about my disappointment was my husband.
Do I love him. Yes.
Did he give me good advice. Kind of.
Did he make me feel better. Ah no.
Although James provided some great perspective and some key things to think about, his delivery kind of sucked. He was 100% well intentioned but our chat still resulted in me sobbing under my sunglasses and running off saying,‘I’m so hot! I must jump in the pool now!’
In addition to speaking to James I also strategically sought out close girlfriends, (my tribe), who are also entrepreneurial and who I knew would have a deeper understanding of the disappointment I felt.
By talking to them I instantly felt better because they heard me, empathised with me and provided some much needed encouragement.
So before you let the disappointment flow out of you, have a think about who would be the most receptive and helpful in your particular situation.
(Maybe not your husband and maybe not a Collingwood supporter. Just a thought!).
4. WHAT ARE THE UNIQUE LESSONS?
Disappointment can throw a lot of dark, damp shade on your life.
But on the flip side, as you pull yourself out from the darkness you start to uncover some unique lessons.
Two key lessons I believe that disappointment provides us with include highlighting passion and providing an opportunity for growth.
In my case I experienced disappointment because I hadn’t achieved a goal. A positive way to reframe this is that I’m really passionate about my business and making it a success.
As Martin Luther King Jr puts it, “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”
My disappointment also provided me with a boatload of insight into how I can improve different aspects of my business, so I don’t cry over my profit and loss statement again.
(Ha! Who am I kidding? I will probably cry over my P&L but as long as I keep learning and adapting, it’s never THAT bad!).
I also re-learned that my business expectations need to be curbed a little and to not put so much pressure on myself.
Remember that disappointment always provides us with an opportunity to learn, so look for the lessons and take them onboard.
Have you recently experienced a disappointment, big or small, in your life? I’d love to hear how you dealt with this emotion and if you have any secret weapons to help you move forwards! Share in the comments below!
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