Five Ways to Overcome Disappointment
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Five Ways to Overcome Disappointment


All of us suffer disappointment in our lives. We may not get the job we applied for, we lose the house sale, or we fail an exam. When this happens it is easy to slip into negative thoughts, bitterness and anger even. Here are five steps to help overcome this:

1. Learn from the experience.

Once the dust has settled, start learning from the experience. Focus on other situations where you had triumphed and succeeded. Reflect on what methods you had used then to overcome adversity – a career coaching client had been turned down for her chosen job time after time. However, she remembered her charity walk climbing a mountain. The memory of this experience motivated her because she recalled how her final success was ultimately down to her persistence. This technique made her feel much more powerful and she eventually got the job she wanted.

2. Be kind to yourself.

We are often harder on ourselves than we would ever be with others. When the disappointment is at its most raw and painful don’t even try to think rationally about it – leave that for another day. Instead, try to live in the moment, use mindfulness techniques and enjoy the simple pleasures associated with things such as family and nature perhaps.

3. Be inspired.

Move on and look ahead with hope by drawing on the experiences of some inspirational people as a guide. That was Hillary Clinton’s approach when she lost the 2016 presidential election. In her excellent book, What Happened
she details a number of figures who inspired her. One was the remarkable woman abolitionist Harriet Tubman who as Clinton describes, ‘Never lost her faith in a simple but powerful motto: Keep Going.’

4. Failure makes you stronger.

Remember that history is full of people who had self doubt but came back stronger after failure, a very powerful theme that I, as a career coach often draw upon. The wonderfully inspiring Maya Angelou, despite having written eleven books at the time, appeared to have suffered from Imposter Syndrome, a condition where you tend to doubt your own abilities. JK Rowling experienced periods of depression and poverty before her writing finally took off. Charles Darwin failed not once but twice in medicine and theology before he wrote his ground breaking text, On the Origin of Species.

5. Take the long view.

Maintain perspective. In a few years time you will realise that this particular experience, difficult and challenging as it is now, will be in the past. It will have contributed to the stronger and more resilient person that you are becoming.

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