A trip gets cancelled you’ve planned for a year and a half and you’re now faced with handling disappointment that comes with staying home. You’re not sure when it will reschedule. You’ve trained so hard and this year is your chance to shine as you’ve finally made it to the big leagues playing on a major team and the baseball season is cancelled. You’re not only handling disappointment, but you’re handling anger as it seems unfair and unjust to rob you of precious years of playing in your prime.
Your business finally opens and you get the news that you have to close again. You have to adjust once again during a holiday weekend, losing sales and valuable cash flow that had the potential to get you through the recent crisis. Your disappointment has escalated, as you now don’t know if you’ll ever be able to recover.
Handling disappointment is something most everyone has had to face in our current times. Multiple setbacks have escalated feelings of desperation, fear and loss. There are no easy answers and a band aid won’t fix those feelings that feel like a hemorrhage. However, there are three ways to help with handling disappointment we’ll talk about here. One: focus on what is going right. Two: Plan creative new ways to survive that are sustainable. Three: Resolve to never give up emotionally even if you have to give up part of your dream.
One: Focus on What is Going Right
When handling disappointment with a government shutdown and news that was gloomier by the minute, I turned off the daily news. I wanted to face reality, yet not roll around in the mud of negativity and fear that escalated with every new statistic blasted, real or not. Getting outside helped, taking our dog Amelia on more walks than she’ll probably ever experience again helped. Smiling at neighbors I’ve not seen in years helped. Listening to multiple audio books and podcasts helped.
Focusing on the hero stories, the survivors, the first responders who continued to show up and face not only their fear, but of those they treated were uplifting. Hearing inspiring stories of creative graduation and birthday celebrations brought joy. Shelter pets that were now finding new homes, giving more comfort than they received brought a smile. There’s still a time for news, but in small bites that don’t overshadow a sense of hope.
Two: Plan Creatively
With crisis comes creativity. Many companies were started during times of recession. When tech entrepreneurs Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky launched a simple online platform to rent out an air mattress in their high-rent apartment in San Francisco, Airbnb was born.
Reed Hastings was motivated to start an online DVD rental by mail company and nearly went under when the large chain known as Blockbuster refused to buy it out during the dot-com bubble of the early 2000’s. Netflix came through and pioneered the streaming on-demand service, now worth nearly $34 billion and growing.
There are many other examples in history but how that applies to us is that now is the time to look around you and see what is working. Then, how can you creatively build on it, even risking small steps moving forward. So many fall into the trap of thinking they have to make big choices, but it’s the little steps and moves that really count. When you can see what works with very little risk, then you’re empowered to move forward with confidence.
Three: Never Give Up
Those famous words uttered from the lips of Winston Churchill never get old. There is a time to cut bait, but most of the time there are ways to pivot, then move forward. If Neil Armstrong gave up on his first flight in 1966 that almost ended up in disaster, we’d never have put a man on the moon in 1969. One step for man, a giant step for mankind.
Many now-famous actors know this principle well. Jim Carrey’s early impersonations bombed and gave him doubts about his capabilities as a professional entertainer. Lady Gaga’s music was labeled as disgusting, but she knew the type of music that was coming. She was right. And she continues to reinvent herself, even singing with legends such as Tony Bennett.
After his very first performance, Elvis’ manager fired him and advised him to go back to driving a truck. He never gave up and we’re glad he didn’t. How many of those Elvis movies did you watch growing up? And did you know he even did a gospel album? We almost wore out the LP in our family!
Of course, the Beatles also faced a lot of problems. A recording label that passed on them and said guitar music was on its way out. I’m assuming that label is out of business today. The fabulous four never gave up and I’m glad they didn’t.
Your Next Big Challenge
You may be facing your next big challenge and handling disappointment seems endless with repeated setbacks, overnight changes and a feeling you’re no longer in control. But when were you ever really in control? We live in a country that has given us freedoms that were fought for with real blood, perseverance and sacrifice. The fact that we can reinvent, restart, pivot and change is a freedom we have to embrace internally, then act upon.
There will be more trips. There will be more baseball games. There will be more artists who are told they don’t have the talent to break through. Taking these three principles in this article to heart has helped me in handling disappointment, even though I usually have a fairly positive outlook. Knowing the voices to listen to, creatively using my time and resolving once again to never give up will give us all a better chance to come out even stronger on the other side.
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