Monday, July 9, 2012

Dealing with Disappointment

When people ask me how the business is going, I give them my honest response: it's both wonderful and hard.

One of the difficult parts is dealing with disappointment.  I get frustrated when I don't understand why something went wrong or I make a mistake.  I usually ruminate on what happened and beat myself up about it, but the best part is that I'm slowly learning to handle disappointment in better and smarter ways.

To be honest, on Friday, I faced three different work-related situations that brought me to tears.  As I wallowed a bit and tried to fall asleep that night, I had a mini-breakthrough: what had happened wasn't life or death.  In fact, those three instances weren't going to affect anyone else negatively.  I was giving the day so much power over my mood and my confidence, and it wasn't worth that energy.

I came up with three important questions to ask myself when disappointment strikes.  These questions help to put things in perspective:

1) Is this a case of life or death?
My dad is a doctor and faces life-and-death decisions every day.  Or in my former job, a mistake could have cost my company or the client a lot of money.  I'm doing important work now, but it's not going to hurt anyone but me if I make an error or receive a rejection email.

2) Will this matter a year from now?
This is a go-to question for many aspects of life.  It instantly helps me gauge how significant something is and understand that even if it seems like the worst, most awful thing ever today, it likely won't cross my mind a year from now.  Or if it does, I'll be able to see how far I've come and the good that's come out of it.

3) What can I learn from this?
Even when facing tough stuff, it's possible to find good, to learn a lesson, to grow.  I might not always understand why something happens or what exactly I should do differently if I'm put in the same situation, but over time, I will see the positive effects.  I will learn.

I know not every disappointment in life can be calmed by asking these three questions.  We can't solve every hurt, at least not right away.  There may be times that we have to deal with life-or-death dilemmas, with events that will matter years from now, with difficulties that don't seem to have a lesson within it.

In those cases, we have to reach out to others for support, have faith, and keep moving forward. We can acknowledge that it's hard and it's scary and it just plain sucks.  We can accept how we feel and hope each day is a little brighter and a little clearer.  We can let go of negativity, look for beauty in the small moments, hold tight to those we love.

Or if all else fails, I suppose it doesn't hurt to do as Elizabeth Taylor says...



  1. Love this, Mel. You are awesome!

  2. A reason to moves on. I am inspired by your posts.


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