Yesterday, I received disappointing news.
Not devastating news. Not catastrophic news. Just disappointing news.
A project that I felt strongly about had been canceled. As I absorbed the message, I felt frustration and some degree of anger. I believed that others had made a poor decision.
Despite the fact that I’ve had many disappointments in my life and pride myself on knowing how to handle them, those first few hours were messy. Gradually, I made the conscious decision to move forward. Consciously, but cautiously, forward.
So, how do you handle disappointment? What path do you choose? What steps do you take?
For me, it goes something like this. When I find myself mired in disappointment, I . . .
Gather myself. Don’t force the thoughts. Minimize the need for answers.
- Take inventory.
Assess the damage, if any, that the disappointment carries with it. Consider the opportunities the disappointment generates.
- Consider my personal contribution.
Determine both the positive and negative ways I influenced the situation.
- Choose the “next right thing to do.”
Some times, disappointment requires that we retrace our steps and try again. Other times, disappointment teaches us to move on. Regardless of what happens, a positive move is always available.
- Don’t let my disappointment be a burden for others.
Disappointment can be contagious. My approach to that disappointment can be the difference between whether the situation goes fatally viral or hopefully productive.
I wish I could say that I launch into this response mode immediately every time I experience disappointment. Sometimes, it takes a little more time to begin to breathe. But what a relief when I do!