Dealing with Disappointment


“The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.”

Robert Kiyosaki

We all face disappointment from time to time. In some cases it is major, in others less dramatic, but disappointing none the less. The real lesson in disappointment seems to be in the way we deal with it. Disappointment comes in a great many flavours. We can be disappointed with people, with work or with circumstances. Regardless of the flavor, we have to handle the disappointments life brings us, pick ourselves up and keep going.Dealing with disappointment

What do we do when we are faced with disappointments to ensure we keep our heads up and our dreams alive?

Process the disappointment

When it comes to dealing with disappointment, make sure you open yourself up to process the reality of how you feel. If you are at work and find out that you have been passed over for a big project, your exterior reaction may well be “so what?” – but on the inside you need to ensure you process the disappointment. Find a quiet place to be alone, even if only for a few minutes to process how you really feel, and then to put in place the plan to move forward. Remember to acknowledge the freshness of the feelings and that it will likely be more manageable in a few weeks.

Stick with the facts

It is easy when life deals us the blow of disappointment to spend a great deal of energy on what might happen and what the future might look like because of circumstances. Speculation saps energy and deepens the discouragement. Stick with the facts of what has happened and focus on the next steps moving forward. If it was a job you thought for sure you were going to get, what now. What is the plan to continue to move your career forward, and what is the next career move going forward?

 Make sure your true character shines through

If it is a colleague that has disappointed you by saying something that is untrue, or by acting in a way that has hurt your feelings, make sure your true character is not swallowed up by the disappointment. There are many ways of overcoming disappointment. Ensure, if it is in the work setting, that your maturity and professionalism shine through. Those around you are going to be looking to see how you react. Make sure that your exterior portrays the strength of one who deals with the facts, processes the reality and uses the disappointment to be stronger and better prepared for the next time.

We all face disappointments from time to time. The attributes of true character set leaders apart. It is how we handle disappointment and move forward which will mark the difference between whether our inner strength wins the day or not. Make new goals, focus on what is next and keep going!

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After 20 years of progressive leadership within the Canadian Public Service, as an executive and thought leader, Bruce has turned his attention to full time writing, speaking, training and business advisory services. Focusing his work on his long term passion for leadership development, has led to an ongoing focus on exploring current leadership topics through his leadership blog, and his newly released book - Leadership Hack: Leading the Millennial Tribe. Bruce holds two masters degrees, along with a professional designation in project management. Bruce calls Ottawa, Ontario Canada home, where he shares his life with his wife Susan, and his two university aged daughters.

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