“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”

Many of us experience disappointment at some stage of life, when we’re in school, when we’re with family and yes, even when we’re at work. And guess what … because we’re human beings and not robots, it’s absolutely normal to experience this.  However, disappointments, if persisted for extended periods of time, can lead to lots of self-doubt and possibly depression. And once you’re caught up in this vicious circle of disappointment, it’s easy to end up wallowing in self-pity.

And there’s no shortage of reasons causing our disappointment:

  • You worked hard and put your heart and soul into that project and in the end your boss didn’t say anything about what a great job you did
  • Your peer took credit for your work
  • You were promised a promotion or raise but even after a year of being patient you’re still waiting
  • Your position was eliminated and you’re not getting the interviews you’d hoped for
  • You joined a new company and now realize it might have been a mistake to quite your previous job

And so on …

No matter how intense the situation, the ball is still in your court and it’s up to you how you want to tackle each disappointing situation.

And know … if you hold on to the sub-par outcomes you’ll find it challenging to overcome the disappointment.

As you’ve heard me say many times before, our emotions are controlled by our thoughts which in turn impact our decisions, behaviors and results.

Someone once said that – “Disappointment can actually be an incredibly powerful emotion that helps us clarify our personal expectations and pave the way forward toward the attainment of ours goals.”

So why not take a positive approach and see the disappointment as something that will help you grow?

Here are some ways you can start to reframe disappointments so they become something to help you grow.

1. Stop the negative self-talk

Are you blaming yourself for the disappointment? Are you considering yourself the one who wasn’t smart enough to handle the situation?  Are you thinking you’re not good enough to get what you want?

If you are thinking this way, believe me, you are draining your energy and it’s going to be difficult to move forward with your mind clouded with all that negative sentiment and erroneous thought.

Take a pause and seriously stop blaming yourself for whatever it is you think you did wrong – simply accept what is and know that it’s a part of life and we all go through it.

To help you move past the negative self-talk, it’s also very helpful to reflect back on your big accomplishments and the compliments you received on them. This type of self-acknowledgment helps boost your energy and turn the distress into an empowering experience.

2. Use the disappointment as a way to reset your expectations

Everything doesn’t always turn out the way you expect. Even when we put our best effort in, we might not get the outcome or result we desire. And this is because many thinks are outside our control.

Think about the NFL Quarterback Dan Marino who was an all-star and set many records – he never won a Superbowl. He clearly put in his best but never achieved the outcome or result he desired – a Superbowl win.

When the disappointment is a result of not achieving your expectation, this is a great time to look at the expectation and see if it was something that you had full control over and if not, then it’s time to reset the expectation to something that is within your control.

3. Don’t Take Things Personally

So many times when situations that disappoint us occur, they happen because we took the situation to mean something about ourselves. And, usually what that is isn’t true.

For example, let’s say a colleague gets promoted – this means nothing about you or your talents. It doesn’t mean you’re not good enough for a promotion, it doesn’t mean you were overlooked and it doesn’t mean people don’t like you. It just means your colleague was promoted.  So stop reading into situations and taking them to mean something about you that, well, simply isn’t true.

In a case like this, be happy for and show gratitude to your colleague and tell yourself there is absolutely still opportunity for you to advance and grow and you simply need to focus on how you can make that happen.

And trust me, if you show up with happy and grateful attitude it will help keep the perceptions of you in a much more favorable light.

4. Change your perspective

Why not step into the other person’s shoes to get their point of view? From where you’re sitting things may look a certain way but from where someone else is sitting the view could be very different.  Consider replaying events that happened through the lens of the other person(s) because many times you’ll discover their perspective or objections actually make sense.

Disappointment at work is bound to happen – so why not embrace it, learn how to grow from it and be better moving forward?

Life is filled with ups and downs, and no one knows when what might seem like a wrong turn actually becomes a blessing – so don’t take disappointments too personal and thank the universe for giving you an opportunity to learn and grow!