How to Overcome Disappointment

It takes courage to face the things that are holding us back.  

Commonly, people will deal with issues that seem too hard to overcome – by avoiding them. However, in avoidance we also find pain.   

So how does it all start?  

We all have expectations about how things might work out.  And when the outcome isn’t what we expected – disappointment is a hidden trigger that can lead us down the path to greater emotional challenges.  It can start with a small thing, an expectation not met – a failure at work, or in a relationship, or a financial loss.  

Here’s a few keys to tackling disappointment: 

Recognise the first point of disappointment

Is there a pattern of disappointment in one area of life? Do you ‘always’ have problems with money for example?  Or are you constantly treated badly at work?  Are you worried about going for job interviews because of previous disappointments?

What was your first trigger?

When was the first time you felt disappointed?  Often it starts in childhood – and when another disappointment occurs – we form neural pathways and belief systems around what that means for our lives. Then we start to look for the experience of being disappointed and, of course, life confirms our beliefs and internal ‘map’. 

Disappointment in oneself can cause major personal and work-related setbacks.  

In both sales and life, the failure triggers in our brains can cause a chain of emotions that moves us toward experiencing failure again. Then we feel disempowered. Usually it starts with one disappointment and in trying to make sense of it, we can spiral downward emotionally and start to doubt ourselves and procrastinate.

However, there is a way to shift your brain from this failure track to an track of success and identify the exact emotions that are discouraging you.

In his book Your Brain at Work, David Rock said “Without this ability to stand outside your experience, without self-awareness, you would have little ability to moderate and direct your behavior moment to moment. Such real-time, goal-directed modulation of behavior is the key to acting as a mature adult. You need this capacity to free yourself from the automatic flow of experience, and to choose where to direct your attention. Without a director you are a mere automaton, driven by greed, fear, or habit.”

Clarity is the first step to the track of success.

Start with focusing on your goal and concentrate on the emotions you want to feel. If you are feeling disappointed it is important to remember to redirect your focus toward your goal. Then identify the short-term problems you face and how to solve them.

Then the next step is to seek out people and environments that bring you more clarity, get questions answered that you are unsure about, and allow you to consider new perspectives and assess the situation with more objectivity.

Oprah is a great example of not allowing her past trauma and disappointments to hinder her future success.

Remember your successes so that your brain can find positive emotional links, and reproduce those positive emotions.

ACTION: Remember a time when you had a success. How did you feel? Watch yourself as in a movie and see the character (that would be you) achieving a goal, feeling great, being energised and confident. This emotion can be reproduced.

Use previous occasions of emotional success to build a new pathway of positive emotions – and at the same time – write down your new goal and how you want to feel about it. Keep writing this down, as the brain responds well to handwritten goals. Use colour when writing your goals and emotions. Close your eyes and remember the time you felt that same emotion.

Take Action

Need to take action on a goal that you are procrastinating about?

Download your free Clarity Template which gives you a Whole Brain strategy to start to identify next steps. As you complete above exercises then use this template you’ll begin to take action on your goal.

Notice your emotional state when you are setting goals and how you react internally. Use the above every time you sense you feel disappointed. The more you do it the more you will shift into positive emotions like confidence, courage and excitement when you look at your goals.



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