B119: How to deal with disappointment

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Let’s talk about how to deal with disappointment, so you can bounce back faster. This is a continuation from last week’s episode where I talked about how to hold things loosely. And my goodness, that one hit a chord for many of you listening… thank you so much for reaching out and letting me know! 

So yeah, last week, I talked about how to keep your jitters and your emotions in check when you’re in the in-between… you know, that space in time where you’ve made an offer or invitation to another party and you’re waiting for their response back. 

For example: you’ve presented a proposal to a prospective client… or you’ve put your best foot forward while interviewing for a dream job… or maybe you’re dating and you’ve just revealed another vulnerable piece of your heart to someone. It’s that split second moment where you’re nervously waiting to see or hear their response. 

Either they volley back with a “yes please” or a “thank you, but no thank you”… or worse, you hear NOTHING at all.  Which lets be real… that’s an answer all onto itself, right? But let’s talk about the NO.

Said more succinctly, you wanted something. You don’t get it. There’s a moment of yuck… so, how do you recover?

I’ve got some ideas.

Here are 3 ways to deal with the disappointment you might be feeling and help you to figure out a way to bounce back faster. 

(And just an aside… by no means do I have all the answers here. I’m working through a lot of this myself too, even just in the last few days! Therefore, I just want to state for the record that this stuff is NOT easy to simplify. It’s messy and raw and while I wish I could tie it all up nicely with a pretty red bow, I can’t. So bare with me as I grapple this hard stuff right alongside you and share a bit with courage and vulnerability. Here’s what I know to be true in my life, right at this very moment.)

Pre-cursor thought – Be aware of “the swirl” but don’t get stuck there.

First, I think it’s totally a normal human response to feel a wide range of emotions in that moment of NO. What I’ve found is that it mostly revolves around the feeling of disappointment. I call it “the swirl” and if you’re not careful, you can totally get caught up in “the swirl” for way longer than necessary.

For me, “the swirl” feels like this… “ugh, damn, fork… jeez!” and a whole lot of other expletives that I try not to say on the podcast as I know some of y’all have littles in the car listening right alongside you. (Kiddos, cover your ears for a hot second, ok?) Guys, it freakin’ sucks, doesn’t it!!?! 

My swirl starts with disappointment and depending on the situation, it morphs into low level frustration, sadness, stress, regret and an overall feeling of BLEH. And sometimes (especially when I stay stuck in it for too long), it feels like anger, bitterness, embarrassment, feelings of “less than,” and shame. If I’m not careful, my heart starts to harden and a poisonous, snarky cynicism starts to rise up and take over, where there once was abundance and optimism. 

Not fun… and not a good place to hang out at, in the long run.

Keep in mind, the severity of how much was at stake with this Bold Ask that you made, really affects the emotions that bubble up to the surface after you get the NO. 

So it goes without saying… a low risk scenario is when your grocery store is out of your favorite coffee beans (and they substitute in some crappy, low-par version in on your online order) vs. a high risk situation might be like when you’ve poured your heart out to someone and they say in response, “ahhh yeah, um no thanks… Let’s just be friends.” Oof. Some things are easier to shrug off faster than others.

And while I’m very particular about what coffee I drink in the mornings, it isn’t the end of the world for me. I recover pretty darn fast and shrug it off… No big deal. I can come up with alternate solutions and can move past “the swirl” pretty quickly. It certainly doesn’t devastate me.  

On the flip side though… any scenario where I’ve been brave and asked for something particularly big or put myself out there in a super vulnerable way and the other party doesn’t accept the invitation, ahhh well… that’s a pickle, isn’t it?

So here’s what’s working for me – a three step process:

1 – Acknowledge how you’re feeling and what’s coming up 

2 – Feel the feels… create a defined space and time to process it all

3 – Make the intentional choice to think another thought

1) Acknowledge how you’re feeling and what’s coming up

Anytime I deny my feelings or emotions or push through without acknowledging them typically ends in disaster. (I’m like a volcano, I explode.) So, I’m learning to say to myself, “ahh, look at that… I’m feeling disappointed. I’m feeling anger. I’m feeling frustrated right now.” 

(And I really want to put emphasis on this next point because it’s super important… you see, there’s a subtle difference in this language that I want you to pick up on.) 

Let me be clear… I am NOT my feelings. 

They are fleeting, raw surges of emotions that swell up inside me and they ALWAYS dissipate away over time. 

So, they are NOT my identity. 

Put simply, I can feel angry, but that doesn’t mean I’m an angry person. I can feel disappointed… but I am not a disappointment. The other party can say NO to my offer or invitation but that doesn’t mean I’m “less than or not enough” because of their NO. This is a very important distinction and if you remember nothing else from today’s episode, I hope you remember this.

Therefore, acknowledge the waves of feelings and emotions that rise up. See them for what they are.

2) Feel the feels… create a defined space and time to process it all

It’s so important to define a container of time that you’re going to allow yourself to feel them fully. I usually say 48 hours, maximum. “By this time on this particular day, I’m going to be done with feeling this particular way.” And stick with this agreement. Trust me.

I like to end a container of time by having a good night’s rest to cap it all off… tomorrow is a new day and there’s always fresh, new energy after a good night’s rest. Plus, when you allow your subconscious to process these big feelings and emotions in your dreams at night, healing and moving on comes faster and faster, each and every time.

3) Make the intentional choice to think another thought

Once your time bound container ends, you have to cognitively make the choice to scrape yourself up off the proverbial bathroom floor and start again. Are you going to stay stuck in victimhood or martyrdom? Are you going to wallow in the bitterness or feeling of defeat? Are you going to stay butt-hurt that it didn’t work out exactly how you had planned and hoped and wished for? 

Or are you going to choose a different thought? A different direction? A different focus? I mean, what if it’s just that simple?

I find that when I am courageous and tell a friend about what has happened and when I am open to their encouraging words, it helps me recover faster than if I isolate and wallow in it alone. 

Remember, your closest friends know you best – they know what you’re capable of and hold up a mirror to your soul, so you can see what they see in you… even in this (potentially) lowest of low moments. 

They know your true spirit and will help bolster you when your self-esteem or self-worth might feel a bit bruised from it all.

So don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to a friend about your current situation. They’ll likely throw you a lifeline, remind you of your awesomeness, and nudge you to choose a different thought, a different direction that’ll kick start you back on the path towards thriving. 

Remember, nothing great in life comes from shutting down… you must continue to make Bold Asks out into the Universe. You must be brave and put yourself out there over and over and over again, both personally and professionally. And yes, every great author, philosopher, creative, role model, and hero that you can think of in the last 2000 years would (likely) say the same exact thing… they received 99 NO’s to get to their one YES. No matter what, they too (just like you) had to keep going, keep asking, and keep being brave.

When I remember this, I remember I’m not alone in this journey. I must keep my arrow and bow aimed towards my future and relentlessly, keep my focus on where I really want to head next, rather than looking back constantly or pining for a different outcome.

This is how I bounce back after a NO.

One final whisper

And just one final whisper, just from me to you, dear friend… come in closer.

Okay, so I’m going to reveal to you an analogy that’s kinda silly but has been TOTALLY powerful for me over the last few months, especially as it relates to making Bold Asks out into the world…

And you must promise not to laugh!

But I tell you what… this ISH works and it has really helped me in profound ways. Okay, here goes.

You cannot think of a NO as someone directly rejecting YOU. 

Far from it. They are simply rejecting the offer or the invitation that you’ve made to them. Let me explain…

Let’s look at this from the lens of business.

Take for example you’ve made a pitch to a prospective client. You knocked it out of the park… gave them a solid presentation, you were super prepared, you put your best foot forward, and you offered a solution to their most pressing problem. Well done you! You presented them a written proposal and gave them a 48 hour deadline to respond with a HELL YEAH or a NO.

Seems pretty clear cut, right?

You leave that meeting telling yourself, “heck yeah, I nailed that. I’m a super awesome, spectacular, total package of a human who could really help that other person with their challenge.” You feel good and know you did your best.

Alright so here’s where the analogy comes in…

You see, you’re like a train that’s sitting on the platform and you’re about to leave the station at precisely 5pm today. And you’re saying, “hey, here’s the Mary train leaving at 5pm on the dot, headed to amazing, awesome places… so, are you in?”

That’s really what every Bold Ask that you make out in the world (big or small) boils down to. Every offer, every invitation, you’re saying to the other party, “the Mary train, the Matt train, the Megan train… the insert your name here train is leaving the station, headed to amazing, awesome places… YOU IN?”

And then when someone says NO, they are choosing to not board your train. 

That’s it! You are still headed towards amazing, awesome places. Your inherent identity, value, and worth stays EXACTLY the same, regardless of if they board the train or not. 

You’re still a super awesome, spectacular, total package of a human, no matter what. And you’ve gotta remember… this is SUPER important: 

The train LEAVES at 5pm… trains don’t linger or wait for someone who’s hemming and hawing on if they are gonna board it or not. 

Trains leave. 

They’ve got places to go and people to meet. 

And they certainly aren’t sad about leaving Nottingham as they’re on their way to London. 

They just go.

Choo choo!!

Soooooo… can you apply this analogy to your current situation, my friend? Can you remember that a train doesn’t feel any less worthy if people don’t jump on at a certain stop? Can you take to heart that a train doesn’t feel “less than” or “not enough” or any sort of anger, bitterness, embarrassment, or shame if a person doesn’t board the train?

And the next time you make an offer or an invitation… a Bold Ask out into the world… will you promise me that you’ll say “choo choo motherf*ckers” under your breath with a little smirk and a smile as a way to remind you of this deep wisdom?

I do this ALL. THE. TIME.

“Choo choo motherf*ckers!”

I text it to my inner circle friends… they know exactly what it means and it makes all of us laugh! And it reminds each of us to continue to be bold and courageous in life, both personally and professionally. 

So, choo choo, friend.  

May this silly, little analogy serve you well over the coming weeks ahead. 

Now get back out there, keep your chin way, way up. 

  • Keep making Bold Asks and remembering your worth
  • Keep living a vibrant life and surrounding yourself with healthy people who hold a mirror up to you, so you can see your true, radiant self in your highest of high moments where you shine bright… and in the lowest of low moments where you sometimes forget
  • Keep believing that what’s good for you is making its way towards you right now  
  • Keep listening and…
  • Keep committed to take the very next step

You can do this, I believe in you.

It’s time to SIMPLIFY.

If this thought of the day inspired you…

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This month, we were focused on the theme of “Alignment & Integration,” which was all about aligning with your core values and making good choices that are in integrity with your true spirit. My hope is that with the topics we’ve covered on the podcast this month, that you’ve learned how to integrate the hard-earned wisdom you gain each day and have found better flow, ease and ultimately, peace.

Friends, I hope you know you’re not alone in all of this. Please reach out, especially if you’ve got specific ideas or questions you’d like us to cover on the podcast. DM me on Instagram at @thesimplifiers and let’s spark a conversation.

Thank you!

Show credits: Suzen Marie, our Podcast Editor and Jeffrey Lynn, our Video Editor. Aubri Nowowiejski, Chris Justice, and George Mills, our advisory board. Big love to Dennis Coleman and Kristen Kurtis, as well. And I’m your host, Mary Baird.  Thank you so much for listening and telling your peeps about us.

As always friends, keep things simple.

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One Comment

  • Jessica says:

    Choo choo motherf*ckers!

    This is brilliant Mary, thank you so much for sharing this analogy! I’m going through several things myself. When I send my proposal, I do take the time to say a little prayer, ask my guides to support me and visualize the other party taking my offer and then set that free and remain completely calm during the waiting phase. That part’s easy. But then, BAM, if they don’t take my offer, I am crushed, so your tips will definitely help me after any rejection! Thank you SO much!

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