Whether it is losing your job, failing to receive a job offer, or merely making a mistake on a new project, we all encounter disappointments in our careers. What is your experience in conquering yours? Are you aware of all the tools at your disposal? Don’t allow yourself to become a spectator of life because of one mistake. Take these three steps to renew your confidence and get back on track:

“Disappointment is the nurse of wisdom.” – Sir Boyle Roche

Accept Your Feelings & Move On

Encountering disappointment is inevitable, so we must practice accepting and choosing to view it as a form of growth.
What Not To Do:
-Do not guilt or shame yourself for feeling discouraged.
-Do not pass the blame onto someone else.
-Do not make a rash decision that you will come to regret.

The best way to cope with your feelings and get it out of your system quickly is to open up about what happened. Talk it out, write it down, and prepare to move on. Creativity expert Diana Raab, Ph.D., promotes the use of ‘free writing’ because “it can help you express concern and emotions in a non-threatening way. The journal is non-judgmental and will listen.”

If you are an active job seeker facing rejection from employers, find confidence in your resilience. The high bar you have likely set for yourself is admirable and will ultimately help you reach your full potential, but don’t stay out of the game for too long. Instead, choose to view your next opportunity as a stepping stone to something greater. If that means temporarily broadening the prerequisites of your ideal job, so be it.

Find new energy and motivation through co-workers and your friends and family. Surround yourself with those who will listen and allow you to vent or blow off a little steam. Your closest friends and family will often be there to provide the necessary encouragement and keep you from the self-criticism and negative thoughts built up in your head. However, it is important to be swift when cycling through your feelings. The longer you harp on your disappointments, the more discouraged you will feel.

Get Realistic

Our brains are naturally wired to pinpoint the negatives surrounding us, but there are still steps to overcome them. Do you have tendencies of a perfectionist, continually finding faults in your work? It’s great always to be striving to improve, but not when it comes at the cost of your happiness. Stop comparing your career ‘lows’ to other people’s career ‘highs.’ It’s not fair to others, and it’s not fair to yourself.

It is important to set lofty career goals, but it is equally important to keep your present expectations realistic. Take a step back and ask yourself if you are acting overdramatic. Ask yourself questions like, “Will this matter three years from now? Or even three weeks?” Quit perceiving disappointment as a sign of failure, but rather an opportunity to try something new. What did you learn? What steps can you take to ‘right the ship?’

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bounce Back with a Win

How we choose to handle our disappointments will determine our eventual success. When you learn the applicable lesson from your disappointment, it’s time to get back on the winning track. It does not need to be a ‘huge win’, but establishing a little momentum is vital for career growth. Do not attempt to overcompensate with a risky move that could end up proving costly. Take small steps to get back in the game and keep moving forward.

Support from your friends and family is great, but ultimately, hard work, dedication, and passion have to come from you. Can you think of something specific to you that provides extra motivation and self-encouragement? I urge you to meditate on that thought and find a notion that will ignite a flame in you no matter what current path of life may be. When you choose to persevere through strife, your efforts will soon be rewarded.

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