Sometimes life throws a sharp curve in our direction which can catch us off guard. If we aren’t careful we can allow the emotional “downs” to haunt us for life; never regaining the milestone that we worked for, focused on and dedicated most of our life and wellbeing to.

It is difficult to rebound from disappointment. But it provides us with an opportunity to assess the direction of our lives. It is a chance to learn and grow. Here are some ideas that may help make the process rewarding:

  • Accept that disappointment is a normal part of life

It is the easiest way to recover from a let-down. Press forward and allow personal growth or growth in your career to stay a part of reaching your set goals. On the other side avoiding disappointments may cause a very difficult time – a rollercoaster of emotions –and you will be less productive.

  • Identify your values and life goals

From the ups and downs in life, I learn who I am and what I want from life. With time it becomes just another challenge of life. You learn to take responsibility for your actions even if things did not go according to plan for your business.

  • Learn to identify and express your feelings

Our immediate response is to push away feelings of fear and anxiety. But if you learn from your emotions and feelings, it becomes second nature to move through them more quickly and next time acknowledge the signs of failure. Make them real by writing them down or talking about them with trusted friends or a business partner. Disappointment or failure are nothing to be ashamed of. If you deal with these feelings and emotions, they will have less power over you and you learn to face them and express them.

  • Focus on the payoffs

Think about what you have learned during the process of disappointment. Remind yourself of all the stages you went through and the knowledge you gained and learned from each setback. It is time well spent to do some important self-evaluation. You have a chance to overcome fears and to learn to deal with uncertainty. These can be the gifts of the experience: to learn more about yourself and what makes you happy and fulfilled.

  • Don’t rush through it

When you lose something important, it takes you suddenly out of your comfort zone and you need to adjust to a new reality. Expect to feel uncomfortable during the transition as you let go of old ways of seeing and doing things. Try to avoid starting new activities too soon, before you have had a chance to reflect and think about what is really best for you.

  • Expect to feel uncomfortable

The experience of a major disappointment is confusing and disorientating. It is normal to feel insecure and anxious. These feelings are part of the process, and they will pass.

  • Stay in control

Use your basic survivor skills to conquer this confusing time with what you learnt from previous disappointments. It will add value to and make the process more challenging.

  • Take good care of yourself

Disappointments are very stressful, especially when they are completely unexpected. You may not feel well enough to participate in your normal activities. Find something fun to do for yourself each day. Get plenty of rest, exercise, and eat well.

  • Build your support system

Seek the support of friends and family members, especially those who accept you without judging you and encourage you to express your true feelings. This may be an appropriate time to seek the support of a mental health professional. He or she can guide you through the recovery process in a safe and supportive environment.

  • Acknowledge what you are leaving behind

This is the first step to accepting the new. Think about how you respond to endings in your life: do you generally avoid them, like the person who ducks out early on her last day on the job because she can’t bear to say goodbye?

Or do you drag them out because you have such a hard time letting go? Perhaps you make light of endings, refusing to let yourself feel sad? Before you can welcome the new, you must acknowledge and let go of the old.

  • Accept that you may never completely understand what has happened to you

You are likely to spend a lot of time feeling confused and afraid. This makes most of us very uncomfortable. The discomfort and confusion will pass and clarity will return.

  • Take one step at a time

You may feel powerless. To regain a sense of control, find one small thing you can have power over right now. Then break it down into small, specific, concrete steps. Write down the steps and post them on your computer monitor or mirror. Cross off each step as you accomplish it.

Jemima van Zyl started as Junior Secretary in 1977 at a financial institution and excelled for 20 years as a Professional Assistant and Office Administrator in some of South Africa’s best companies. In 2005 she was diagnosed with severe breast cancer and ... (Read More)

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