Being in business for yourself is many things – it’s exhilarating, filled with freedom (sometimes), satisfying, creative…but no seasoned, honest entrepreneur could tell you with a straight face that during the course of your business you won’t also experience some heart-ache, hurt feelings, and disappointment.
Disappointment, at times, is part and parcel of being in business.
Because as entrepreneurs, we put ourselves out there, make ourselves vulnerable, and stretch ourselves A LOT. If you’re a truly committed business owner, you take risks, you outreach even when it feels a little scary, and you pursue big goals. And with even the best strategy, sometimes you don’t get the results or response you want.
No matter how successful you are, not everything you plan is going to turn out exactly as you had planned it.
And that can lead to disappointment.
Momentary disappointment in business is pretty harmless, and may not be avoidable. However, what’s absolutely vital is that you learn how to move through it and out of it as quickly as possible. If not, the disappointment can turn into much more dangerous and insidious things – self-doubt, self-judgment, resentment, misaligned action, non-action and giving up.
I know you don’t want any of those things for yourself, and I don’t either, so here are 4 of my favorite tools that I personally use to move through disappointment when it comes up:
- Remember that it’s not about you:
- Don’t be attached to outcome:
- Find the Silver Lining:
- Ask Yourself: What More Can I do Here?:
If someone chooses not to step into one of your offerings, or if you don’t attract as many teleclass participants as you’d like, or even if you don’t get as many “Likes” on a Facebook post as you want, it’s important to remember that it’s not about you. It’s not that you’re not a good enough person or charismatic enough or skilled enough at what you do. It might be that you need to tweak your marketing strategy in order to get better results, but that’s very different than taking a rejection or unwanted results personally.
It’s so easy to make it “about you” and then to beat up on yourself, but that’s truly just a patterned default place and not very productive at all.
One of the quickest ways to move from slight disappointment to extreme self-judgment is to be attached to outcome in your business.
Now I want to be very clear about this: when I suggest that you become unattached to outcome, I DON’T mean that you stop wanting the result that you want from your efforts. Of course, you want that prospect to say “YES” or that program to fill.
However, even when you want the results you want, you also don’t want to be attached to outcome. That means that if you don’t achieve the results you were going for, you don’t make up a story about what those results mean about you, your business, or the future of your business.
For example – let’s say you walk a prospect through an enrollment conversation and they ultimately decide not to work with you. All this means is that this one particular prospect isn’t going to work with you right now. It doesn’t mean that your business is doomed, and it doesn’t mean that you suck at enrollment conversations.
When you get attached to outcome, you make the little outcome of one event mean everything.
When you’re unattached to outcome, you can see the bigger, more accurate, and more positive picture.
Nothing is EVER a complete failure. There are always positive components and rich learnings to any situation, to any marketing campaign, to any project in your business.
As human beings, we tend to hone in on the negative first and foremost. What I’ve learned is that acknowledging the positives can be a great tool for moving past disappointment AND for knowing what to do next time.
I make it a regular practice after any disappointing situation to review what happened and make a list of everything positive I can glean from the experience.
One thing I’ve noticed can happen when you are in the midst of disappointment is that you decide all is lost, there’s nothing left to do in the situation, and give up easily. That’s usually a mistake, brought on by feeling bad about yourself, making it “about you”, or being attached to outcome.
Instead, I highly recommend assessing your situation and asking yourself – what more can I do here?
You’ll be surprised that you may find creative solutions to make the most of the situation and achieve your goals.
For example- if you are hosting a teleclass and you don’t attract as many participants as you would have liked, instead of sinking into disappointment, ask yourself – “what more can I do here?” Perhaps you’ll decide to do individual outreach to some folks who you know would love the class, or you’ll decide to postpone the class for a week or two so you can do more marketing, or you may decide to shift the energy of the class to an intimate workshop and really focus in on delivering in huge ways to the folks that DID say yes to the teleclass.
So, being in business isn’t about avoiding disappointment. It’s about learning how to move through it gracefully and peacefully. Entrepreneurship may not be for the faint-hearted, but it is for those who are willing to see past the disappointment and into the next steps.