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How to deal with disappointment.

My first RISK of the year.

My word for 2012 is RISK, and earlier this month I made my first RISK of the year. I submitted my entry to Photographers Ignite. Probably an even bigger risk was sharing my risk on The Collective.

I didn’t make it.

I was definitely disappointed. My topic was really good. What to do when your dream becomes a nightmare (how to make it a dream again). I had submitted an okay entry, and I know now that I need to send a GREAT entry.

I immediately began to think, “What am I going to share about this experience on The Collective? What have I learned?” I went over different possibilities, and then this morning it hit me.

How to deal with disappointment

Instagram image by Andy Bondurant

Taking risks includes a high potential for failure (complete or partial). Failure leads to disappointment. When taking risks (which we must!) we need to know how to deal with disappointments.

Here are 5 steps to walk through when dealing with disappointment. Obviously, some circumstances will be much more devastating than others, so more steps or longer time between steps is needed.

1. Take a deep breath.

Sometimes when one dream dies, we make the mistake of rushing off to the very next dream. We don’t allow ourselves to feel the pain of the disappointment. We need to feel the sadness. It’s what makes us human.

2. Share your disappointment.

I am not a share your feelings kind of guy, but an interesting thing happened in this situation. I had made public my risk and hopes. I didn’t really feel I could hide them. It made a big difference.

First, I tweeted I didn’t make it. Immediately someone shared an uplifting note. That felt good. Second, I texted Kia. She also consoled me. Third, I read Becker’s disappointment (who I’ve met, but don’t really know) and was encouraged that other people had not made it, and they felt disappointment too. I wasn’t alone.

3. Don’t believe your mind trash.

When you fail at something, your mind begins to play games with you. It will tell you that you are a failure at everything. You should give up. You aren’t good enough.

As Public Enemy said, “Don’t believe the hype!”

I have a folder of emails in my inbox of nice things people have written to me. I keep them for moments like this. It helps me recalibrate when my mind is tells me all the reasons I “can’t”.

I didn’t check that folder yesterday, but I did happen to get an email from someone who wanted sponsorship info. I also saw an email from a  lady who has read and loved The Collective over the past few months. It helped me discard my mind trash.

4. Push Forward.

It’s now time to get moving again. Michael Hyatt shared a video on a blog post about overcoming obstacles. It’s a great picture of taking a disappointment, frustration, failure and pushing forward.

5. Find the positives.

Failure is an obstacle to your dream or goal, it’s not the end of that dream. When you encounter failure you must choose to make it an opportunity.

I chose to make this an opportunity.

I made my flights and hotel reservations this weekend, so I’m booked to be at WPPI. I’m disappointed I’m not presenting, but I am excited to attend the show and connect with friends, sponsors and potential sponsors. Had I not tried out for Photographers Ignite, I probably would not have made the decision to attend.

More risks to come.

2012 is a year of intentional risks for me. This was just the first. Some I’ll share and others I won’t, but more will come.

I hope you’ve chosen a word of the year. If you have, I would love to know what it is and what lessons you are learning from it. Please submit an article with what you are learning in 2012 (or learned in 2011). I would love to see it.

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