Dealing with Disappointment


You set your goals. You take steps towards action. Yet it doesn’t turn out as you hoped.


What do you do?


One of the biggest challenges in sustaining your confidence and building resilience is dealing with disappointment.


Whether you are going after your dream job, putting yourself and your ideas forward at work and in other leadership roles, running for political office, or closing the sale, no one bats 100%. (In fact, the highest batting average in Major League Baseball is 36.64%.)


So how can you face yourself when the world doesn’t go your way?


1) Design your goals and plan of action appropriately:


If you are looking for jobs, recognize that anywhere from 2%-20% of applicants for a position will get an interview. Aim to be in that top percentile with a targeted cover letter, resume, and application; but also recognize that at most, you may get one interview for every five positions to which you apply, even when you bring your best game.


If you are recruiting others to your cause – networking with potential employers about job openings, recruiting volunteers or board members for your organization, encouraging employees or colleagues to contribute towards common goals, asking voters or legislators to support your issues, or pitching your product or service to customers, investors, and funders – aim for 50/50.


Reach out to ten people; hope to connect with five. You can then be pleasantly surprised when 8/10 agree to talk to you, patient when three flake out at the last minute, and grateful when the five conversations lead to one or two further opportunities or active commitment.


2) Understand the power of positivity:


Recently, while serving as a reference for someone, I was shocked that the hiring recruiter asked only three questions: “Would you hire this person? Do you have any concerns? Is s/he a positive person?”


Your positivity (both in the best of times and under duress) is the most important ingredient in your success. Your attitude makes a difference!


You can’t fake happiness, and everyone is human. But you have the power to frame how you feel. You can choose to look for the silver lining and bring a thoughtful, upbeat, and open spirit to each endeavor.


The payoff: Your positive approach is likely to lead to more positive outcomes in all areas.


3) Keep going. Winston Churchill is quoted as saying: “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”


If you give up, your statistics for success are guaranteed to be 0%.


If you put things in perspective, reflect on your approach, and get motivated for the next opportunity, you can be 100% guaranteed that other options await your exploration.