You’ve had a major setback. You got passed over for a big promotion at work, or the big recording contract slipped through your fingers, or you lost out on the job of your dreams after being called back for a third interview. We’ve all had to deal with setbacks, but the trick is to slide through them with ease and not let them slam us back to the raw beginning. Just because there’s a crack in the wall, doesn’t mean the room needs to be demolished.
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Before the crack in the wall expands into the next room, try out these 5 coping strategies. Get moving in a positive direction after a major setback.
1. Cool your jets. When the setback hits, don’t fall prey to an emotional meltdown. Just. Don’t. Go. There. Tamp down that anger and frustration, swat it away like that pesky mosquito. Rise above the despondency that trails disappointment like a shadow. Reserve the hot jets for the hot tub and not your emotions.
2. Hold your head high. With all big projects, there are so many moving parts that a shift in any one thing could have changed the course of the events that didn’t fall in your favor this time around. When things fall apart, don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that you did something wrong. Hold your head high even if you feel like hiding under the covers for a week and remember that second, third and fourth place are also great accomplishments, so don’t get hung up on first place.
3. Don’t burn your bridges. Handle this setback with grace and you may be first in line for the next opportunity. Pretend you’re walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards telling Ryan Seacrest that “it’s an honor just to be nominated”. Even if it feels like B.S. to you at the time, don’t wear your disappointment on your sleeve, especially if “who you’re wearing” is Dior or Armani.
4. Mind your manners. Thank the person who handed you the axe. It’s like my favorite cooking show where the chef that serves chewy octopus gets chopped. (How do you tenderize octopus?) Thank them for the opportunity to participate even though it didn’t turn out as you hoped. Be gracious. Put on your best fake smile, and before you know it you really will feel like smiling.
5. Be a team player. Even if you got passed over for this opportunity, the next one could be yours if you play your cards right. Stack the deck by taking a good look at how you can improve your chances for success with a can-do attitude, more training, honing your skill set, and making yourself indispensable. You know what you need to do, so what are you waiting for?