Kathy Murphy

Think about the last time you received disappointing news or were disappointed by someone, something or yourself. Chances are the news put a damper on your day or spirits, and perhaps you continued to dwell on the disappointment, whether you wanted to or not.

Disappointments of any type are never fun to deal with, but how you handle them can be a game changer, literally. A fundamental thing to keep in mind when it comes to disappointments is that you have more control over them than you perhaps think you do. How is this possible? It’s possible because the way you deal with the news or situation is completely under your control, you simply have to embrace this fact.

Just about every day when I talk to people about how their day is going, I can sense when they are contending with something that happened to them which was less than desirable. Or, perhaps not the expected outcome they anticipated. Generally, if they are open to discussing what is on their mind, and it has to do with something negative, you can see a sense of relief on their face by discussing what is mentally beating them up.

Athletes are often very tough on themselves when something they did or that negatively happened to their team occurred. When this happens, I have seen them almost physically go into what I will refer to as neutral gear. My analogy of going into neutral gear isn’t the place they want to be, as it is a place where they get stuck, or park themselves into a place they cannot get out of. When this happens, they tend to lose focus, become less competitive than they normally are, and their performance is noticeably negatively impacted. This same thing can also happen to professionals in the workforce too.

So, how do I recommend to the athlete or professional person who is stuck in neutral gear how to get out of this gear and move onto first gear? Here are (5) things I teach them to do:

  1. Acknowledge the disappointment, but commit to moving on and not dwelling on it.
  2. Apply the 6-8-2 method used by many professional trainers and athletes. Breathe in for six seconds, breathe out for eight second and repeat this again. While doing this focus on what is disappointing you, and mentally tell yourself to release and move on from this thinking.
  3. Write down what you are disappointed about. Then write down one to two ways you can either deal with the disappointment, or turn the disappointment into a learning opportunity you can gain value from.
  4. Share your disappointment with someone else. Doing this allows you to release your mind from continuously thinking about the situation. By sharing your thinking about what has disappointed you, the listener also gains from the learning, and has a feedback opportunity. Their feedback might have some strong and valid suggestions on how to deal with your disappointment differently.
  5. Leverage the negative energy invested in your disappointment to fuel doing something better, or more positive for you or someone else.

I am not saying doing all five of the above things will magically make you feel better, but doing one or more of them will in fact allow you to move beyond your mind trapping you in neutral gear. In both work and sports, no one wants to be stuck in neutral gear, as you need to be continuously moving forward to make progress.

When you do not dwell on your disappointments, you will find that when they do occur, you will have developed the ability to make dealing with them much easier. Keep this in mind the next time disappointment strikes, and don’t let it get the best of you. You’re in control.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: My second book has been published! It is called                  Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer . This book and my first one Wisdom Whisperer are both available on Amazon. They make great gifts, and everyone needs a Mentor!

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