#18 2010, How do you handle disappointment?
How do you handle disappointment?
How do you handle major disappointments like divorce or the loss of a job or a loved one? Are you a crier, a door slammer, or a turtle retreating into your shell? How you handle those first few hours of a major disappointment is indicative of how you will cope for the foreseeable future. My best thoughts on how to handle a major disappointment include…
· Give yourself permission to grieve for a set amount of time, whether it be one day, one week, or one month, but then, move ahead. The quicker you focus on tomorrow, the quicker you will heal.
· Let out your frustration; yell, cry, run. Let all of that sadness and anger out as soon as possible. Don’t sit on all that negativity; it will only delay your recovery.
· Kitty’s rule of three: Tell the whole sad story, with all the gory details, three times: to a friend, a therapist, or Diefenbaker (the dog in the photo). Then, put it away. This takes discipline, but rehashing the story again and again will only slow your recovery. I use this rule often, and as difficult as it is, it works!
· Live in the here and now. We’ve all heard Oprah talk about living in the moment, but when you are disappointed, it’s really important. Live through the disappointment and then live in the moments of recovery; don’t keep revisiting the scene of the accident! When you feel yourself rewinding the tape, consciously move your thoughts to tomorrow and something positive. Don’t revisit the pain and sadness. It’s not productive, and it’s not healthy.
· Focus on your options and what you have learned; it will give you hope and the encouragement to move ahead and to be a better leader for the experience. I truly believe that from disappointment comes learning and wisdom.
· Get busy. In those first few healing days, physical activity will turn off the sadness in your mind and help you feel better. Clean out the garage, go to the gym, or volunteer at a food bank; do anything to get your body moving.
· Build into those first few days the things that make you happy. For me, it’s a walk with Diefenbaker, a trashy novel, chocolate, and perhaps a bit of retail therapy…like a new pair of shoes.
I hope you never face any major disappointments in your life. Realistically, though, it’s a part of living and caring for folks. How we handle them speaks volumes about us and the kind of library leaders we want to be.
kpope #18 June 2010