My 4 Tips To Move On From Disappointment in your Business
One of the hardest things we have to deal with in our personal and business lives is to pick ourselves up after a disappointment.
You spend hours and hours writing a grant application, building the partnerships, scoping the programme and you are utterly convinced it will get funded. It is a perfect fit with the criteria and the track record of your team is strong. But with little explanation or feedback, another project receives the funding, and, worse still, you know that another project is flawed but they sold a good story. Injustice hurts even more.
You pitch to a group of investors who don’t appear to fully grasp your ambition or the market potential of your business. The questions that follow reinforce further that your product has been misunderstood, you walk away with no funding…again.
You have been using a tech team to develop your new app but their build is much slower than you anticipated. You had great expectations for this relationship as you know their work. You have a line of potential customers waiting to see try the app but it is simply not ready.
You have finally won a new and long term contract but the champagne doesn’t flow for long. The delay in getting the legal aspects done, means you are still being forced to downsize your team due to issues with cash flow.
These are the scenarios I see very frequently. The outcome of each is a huge disappointment. You know you have to pick yourself up and keep moving forward but what are some of the practical things you can do to create some focus and move on beyond the upset?
(1) Do not take it personally. Whether this relates to business or something more personal, still do not take it personally. It is very unlikely that anyone has set out to disappoint you and in a competitive environment, the reality is someone will be elated and someone left disappointed.
(2) Manage your emotions. Use the perspective from above to manage your emotions. Avoid blame. It is not personal so don’t make it that way in your own mind. Sit with the disappointment before you rush into making big decisions, it’s ok to shed a tear or two, don’t bottle it up or lock the disappointment away without processing it. It is absolutely OK to share how you are feeling with others and in fact a good thing to do in order for them to offer perspective and help.
(3) Revisit any assumptions or expectations. Can you think back to the start of the scenario that led to disappointment? What can you learn? What would you do differently next time? Did you make any assumptions that you now know to be incorrect? What expectations did you have that were unrealistic?
(4) Try it again. Having reflected and learned, the likelihood is you are ready to move forward or even give something a second go. With your new perspective, you can make constructive changes to your approach. Could you pre-empt the fact that contracts take a long time to go through the legal process? Can you prepare differently so investors understand your business more fully? Can you ask more upfront questions to test expectations when working with a new supplier?
Disappointment can’t be avoided but it doesn’t have to taint your attitude and motivation for too long. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge the emotions you have but also be practical.
“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It won’t happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.” Joel Osteen