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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

5 ways to get over disappointment fast [Wise Wednesdays]

As I wrote the title, I realised it needed an adjustment: we don’t get over disappointment. We get through it.

But it’s not how it feels in the moment. We hear the bad news, the rejection, the cancellation, and we want the feeling to disappear. We want to get on with life as if nothing happened.

I’ve had a good run of job interview success. But there was a period early in my career – my second job – where I hit a bottleneck. I applied 11 times and got rejected 10. No one else I knew was having this trouble. It felt lonely and terrible.

Eventually, I figured out what was wrong and got my dream job. But that’s a story for another day.

For now, I want to share 5 tools I use with my clients and myself when facing a disappointment (tip: they’re about how we relate to our experience of time):

[Read more or watch the video from minute 1.02]

1. Dialogue productively (learning from the past)

Disappointment can lead to shame and isolation. The antidote to isolation is (safe) connection and helpful information. Your brain responds by releasing happy chemicals which dispel the sense of powerlessness. Take quick steps to get feedback from someone willing. More importantly, dialogue positively with yourself to short-circuit any negative story.

2. Sing about it (letting go of the past)

Some people would say ‘vent about it,’ but that can be counter-productive because you repeat a story that doesn’t serve you. This wires in the disappointment. Eek. Giving room for your emotions is the fastest way to allow the feeling to metabolise. Music, dance, writing, and any creative expression will shorten the half-life of disappointment.

3. Relax and refocus (coming back to the present)

After a disappointment, your nervous system needs space, time, and care to return to its baseline of relaxed-alertness. So take a day off, do something you love, give something to someone else. Generosity is a super-fast antidote to any negative feeling because it turns your focus outwards and activates a sense of abundance.

4. Release your expectations (opening up to a new future)

Expectations are great if they raise your standards. But they’re also stories, and stories are often out of date. There is no such thing as a linear trajectory of success - c’mon, that would be boring! It’s more like a spaghetti bowl of experiments. Spend some time in nature and notice the beautiful, complex patterns you’re a part of. Remember: the best things are often unexpected.

5. Take positive action (creating your future)

Hopefully, you’ll notice how quickly disappointment can shift. Then all you need to do is listen to your calm inner voice – your next steps are about to unfold!

Disappointment is part of life, especially a life well-lived. As a coach, I often invite my clients to pay the ‘no game’ to experience the power of the open ask. So, if you want to take it to the next level, court disappointment! Treat disappointment like a spicy dish on the menu of a great life, and you’ll thrive.

Have a great week,


p.s. 2 tickets left for the next Leaders Circle (workshop) on Sept 15th. If you want to transform the way you communicate to make a bigger impact authentically, this special 2-hour event may be for you!

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