How to Stop Disappointment
Hello, everyone. Shall we start again? I’m Coach Rebecca Smith, founder and director of Complete Performance Coaching, and today I’m talking about how to stop disappointment in it’s tracks. This is my topic today because a lot of people are experiencing disappointment right now. If you’re just tuning in, prior to this moment, I was chatting to myself for seven minutes with no audio. This might have been considered a disappointment to some, but I’m so good at talking because I run an online business! I have tech trouble all the time and just shake it off like, “Okay. Next!”
Anyway, I want to offer you three ways to stop disappointment in its tracks so it won’t take you down. You can stop disappointment from sending you into a downward spiral. Then once you have processed it, not a moment before, you can turn it into a strength.
No, no, no, no. That’s not how this was supposed to go. That was my disappointment. What was yours?
I know a lot of athletes have been facing disappointment. I had the opportunity to work with a group of athletes this week in one of my local gyms who I just love and adore. They’re already in a situation where it took forever to get back to the gym, they got back and had to modified practices, and then to top it off, last week, Sonoma County and practically the whole state of California started burning. The air quality has been so bad they went back on Zoom for practice. These kids were so deflated. They were so disappointed because they finally got back in, started making some progress, and now they’re back on Zoom.
So I brought them this self-compassion exercise that I would like to practice with you. Think about a recent disappointment and think about how it makes you feel. Maybe it makes you tense, yucky, or even sick. It can make you feel like completely hopeless or saps all of your energy. Then what? You might start thinking, “Why even bother if I’m just going to keep getting hurt or have mental blocks? More smoke might come, the pandemic is still here… what is the point?” It’s easy to get into this place of anger. So here’s what you do:
1. Acknowledge This is Hard
Just own it. If you brush it off and say, “It’s okay. I’m okay. Keep going. It’s fine,” those feelings are going to build up inside you because you’re not fine. You don’t feel fine, and sadness or whatever is living inside of you has not been processed, so it just gets packed down with denial to the point where you can’t take a deep breath. Then you get so stressed, you become this ticking time bomb of sadness, fear, or anger, and that’s when big emotions come flying out. You’ll think, “Whoa, where did that come from?” You have to acknowledge that this is hard. I know it sounds kind of simple, but just doing that sets the stage for you to be able to process through that emotion.
2. Think Big Picture
You’re not alone. Instead of thinking this is so hard on me, why me, poor me, consider somebody else in the world is having a moment of suffering, too. Maybe somebody else is having to do distance learning with their kids against their will. Perhaps someone else is injured. Someone else is dealing with a mental block. When you take a second to realize you’re not the only one, it allows you to breathe. It takes you out of isolation and self-pity and opens up your awareness that there are other people too, and you’re not alone. Then once you have acknowledged both, this is hard and I’m not the only one.
3. Talk to Yourself Like You Would a Friend
If you think about a friend who is suffering, or that other person who is injured, who has a mental block, someone who lost their job… To that other person who’s experiencing a disappointment – what would you say to them?
“Oh honey, I’m so sorry. This is rough.”
“I can’t believe this is happening to you. You poor thing.”
“I love you. I believe in you.”
“It’s going to be okay.”
What we tend to do in those moments of disappointment is say, “I’m so stupid. What’s wrong with me? Why am I doing this?” What we need to say is, “I know this isn’t what you were expecting. I’m so sorry. I love you. This too shall pass. You’re going to be okay.” That’s the way we want to talk to ourselves. For whatever reason, this is not what we naturally do when disappointment strikes.
When I ran this exercise with this group of kids, I asked, “How do you feel thinking about your disappointment?” Most responded that they were sad, angry, sick. After the exercise, I asked how they felt again, and they felt relaxed. We did actual imagery where they imagined talking to themselves in that way, and they were relaxed. They were lighter. I felt glowy. My chest, the part of me that tends to tense up when I’m crunching my emotions down and pretending everything’s okay, felt so open.
So that is an exercise of visualization that you could actually practice. Go into the disappointment – feel it, acknowledge it, and then give yourself that compassion. Open your eyes to the fact that you’re not alone.
Another tool I want to share with you is a game that I may have shared with you before. This is for after you have taken the time to acknowledge that it’s not ok, that things are hard, and you’ve told yourself it’s going to be ok. The game is called Unfortunately, Fortunately. I talk about this in the parent course I have in my online community, PerformHappy. The game goes like this:
1. Come up with something unfortunate.
Ex: One person says, “Well, unfortunately, the gym’s closed because California is on fire.”
2. Respond with something fortunate that comes out of the unfortunate situation
“Fortunately my injuries have time to heal.”
“Unfortunately, I can’t hug my coach.”
“Fortunately, I’m getting really good at air fives. Fortunately, we’re making it fun in different ways.”
Stop Disappointment, Find the Silver Lining
So that’s what I suggest. If you’re dealing with disappointment, own it, recognize you’re not the only one, and then give yourself some love, and find the goodness. Find the silver lining. It’s a process. You might not be able to do all of this in one day. You might need a day of being like, “Ugh! Somebody hug me!” Then maybe the next day or the day after you can say, “Okay, this is good because there’s always something good. There’s always a silver lining.”
Ok everyone, thank you for tuning in and bearing with my sound difficulties. I also want to mention – if you are looking for ways to become more resilient, to bounce back quickly, I have a free download for you. Click here for my Sport Confidence Roadmap – it gives you seven steps to building lasting self-confidence!