Sometimes, things work out. You get a job, you get promoted, you score a date, you win a client, you hit the jackpot.
Other times, well, things don’t go quite as planned.
This past summer I signed up for a half-marathon training group. I had it all mapped out. I would run four times a week, train rigorously, and on race day I would cross the finish line in two hours flat. Little did I know that things were destined to turn out differently. Two months into training after a long, slow run, my knee gave out. The next day I could hardly walk. My entire upper leg was sore and I had a searing pain in my knee. Over the coming weeks the truth sunk in: no more race, no more running, no more victory.
Your own disappointment may come in the form of a breakup, a cancelled vacation, an unplanned sickness or an unforeseen rejection. Whatever it may be, you’ve hit a setback and now you’re stuck.
When things don’t go as planned, here’s how to move forward:
Be Mad & Miserable
It sucks. It really sucks. You’re bummed. You’re glum, and there’s no denying that you are furious. You had your heart set on something and now it feels like your life is in shambles. It’s ok. It’s healthy to acknowledge your true emotions rather than fighting them back or pretending they don’t exist. If you need to mope around, complain or cry, do that … for a little while.
There is only so long that you can sit and stew in the muck. If you’ve gotten to the point where you’re sick of obsessively churning the details over and over in your head, you know it’s time to move on. It can help to shift your thinking and put things in perspective. Could there be another opportunity in the future for you? Is there a way your experience could work out for the better? Give yourself the permission to dream again. Start researching what could be next rather than obsessing over what wasn’t.
Get Motivated Again
Once you start dreaming, set your sights on that something new. Something completely different. What excites you? Define it. Do something that brings you to a different place and that moves you out of your old mentality. When you move forward, even in small steps, your setback will move to the back of your mind. It will slowly begin to loose the power it once had.
Since my injury I’ve started thinking about tackling a swimming race and rejoining an ultimate Frisbee league (when my injury heals, of course). At some point in the future, I would like to train for a half-marathon again. My hopes have not been dampened for good.
If you’ve been caught off-guard by an unexpected change of events, it may be time to make peace and move on. You never know what amazing accomplishments may be waiting just around the bend.
When has a disappointment in your life led to something unexpectedly better?
Image via Chelsie Autumn Photography