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How to survive your first disappointment in business

Sooner or later it gets you. Maybe you lose a business partner or a good employee, or maybe sales are dropping off dramatically or lose contracts, all of these can cause you a great disappointment.

If there was one thing that I really wish I could do for my clients, it would be to protect them from the emotional disappointment that can go along with running any business.

But I can't.

What I can do instead is tell them that it is inevitable and that chances are they survive and get back on track even stronger than before.

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." (Martin Luther King Jr.)

Being able to do that you need to develop one fundamental skill for entrepreneurs: emotional resilience.

What's that?

In a broad way, emotional resilience means bouncing back from a stressful encounter and not letting it affect our internal motivation.

It is not a “bend but don’t break” trait, rather resilience is accepting the fact that ‘I am broken’ and continuing to grow with the broken pieces together.

Emotional resilience is not about winning the battle. It is the strength to power through the storm and still keep the sail steady.

This skill takes years to master and it won't be a guarantee that when hardship hits you, you will bounce back immediately.

So while you are training yourself into becoming a little Buddha for your business, I give you some tips & tricks for bouncing back from a disappointment in business:

Continuously check your expectations

The main thing that makes you prone to disappointment is unrealistic expectations. In business you need to always check your expectations against the reality.

Accept that sometimes things just don't go according to plan

I don’t think there’s anybody in business who would say that they have all of the answers and that's the fun part of being an entrepreneur. There are so many variables in the marketplace, some really unexpected (does the pandemic sound familiar to you?), that it is impossible to control everything.

Get some self esteem infusion

Go to your family, to your friends or anybody that really believes in you and ask for some motivational speech that can boost your self esteem. If you watch any documentary describing how some great leaders achieved success, you will notice this remark: "She/He believed in me even when I wasn't".

Draw your learnings and reassess the situation

After you are done feeling sorry for yourself and after you got some trust in your entrepreneurial capacities, draw your learnings and use them to reassess the situation. It might serve you well to take a step back briefly to clear your mind, assess the situation and re-group, then come back with a new strategy for moving forward.

Disappointment is inevitable. But to become discouraged, there's a choice we all have to make.

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