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10 ways to recover from a disappointment

A lot of things can change in under a minute, for the better or for the worse. Although much can be said for the attitude one approaches a situation with, sometimes things just don’t go our way. Whether it be a promotion we didn’t get, a personal opportunity that slipped through our fingers, or we lose the biggest fight in recent UFC history, life sometimes just doesn’t go to plan.

Bruised and KO’d, UFC champion Ronda Rousey must be wondering where it all went wrong. A champion in every sense of the word, Rousey’s confidence and prowess carried her into the ring. She had the flawless fight history, the bravado and the sense of invincibility on her side. But ultimately, it was a very different Rousey who was carried out of the ring after her defeat.

The pertinent question for us who are more used to donning metaphorical gloves is; what is there to learn from such a fall from the top? While Rousey recovers from her very public defeat, we thought we’d share a few helpful pieces of advice for all those who have suffered their own personal version of a knock out:

  • Face up – This is probably the hardest moment on the step to recovery: facing up to the feeling of failure. Overwhelming, ego-shattering and thoroughly unpleasant, it is however a necessary first step.
  • Allow yourself the opportunity to mourn – The enormity of the disappointment will determine how long and debilitating the mourning period will be. Regardless of the size of the setback, it is still importance to acknowledge the loss. Without acknowledgement there can be no room for development.
  • Give yourself a break – Be kind to yourself. Take some time to step back and recuperate.
  • Don’t play the victim or blame others – You may not have encountered this particular type of setback before, but you can apply a range of coping mechanisms you already use in day-to-day life to turn the corner. Meet up with friends, talk it out, engage in a hobby, just don’t lay blame at others feet.
  • Check back over your expectations – Anything is possible. This statement encompasses both the negative and positive parts of what is possible. Accepting that your expectations may have been unrealistic in the first place can greatly assist to break your negative thinking cycle.
  • Look for the silver lining – This is the turning point. What can you learn from your unexpected disappointment? Are there some skill gaps that you could address? Could you change your priorities to better approach the situation again in the future? Try to look at the situation as an opportunity to grow.
  • Find a new approachSMART work goals are there to help you find a new approach. If you currently aren’t feeling a clear new direction is in front of you, use SMART thinking to find a way to reconsider your next goal in a way that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. Using this approach you will also identify smaller successes along to way to achieving the ultimate triumphant result.
  • Dig deep again, find your grit – With your new goals set and your feeling of failure in the past, it is time to dig deep and take that first leap of faith. Persistence and determine will carry you far if you are prepared to follow the hard lessons they lay down: consistency, consistency, consistency.
  • Rewrite the story – You may feel differently about your disappointment now. Be prepared to have a different story for yourself and others about the event. More likely than not, what did seem like an overwhelmingly negative story now has definite shades of positivity.
  • Reframe your identity – ‘All the greats eventually fall one day,’ uttered UFC president Dana White after the fight. Rousey joins this list of the great who have been defeated but she will no doubt return to the ring, backed by her passion, strength and with a whole new perspective on the sport she ushered in. She may not be able to write ‘Undefeated’ beside her name, but she will come back a different fighter, stronger and more accepting of her own limitations. She’s human, after all.