On Dealing with Disappointment

Waiting in the airport hoping to catch an early flight back home and I’m thinking about how my meeting didn’t go quite as I had hoped. But I took away so much positive from it and already have my awesome action plan for improving the next meeting. I realized that I am seeing the optimistic side right off the bat because I’ve trained myself to have that point of view. So, I thought I’d write a quick post before my flight about how I deal with disappointment and set-backs. Like all of my ‘experience-sharing’ posts, take it all with a grain of salt and feel free to share your experiences too!

There’s a reason clichés are …. cliché. There are many experiences that are universal. Yes, I’ve watched a pot not boil. I too have counted my chickens before they hatched and had my back against a wall because I bet my bottom dollar barking up the wrong tree.

And, the ‘When God closes a door, he opens a window’ characterization is equally true.
When you are in business, there are often doors closed, shut and slammed in your face. And sometimes, it’s hard to see the window at first. Here are my favorite tips for recovering when you are disappointed in a business situation:
1. Have a pity party. Acknowledge you are disappointed. Your feelings ARE justified. You just had your favorite store say ‘No’/(insert your experience here). Wallow. FOR ONE DAY. No more than that. Another pithy yet true saying Bramble Berry’s business coach says is “Celebrate your successes for one day. Mourn your losses for one day. After one day, move on.”

2. Call your trusted friends and advisors. Talk it out. Tell them about the experience. If you’re on Day One, you can wallow and whine about how unfair it all is. Good friends are awesome for this. They’re on your side no matter what. But, if you’re not still on Day One, suck it up and start to problem solve with them.
3. Action. So you didn’t land the sale/get into the juried craft show/get product placement in a big magazine; that’s okay. And what’s your plan to change it and make it better next time? Rip that scab wide open and Monday morning quarterback. What went wrong? If there is someone to ask, be sure to ask your account rep/media contact/decision maker why you didn’t make the sale or why you didn’t get product placement rather than speculating. Then, move into planning: what is the action plan to fixing it next time? WRITE IT DOWN. Action plans are useless if you don’t write them down and commit to being accountable.
4. Work off that stress and tension. Like the song says, “move it move it.” When you work out, you give your body something to do while your brain can zone out and process without you constantly second guessing yourself (you already did that, remember?). Physical activity is a great stress relief no matter if it’s walking, running or weight lifting. Just do something to get yourself out of your house/office and in a different situation. Move your body. Let your brain wander as your limbs work out your stress and dismay.
5. Fake it ’til ya’ make it. Just like the ‘Shopping is Psychological’ post, what is the way you can reframe this in your head?
  • You didn’t get the account: “Wow, I didn’t walk out with a Purchase Order but I sure am closer to one the next time!”
  • You were promised placement in magazine/tv and it didn’t happen: “We didn’t get placed this time but I am so excited that I have this contact for next time.”
  • You didn’t get into a juried show: “Well, that’s okay. They have my stuff for next year and man, look at the cute designs I thought up just for the show. They will be great on Etsy/my own site/Artfire/another craftshow/to send to potential wholesale accounts”
There will be another chance. Just think how much you learned. Work on those takeaways. And, be sure to look out for that window. It will open up. I promise.


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  1. Carol says

    I agree with Christine. I think your positive and cheerful outlook is one of the keys to your success. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us!

  2. Christine says

    Your positive attitude is always so inspiring — I think that is a key to your success over the past 10 years. I'm so grateful for learning so much from you! I'm cheering you on!

  3. Morgane et Romeo says

    Welcome back home Anne-Marie! And thank you for sharing your positive thoughts even when you are feeling a little low! You impress me!!

  4. Anne-Marie says

    Oh Kelly, I am so so sorry. My heart aches for you and your friend's family. What a devastating holiday season for you all.

    I am proud of you for putting one foot in front of the other though and continuing to work on your dream. It will still be waiting after the grief starts to lessen but nurturing it just a little bit and not letting it wither during this difficult time will pay dividends when you are ready to go full-speed ahead again.

    You don't need to make major progress but just put your foot on the brake and don't backslide.

    A & M, I totally splurged on a 1 hour workout at the gym this morning and a bit of sugar as a pick me up. It was such a treat! And, it's great to be back home after traveling. I miss my home and the office when I travel.

  5. aandmcreations says

    You are so right! Sometimes everyone around you thinks you're crazy. They don't understand your passion, surely don't want to own their your own business, much less work more than 8 hours in a day, attend some craft show or fair. What do you do???? You go to the SOAP QUEEN. Seriously, you see what Anna Maria is doing, and it always puts things into perspective. If you're not sure what's next, she has already written about it and you'll find it, and along the way, another really cool idea for soap! Sorry it didn't work out this time, but I know next time you're going to be gang busters! God will always open a window. We just have to be looking!!!! You've open many windows for all of us!!! Thanks and keep your chin up, or have a cupcake!

  6. Kelly Taylor says

    What a timely post!

    I have been out of the loop for 3 or 4 days.

    On Tuesday evening right around 5PM I got a call saying that one of my closest friend's 29 year old daughter was hemorrhaging in her brain from a burst aneurism. We all went to the hospital and wept and prayed and wept and hugged and wept and prayed and prayed.

    She died yesterday and they harvested her organs at 2 this morning.

    I had to peel myself off the flannel sheets this morning.

    With no understanding you trust. But in business you have to get understanding to move forward!

    Today I am forcing myself to work and trust that the family will have the spiritual resources to handle their loss.

    Meanwhile I got my biggest order ever and am hoping to score many many more at some local fire stations, but somehow I almost don't even care.

    But you know what? I should and so we just put one foot in front of the other and carry on.

    Just wanted to let you know that I wasn't tired of y'all!


  7. TeresaR says

    "Turning lemons into lemonade" is definitely something you excel at, Anne-Marie! Thanks for sharing your strategies on how you keep upbeat and keep on trucking. I learn so much from all your stories – successes or not-quite-successes. :)

  8. Anonymous says

    I really love that although you do choose to be fiercely positive, you acknowledge that a big part of that is dealing with the parts that don't work out the way you want. Very refreshing, in a world full of self-help gurus that preach that all is sweetness and light! This sets you apart as the best source of business coaching I have found on the internet, soaping or otherwise! So, thanks Anne-Marie! And, onward!

  9. soapbartender says

    I love that you encourage the pity party…a crucial step in moving on. The physical workout? MUCH harder to do! I've had the "when one door closes, another one opens" fortune cookie saying taped to my computer for years. Everything really DOES happen for a reason….you just have to dig deep sometimes to find it.

  10. Julie van Oosten says

    There you go again, finding a positive in something that was not to be. Sharing it with the world and inspiring thousands! You are one cool chicky babe! Some things happen for a reason and maybe you cant see it right away but it is there. I love reading your inspirational blog Anne-Marie, I really do!

  11. Traci Lowenthal says

    Hi Anne Marie. I'm very new to soap making – and love it. But what I love more, is how positive you are, and that you share that positivity in your blog. You have an awesome attitude, which makes me even more excited to support your business! :) YOU ROCK!

    Traci in California!

  12. Anne-Marie says

    It is definitely all good – and I'm excited about all the information that I got in the meeting – even with the not totally planned for outcome. It's lots of good stuff to move forward with so I feel very positive about how I can re frame the experience to eventually make it a win-win =) And, I appreciate the support. You guys are great!

  13. Emotions Bath and Body Products says

    Im sorry the meeting didnt go well. You have a great attitude and I love your tips for staying positive.

  14. Marmalade Hills says

    Anne Marie, you are sooooo right! This is exactly what my husband says to me when I feel down. And it WORKS! Learn your lesson, make improvements and move on! Tomorrow IS going to be a better day, no doubt.

    Thank you for being such an inspiring person!

  15. innerearthsoaps says

    What a fantastic, positive post. You're truly inspiring, even in the face of disappointment!

  16. SimplyPureSoyCandles says

    so sorry AnneMarie, but thank you so much for again always giving us your point of view this helps us all, and your encouragement is always wonderful, so you just keep those wonderful posts coming!!

    Hope that you have a great evening to make up for a bad day ♥

  17. Soapylove says

    So sorry to hear it didn't go as well as hoped. Every experience is a learning experience.

    Your encouragement is great. Thanks for being able to offer help to others when you're having to deal with a disappointment yourself.

    A glass of wine makes everything better. Here's a toast to "better luck next time!"