Dealing with Disappointment

by Lynn Banis PhD - 

Responding in positive, healthy ways:

All of us have disappointments throughout life. Some of us seem to have more than others. The difficulty of dealing with disappointments is the same however.

People need coping skills to address their disappointment. Today, our schools, organized sports for kids, etc. have adopted the attitude that everyone wins.

How does that help children develop healthy skills to deal with disappointment? We learn coping skills very early in life. Now our children are not learning them and it becomes more difficult as one grows to respond to disappointment in positive, healthy ways.

This article presents a few...

Reasons people get disappointed and what you can do about it.
  • Not being clear about what you want.  
When we plan we have a better idea of the obstacles we may meet and are aware that we might not get what we want. When disappointment happens we can move on fairly quickly, especially if we have also created contingency plans. 
I urge my clients to always make contingency plans for things they really want. That helps them not be so frustrated when they don't get it and it alleviates a lot of the disappointment. 
  • Setting expectations that are too high.  
It is important to think through expectations to be sure they are attainable - maybe take a bit of stretching on your part - but still attainable. I have nothing against well-set stretch goals. As a matter of fact, I think they are important to continued growth. 
Pushing yourself to the next step is not bad except when you are not ready for it. You would be greatly disappointed if you pushed for a promotion, got it and then failed at the job because you were really not ready for it. 
  • Not being realistic.  
Often, we do not set realistic goals and expectations for ourselves. I have coaching clients who under estimate the amount of time it will take to do a job. Then they don't get the promised work in on time and they are disappointed with themselves. It works the other way too.  
One of my clients has found that she has been expecting way too much from her young children. She is getting a lot of rebellion from them because they are frustrated they can't do the assigned tasks and she feels disappointed in her parenting and in her children. When she became realistic about what she could expect things went much more smoothly.
The next time you are disappointed in something look to see if you have violated any of the items listed above.

Then develop coping skills to deal with your disappointment and re-establish your goals and expectations of yourself and of others.

If you really are stuck in this I recommend you find a well-trained coach who can help you see where you are getting in trouble and help you create new ways of coping.

About Author: Lynn Banis PhD, MCC, BCC is known as America's High Performance Coach. She specializes in helping women, executives and entrepreneurs make the most of their opportunities and potential. Her years of working with small and large businesses has given her a depth of knowledge that is invaluable to her clients. You can reach her at or at her email address listed on the site. Also check out Lynn's other businesses: Coach Academy International, a cutting edge coach training company; and Turnkey Coaching Solutions, a coaching program management and contract coach staffing company.

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