Theresa Byrne helps you examine how you handle disappointment. Do you have “emotional competency”?
What do you do when something you’ve been counting on, hoping for, and working towards doesn’t work out? What happens when you find yourself disappointed, or crushed? What happens when things don’t go your way? I really want to know.
It could be a new job, a new project, a business, a dating relationship that had great potential, an argument with someone close or your current life status. If you imagined yourself successful, in a loving relationship, or with a bestseller in hand and your current conditions don’t mirror that particular quality at all–how do you deal?
What do you do when that thing you’ve envisioned just doesn’t cut it? Or if it’s an abysmal “not win”? Would you call these fails?
There are a myriad of ways to handle these things; we must learn how to handle them because they will happen. Whether you call them failures, mistakes, mishaps, missed steps, missed takes (personal favorite), or bombs. Before you let the gremlins in your head take over after a mishap, I’d offer you some things to ponder.
You can pout.
You can throw a tantrum.
You can numb out using a variety of methods.
You can find someone or something to blame.
You can listen to those awful self-critical thoughts (self-blaming, one of my pitfalls).
You can let the failure inform you.
You can block your feelings of disappointment.
You can pretend you’re OK.
You can re-establish ground and move forward differently.
You can use the failure as “feedback” and learn from it.
You can throw things.
You can lick your wounds.
You can yell at God or the universe.
You can sit and wallow and enjoy a Pity Party.
You can get stuck in the mire of what went wrong and stay there.
Or you can develop a skill I call “Emotional Competency.”
Emotional Competency is a skill we teach to children as young as 3-years-old in the martial arts studio, and here’s how I explain it: “It’s how you deal with disappointment, it’s how you handle life when things don’t go your way. Emotional Competency is learning how to move yourself toward what you want, even in the face of feeling sad, mad, or upset because you’ve been let down. It’s moving through an upset even when you didn’t get what you wanted.” I know it sounds very lofty, but teaching this skill to children has reminded me how many adults can benefit from it as well. Myself included.
Last week I held my first webinar, a live online class teaching The Secret of Boundaries. The whole series is called, “Take Back Your Power – 5 Steps to Unleash Your Inner Warrior” and I was teaching the first step. It covers patterns, tips, techniques, tricks, framework and mindset work I’ve spent decades teaching live. I KNOW this stuff–I live it– but the online component is brand new to me. It felt like an epic fail.
I poured out my heart and soul live on this webinar for about 47 minutes after having advertised it all over social media and asking others to help me get the word out. In the class I told stories, went over the secret of boundaries, and then offered people a chance to join me in a course starting in January.
I’ve spent months developing the online systems to be able to support this, all while healing my brain. It was at the request of a woman in Canada to get my work online that I was really motivated to do this now, especially after the car accident that gave me a TBI (traumatic brain injury) has waylaid me from teaching martial arts in the studio as I was pre-accident. I had complete anxiety about this–the Unknown Of Online Teaching–but I did it anyway.
Why was it a fail? Without my knowing it, the video I was shooting live (and being recorded) kept freezing, and cutting out. People were dropped off. And exactly no one saw the links to sign up for my new Inner Warrior course starting in a few weeks. Epic fail. There are several places I could’ve gone with this, and using my life and teaching as an example I’ve chosen to write about it. Let you into the inner workings of how I’m handling a fail.
At first I was relieved my first webinar was done. Then the gremlins started. Boy did they come at me hard, yelling at me that I should probably quit webinars and online teaching wasn’t my thing. My brain released a bunch of adrenaline that turned into anxiety. So much anxiety that I felt overwhelmed and shut down.
That’s when I knew what I needed to do: feel the feelings and not fight them. Then instead of wallowing in my own Pit of Despair, I needed to move into my neocortex, which takes action and creativity. I took baby steps. I wrote down what I spoke about and put it into steps, and not allowing myself to see it as a complete failure, but as a “not win.”
I’d offer these tips, both to young kids and us not-so-young kids:
Watch how you view it. By calling it a “not win” I was able to see it more positively.
Find something you learned. I learned how to organize my information to deliver it online.
Talk it out. Find a trusted colleague or friend and share your feelings with them, Find someone that won’t judge you but holds your best interest as well, meaning they want your success. Coaches are phenomenal at helping people through these stuck places.
Ask yourself if there’s one next step you can take. It might not get you your goal immediately, but what’s the next positive action you can take toward it.
Breathe. Anxiety lives on our adrenaline and to be able to move it through our bodies we must breathe. Deep breaths help us through that anxious feeling so we let go of the shallow fight, flight or freeze energy.
Move or DO SOMETHING. Anything. We can work the adrenaline through our bodies physically, or take some actions. I like cleaning or organizing for this, it gets my mind off the subject and allows me to feel like I’ve done something positive. And gets me out of my head.
Look at your goal again, or apply what you learned. In re-evaluating I saw that I still had some great things to teach and I was just going to try it again, using what I learned and recording a video first instead of doing it live.
Distract your gremlins. If, like me, you have an attack of head gremlins to deal with then I suggest taking little steps, or distracting them by giving them something else to focus on. You can go about your goals from another angle. “Oh I’m just writing down these ideas for something later…nothing to see here…just taking notes.” A friend of mine told me that the bigger your goal or dream, the more resistance shows up. Find a creative way around the resistance but doing small things.
My plan is to do my webinar again, because I do have so much to offer around what I call “higher self-defense” and the use of boundaries in every day life to keep us sane, sacred, and safe. And if my own head gremlins show up, I’ll distract them with something shiny while I get my work done. Wish me luck!
Photo courtesy of Jason Bolonski/Flikr