Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ask Isa: What do you do when you get discouraged?

My favorite thing to do in my day-to-day job is read questions from the Ask Isa inbox. Sadly I've been so behind in answering the questions during what's been a very busy speaking season.

I want to get back to it today and want to thank you for being so honest and sharing your questions. They keep me going when things get tough.

And that brings us to our question for today: 

Dear Isa,

What do you do when you get discouraged?



Dear :(,

Discouragement is the worst. 

The more I read about success and successful people, the more I see how common their failures are

I'd heard my whole life that failure is part of success (for years my little brother had that Michael Jordan poster about how many shots he missed and games he lost), but it's really hard to stay focused when you're in the pit of discouragement. 

I've recently had some discouraging times in my life, including last night when I checked my e-mail right before bed (bad idea!) and saw a YouTube comment where the person called me an idiot multiple times and talked about why community colleges were the worst. 

What helps me cope with those kinds of things is based on something Marie Forleo said - she never receives harsh criticism from someone who is more successful and whom she admires. If you think about it, the same is probably true for us all. 

Because successful people usually don't have time to dedicate to make someone else feel awful; they also know it's not a path to success.

I know criticism may not be what's discouraging you now, but it's definitely something that discourages me. Even though I know it's part of the process and journey, it still hurts. 

Below are the four things that help me get through the many many moments of discouragement and self-doubt that come when trying to move forward in your life. I hope they help:

1) Meet with close friends/mentors
Schedule a coffee or lunch with someone.Talk about why you're discouraged and ask for advice. More importantly, though, ask that person about their life and just listen. 

2) Write down your past successes and what you're thankful for
I'm all about writing down your goals, but sometimes you need to write down what you've already accomplished to remind yourself of how far you've come. Then write about the things that you're currently thankful for.

3) Journal
My journal is my best friend when it comes to discouragement. I journal every morning, even if it's only a few sentences; it helps me clear my head.

4) Read
Read books about successful people you admire. Every book about a successful person is jam packed with failure and discouragement. It's actually comforting, because reminds you that discouragement is normal and not a precursor to failure if you don't want it to be. 

It's how you handle discouragement that can set you apart and help you reach greater heights. 

So next time you're discouraged, see it as an opportunity to become more resilient, resourceful, and successful. 

And at the risk of sounding incredible cheesy, well, forget it, I'm going to just be cheesy and end with a line from a song I love:

It's always darkest before the dawn...




You can submit your question to the Ask Isa inbox here! 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Isa, I needed this. :) One cannot truly appreciate the coolness of a soft rain unless they have first walk through the fire of a desert.


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