As much as I hate to see bad things happen to people in this industry, I also hate seeing them dwell in their own misery. The hardest thing, for me, is watching someone refuse to take responsibility for their portion of–or learn from–whatever nightmare they endured.
This post was written to help you move on. This reality-check may contain some harsh truths. Remember, I only hit you because I love you.
1.) Stop crying.
The severity of what happened is irrelevant. Did your staff walk out on you? Did the salon owner boot you out without an eviction notice? Did your coworker break your flatiron, key your car, and kill your dog? Yeah, those things are bad and it’s unfortunate that you had to suffer them, but wasting time feeling sorry for yourself accomplishes nothing. You’re crying over spilled milk.
What’s done is done. Don’t waste a single second placing blame on others or victimizing yourself.
Those behaviors are unproductive and self-destructive. Make a decision to end this useless behavior immediately and instead, use that time to start taking steps to rectify your situation.
2.) Take responsibility for the part you played.
You likely played a part in this too, whether you know it or not. You may have taken your landlord’s promises on faith instead of getting them in writing. You might have allowed a defiant, troublesome employee to stir the pot in your salon for too long. Your dog-killing friend probably showed signs of instability that you chose to ignore.
Think hard about how your choices may have contributed to this.
It’s possible someone chose to make you a victim and there was nothing you could have done to prevent it—that happens, too. However, if you can identify where you went wrong you need to acknowledge that and make a promise to yourself never to allow it to happen again. The lessons you learn from a negative experience are invaluable, and likely the only silver lining you’ll see.
3.) Learn from this.
Experiences are not meaningless if you learn something from them. The lesson can be as simple as, “Get everything in writing from now on,” or, “Never allow an employee to stir up a mutiny under my roof,” or, “Never trust a potential serial killer with a beloved shih-poo.”
Instead of letting this experience make you miserable, try to squeeze a lesson out of it.
See this experience not as a loss, but as an investment in your professional education.
Consider yourself a better person from this point on for having lived through it.
4.) Understand that this singular event doesn’t define you.
You are not a bad person or a stupid person—even if you played a substantial role in the event. Maybe you made a mistake (or a series of them). So what?
Mistakes are how we learn, grow, and improve moving forward.
Don’t brand yourself with titles like, “idiot,” “naive,” or “bitter unlikable loner whose passing shall not be mourned.” The pity party is over, remember?
See your bright side here: you’ve learned where you’ve gone wrong and you’ve learned how to prevent it from happening again! Your user/abuser gave you the gift of knowledge and increased awesomeness–that silly fool.
5.) Take control.
You are nobody’s victim. Bad things are going to happen to you—that’s just how life works. You can’t control the actions of others but you can control your own. Now you can continue your forward momentum by proactively changing your own life and directing your future. Find a new job, hire new staff, press animal manslaughter charges against Crazypants McGoo for murdering your precious Snuffykins!
You control your destiny! Go forth, make a plan, and make that destiny legendary.
6.) If you still need to gain perspective, embrace your spectacular freedom.
You’re an adult! You can eat ice cream for breakfast! You can get in your car and drive to Vegas on a whim! Nobody owns you, you rockstar son of a bitch! Bad things happen sometimes, but it’s cool. You know why? Because you have the freedom to flip that jerk the double-bird and blow $50 on gourmet chocolates, that’s why.
If you continue to let the negative experience occupy space in your mind or affect your life, you are giving the Bad Guys what they want.
They are winning. That’s unacceptable. Don’t give them that kind of power over you.
If you fail to learn from your experiences and refuse to turn your misery into proactivity, you are only hurting yourself, and I think we can both agree that you deserve much better than that.
Have you ever had a bad professional experience? What happened and how did you deal with it? Did you spend too much time mourning, questioning yourself, and crying into your cup at that pity party, or did you take charge and fight for yourself? Do you feel you’re better off now? Tell us in the comments!