Next Steps

I know I’m in fine company when I feel let down; we’ve all been there, and I’m certain will be again.

How strong are you when you lose a promotion, a job possibility, a client, or your job? What lessons do you take away? Do you go into a slump that exacerbates the situation for not only yourself, but also for others, or do you learn from it? I know that for me a slump can last thirty minutes or a few days. It’s human nature to feel badly about professional losses, and it’s up to you to either put on your big girl/boy pants and tighten the belt to move on, or wallow in the mire of self pity. I’ve done both with aplomb!

Each situation is different. Losing a $5,000 prospect when you have two or three others of the same or better fee in the pipeline poses minor frustration, but if it’s the only one you had for your monthly bottom line, nerves and emotions surrender: a melt down might ensue. As a sole proprietor one prospect can mean meals on the table or not, a vacation to the ocean or not, a feeling of self worth or not. Marketing for me is the key, and yet I struggle. Why?

Professional loss is less emotional – maybe – than personal loss: the loss of your home, a pet, a family member, a friend, a loved one. These losses hover over our hearts and head for months; it’s the memories of the good times. I’ll go more into this arena next time.

My friend, and a brilliant professional speaker, W Mitchell’s tag line is, “It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it.” Simple, yes; easy, not to me.

How we react and what next steps we take when we lose says more about us than almost anything we do. Our personal value system and characteristics come to play when we lose, more than when we win. Right now, I’m at a cross-roads and it’s causing me sadness, frustration and questions.

Working alone designates my cats and plants as daily support systems; if they do start giving me advice, then I’m in trouble. When I lose a prospect, a client or an opportunity I have only myself to blame or reflect on. The “why’s” hound me. What could I have done differently? Was my fee too high? too low, even? Did I not identify the pain and the resolution specifically enough? I think the best follow-up is to call the prospect and get a debrief: how can I do better the next time? But, paralysis sets in: making that phone call is hard.

Why do I put “blame” on the table? It’s so not necessary! The next steps would be to do more research? gain more information? read more about my niche and subject matters? hire a coach? call a mentor? find a mentor? Everyone of us experiences professional loss; it’s the market. But why am I stuck right now? Why am I feeling sorry for myself about where I am professionally and personally? What good do these feelings of inadequacy place on my tomorrow? I don’t know, but I do know that I have them and I have to feel them.

My next steps for not beating out the competition for two jobs is to get to work. To call other prospects. To call old clients and ask for referrals or more work. To use social media for outreach and support. To write about it, as I’m doing now.

What are your remedies for moving ahead? For “what you do about it,” when the grey clouds hover and the light is dim? Let me know, I ask for your advice and expertise; if you have some proven formula – you could put it on E-bay  – or Craig’s List – and make millions, but until then let me know. I need some outside guidance for my next steps.


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