No matter how seasoned and successful you are, you still may experience disappointments and setbacks. Here are tips to empower you.

Read this several times:

No one is immune from experiencing career setbacks, disappointments and regrets and making mistakes big and small.

Setbacks come in many forms for all of us. See if these situations sound like you. I’ve added possible solutions for each item.

1. Inaction: “I delayed acting on something. I tend to be a thinker, but I should have trusted my instincts. Now I missed out on a great opportunity.”

Discussion and Solution: Just because you missed out on an opportunity, it doesn’t mean that you used the wrong approach. Inaction usually occurs because the risk is too high or the deadline is too tight for you to investigate. Maybe the opportunity doesn’t fit your mission. If these descriptions fit your situation, then you were probably smart in not acting. On the other hand, you might have missed out on an opportunity because you avoid risk out of fear of making a wrong decision.

The next time you face an opportunity, ask for more time. Make a list of questions or information you need to ask. Now make a two-column chart. One side has reasonable doubts, and the other side has your worst fears. Discuss your misgivings and fears with someone with business savvy.

2.Hastiness: “I shouldn’t have jumped so quickly, but I was so excited about working with Dr. Big Deal. Now I realize my involvement isn’t good after all. It’s costing me money and time! How could I have been so gullible? I should know better. I often say yes to things I shouldn’t.”

Discussion and Solution: Oh, we’ve all been seduced and flattered by someone or something that seems too good to be true. At the time, though, you felt recognized and valued. How could you pass that up? Similarly, many of us have agreed to be part of a project—and then regretted it later. Perhaps you were committing to something to help a friend or relative, and you felt you couldn’t say no.

The next time you are asked to give your time, energy—and perhaps money, first step back and ask yourself: Is this too good to be true? What will be asked of me? Do I really have the time? Do I really need to be flattered, needed and respected that much? Can I say no, even if I feel uncomfortable—or selfish? Stay focused on your career goals, values and projects. No one is going to look out for you better than you.

3. Rejection: “I can’t believe I didn’t get that contract or win that prize or be invited into this exclusive group. I’m better than Lucky Lucy.”

Discussion and Solution: There’s no question that rejection hurts—literally. Physical pain and emotional hurt share similar neural connections in the brain. Don’t wallow in negative thoughts or beat yourself up if you’ve been overlooked. Stop thinking that this chance is the only big one you’ll ever get. And maybe it is—some opportunities may not knock twice. But so what? Are you really going to devalue your effort and accomplishment because of one Big Time Rejection? There are always opportunities—including ones you create.

We all want to be valued, but make sure you know how to value yourself. To cope with rejection, get proactive. Make a list of what you’ve overcome in your life. Did you have parents who were abusive, poor or sickly, for example? Did you spend years in a bad marriage where you accepted emotional crumbs? Or were you ill?

Now make a list of all the negative thoughts about yourself that crop up during tough times. There’s no point in ignoring them. But now next to each negative thought write your rebuttal. You might say: “So I had rotten parents and was a late bloomer. Better to be late than never bloom. And look how far and well I’ve come. That took inner strength. My siblings never made it out.”

Don’t shoulder all the responsibility for not having been selected. Remind yourself that there is a good chance that these decision-makers had personal agendas and perhaps aren’t as good as their image. There are almost always hidden reasons for rejection that have nothing to do with you.

4. Bad Personal Timing: “I’m just not my best self now, and I’m not able to focus, prioritize or give it my all.”

Discussion and Solution: Even very emotionally healthy, happy and smart people go through rough patches. Life happens to everyone at some point. Yes, it’s horrible timing that just when you were hitting your stride, you had some bad things crop up.

Instead of being angry, accept that life is not fair. And there is no reason to blame you for something beyond your control. Adjust your timeline for your goals. You might also be surprised that after you’ve come through these trying times that you’ve actually changed your goals or their importance. Read again your lists of what you’ve overcome, your good qualities and your accomplishments.

5. Failure: “I blew it.”

Discussion and Solution: Yep, you did. Your plan didn’t work. You didn’t make a good impression. Well, who hasn’t messed up? Laugh, get a perspective. Learn from what went wrong. Schedule a few pity party moments, and then activate your inner value by reading your list and rebuttals again. Give up the idea that you have to be perfect to be loved, appreciated and competent. Work on tweaking your intuition. Read some books on reading people.

Hope these tips helped.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, Ed.D, MSS, MA, is a nationally recognized psychologist and licensed clinical social worker, specializing in women's issues in love, life, work, and family. Sign up on her website,, to receive free advice, blog, cartoon, and information about her two upcoming research-based, self-help books for women: The Love Adventures of Almost Smart Cookie-a cartoon, self-help book and Smart Relationships. You can follow Dr. Wish on Twitter.