These four steps may unlock the secret to a better life, if you’re willing to do the work.

When things don’t go your way, it’s easy to become disappointed, frustrated, or angry. But what if you could turn that bad experience into something positive?

Image contains this saying: one way out is through.
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Imagine yourself in this position: you and your spouse have been house hunting for months. A house in your favorite neighborhood came on the market and it was priced right for your budget. You saw the house with your Realtor and presented an offer to the seller.

While you awaited the seller’s response, you and your spouse started imagining your life in the house, even going so far as to pick out new furniture and paint colors while you waited for the seller’s response. The more work you put into planning your new life, the more excited you got about it.

The seller’s response was not what you expected. Instead of accepting your offer, you learned you were outbid by another buyer. Worse, the other buyer was paying in cash and had already set a closing date for 7 days from now.

What emotions might you experience? Hurt? Anger? Frustration? Grief? Exasperation? Maybe all of them, either simultaneously or one after the other as you considered all the things you had lost in the transaction.

It would be easy to stay in that cycle of negative emotions. After all, you had made a fair offer and were already approved for financing. And you had spent all that time imagining your life in the new house. But what makes it really hard to take is it’s not the first time you’ve been through this in your house hunt. This is the fourth time!

Don’t give up yet. Here’s how you can turn a bad experience into something positive.

First, recognize your experience as valid. Yes, you were excited to see the house and make an offer on it. And you were even more excited to imagine what your life could be like living there. So having your offer rejected is going to lead to hurt feelings and frustration. It’s how we’re made and there’s nothing wrong with it. You have permission to be sad or angry and to experience the energy that exists within those emotions. The key to unlocking resilience is what you do with that energy.

Next, find a productive outlet for the energy of those negative emotions. Maybe it’s taking a long hike to the top of a nearby mountain or a long bike ride through your favorite part of the city. Whatever your choice is, use the energy to do something you like doing. While you’re burning off the residue of rejection, your brain will recognize the activity you enjoy and likely release serotonin and endorphins, leaving you with a feeling of reward and excitement to engage in something productive. It’s here where you can begin to leave behind the negative and move beyond the pain.

Many people will stop here. And while that’s fine, the next steps are where you turn a bad experience into something positive.

Look for the opportunity the loss created. Beyond the pain of loss is a place of wisdom that allows you to see what opportunity was created in the thing that disappointed you. Maybe you dodged a bullet because the house had a termite infestation. Or maybe a house you like even more comes on the market the next day. What we can’t see when we’re experiencing the downside of any situation is that there’s an upside to it, as well. Climbing out of the pit of despair takes you to a higher vantage point, where optimism and hope are accessible to you again. And once you’re reconnected to these powerful motivators, anything is possible again.

Finally, take inventory of what you learned and carry it into your future. This is sometimes the hardest part of moving beyond hurt, but by spending a bit of time reviewing your experience, you may find some valuable information that could keep you from experiencing the same thing in the future. It might be as simple as recognizing that while it’s good to dream about the future, it’s not always beneficial to be limited to one house as you dream. Or maybe it’s that you thought you knew about the real estate market, but there’s more your Realtor can share with you before you make another offer.

Life is full of ups and downs. We all experience them, but if you master these four steps, you may emerge from the downs with greater confidence and improved resilience. And wouldn’t that make life a little better for you?

Bradley K. Ward, PCC, TICC is a leadership and transformational coach at Brad Ward Coaching in Palm Springs, CA. Contact Brad to find out how coaching can help you reach for the impossible!