Show me a person in business who has never faced a setback and I will show you a bold-faced liar. Setbacks are part of the territory and sometimes they result in negative emotions. It is very difficult to separate these negative emotions from some of their effects which include feelings of anxiety, stress, doubt, fear and even depression. We all face negative emotions at some point but how we deal with them makes the difference. So do we deal with these feelings when they pop up?

Why do I feel this?

The first thing to do introspect and ask yourself why you feel the way you feel. Say you were on the verge of a big deal and you lost it. What many would think is I feel this way because I lost a deal but in reality, it goes a little deeper than that in most cases. Emotions have an internal root and what you are feeling may be because of disappointment or not reaching a standard you set for yourself. Identifying the root behind the emotion can help you rationalise. Maybe you feel anxious about an upcoming pitch, could it be because you feel unprepared.

Is this real?

There’s a saying that goes “a feeling can never be wrong”. It is true. After all, a feeling is what you feel. If you feel like you’re freezing while it is blazing hot outside that is what you feel. But that doesn’t make it real. So when you have a negative emotion ask yourself if what you feel is real. Is it real that you have failed or is this how you feel? The difference feels small and academic but it makes a change. Assessing the facts objectively is difficult. If you recently got a job offer but the terms and conditions were not right for you or the employer you did not fail. You only failed to agree. Punishing yourself mentally for that is unfair.

What can’t I change?

Sometimes negative emotions have a real-world cause. A person who lives in poverty has a poverty problem not automatically a poverty mentality problem. We can tell the difference when they are taken out of poverty. I digress. The point is sometimes your negative emotions stem from real-world causes and sometimes those real-world causes cannot be addressed. Far be it from me to tell you that you cannot do something but it highly unlikely you will change the law in your industry and at least not in the next 6 months. As the alcoholic’s anonymous prayer puts “Lord grant me the serenity to live with the things I cannot change”.

What can I change?

Sometimes these real-world causes can be changed. Perhaps you feel your business could do better if only you knew how to sell better. Well, you can learn how to sell better. Read books on sales. Sign up for classes or courses in sales. Practice by selling your product. As a matter of fact, just do all 3. Some of the sources of negative emotions are real-world things that only need to be acted on and changed.

How do I change it?

Its never enough to ask how something can be changed. Without how you simply have a list of more things you are not achieving. So immediately follow up with the question “how can I change those things”. It is rarely ever easy but it is worth doing. You would be surprised that you can live with crippling emotions yet the things that cause those emotions are simple things with real-world fixes. Failing cause you don’t have a skill? Learn it? Need more money? Earn it! In an agreement that is weighing you down? Burn it! Alright, I will stop with the motivational speaker rhymes. Action and a plan for it are the answer.

Emotional matters are very difficult to deal with as they not only force us to face ourselves but also our beliefs. If you feel you are in over your head it is wise to seek help from peers, friends, family or professionals.