I’ve never been a fan of roller coasters–waiting in a long line just to have suspense build while you fear you’ll slide back down the huge incline only to plummet and race through hills and valleys you can’t control, clinging to the guard rail for dear life resulting in whiplash (emotional and physical) with only a few flat stretches to give you time to catch your breath.
But sometimes life is like a roller coaster. Though they say without sadness we wouldn’t know what happiness is and even keel existence might get boring, dealing with huge ups and downs, especially when one follows on the heels of another, can be disconcerting and challenging.
Small ups and downs are one thing. Say I’m looking forward to an on camera audition, then the agent e-mails that it’s been canceled. A lost opportunity to have agent face time and be seen by a client, sure, but it’s easy to believe another will soon follow. Or I’m told I’m one of the few voices being considered for a big narration project, then I learn the client has gone in another direction. Disappointing, but the producer says he’ll keep me in mind for future projects. I can believe I’ll book another job soon.
Then there are the big swings. One minute I get a request for a full manuscript and am basking in the good news glow. An editor enjoyed my writing and story enough to want to want to read more. The next I learn of a betrayal. Though the two events are completely unrelated, emotions can get muddled. Dealing with bad news on the heels of good can throw you off kilter. It’s hard to maintain hope and excitement and have a positive attitude about the first while trying to take the second in stride. It’s hard to focus on reviewing the rest of the manuscript before submitting and meet other deadlines when trust has been broken.
There are times when the ability to compartmentalize emotions and/or not be affected by external events might prove helpful. What does help is to remind myself of all of the things I’m grateful for.
How do you deal with bad news? Here are a few articles:
eHow Consider the worst case scenario, and develop a plan of action to deal with it.
beyond the rhetoric Reinterpret it. Frame obstacles as opportunities.
When someone you know gets bad news:
Family Education …offer your sympathy and—if appropriate— your help. It is less than useless to act as if nothing has happened.