22 Powerful ways to Overcome Discouragement
Ignore anyone that says they don’t get discouraged.
We are bombarded with – be positive, think positive – messages because leaders get discouraged. Sad but true.
22 suggestions for overcoming discouragement:
- Ask someone you respect if they ever feel discouraged.
- Accept people for who they are. Trying to change people is futile and frustrating.
- When you feel discouraged acknowledge it to yourself. People who never feel discouraged are out of touch with themselves and the world.
- Anger frequently grows into discouragement. Let go of anger.
- Learn to do something new.
- Hold your head up. Good posture helps.
- Encourage someone. Your needs reveal what others may need.
- Stop trying to control things you can’t control. Let something go.
- Persistent ambiguity is discouraging. Establish milestones; seeing progress encourages.
- Solve a small challenge or complete a project. Checking something off your list lifts a weight from your shoulders.
- Do your best to focus on things you do best. It feels great to do something well.
- Feeling alone can be discouraging. Let someone in. Find a friend by being a friend.
- Reward yourself or someone else.
- Reinterpret your setbacks as learning experiences and stepping stones.
- Enjoy fresh ideas from a book or lecture.
- Do something fun.
- If you don’t get some rest you’ll end up discouraged.
- The up side of discouragement is it may motivate you to evaluate yourself.
- Change a routine.
- Drain the drama. Respond objectively.
Writing a list of things that encourage – encourages me. Maybe #23 is writing a list of things you can do that encourage you.
Where do you find encouragement?
How do you encourage others?
Thank you for the tips – some of them I had not thought of before.
Hi Colline, You’re most welcomed, Dan
Great list, Dan. I especially like #6. I forget what a difference it can make to literally hold your head up high, and that changing our body posture can change our feelings. Thank you for the reminder. I also like #14. Give yourself a pat on the back or eat some chocolate. 🙂
dark chocolate of course!
#4,#8,19 helped alot
Thanks, good list. I like #5 -learn to do something new.
Hi William, one of my faves too. Best, Dan
Excellent list Dan. Everyone can get discouraged. As leaders, the thing to remember is that we need to address what is discouraging us and turn it around. When we are down and discouraged, sharing that with our team can bring them down too. As a leader, we need to use the same techniques to bring our team up with us.
The public side of leadership where leaders don’t tell all the problems or discouragements can be a heavy load to bear. Thanks for brining it up.
Great post Dan—you are right about people saying they may never get discouraged…. I will be using some of these points in leadership training
Thanks for all the interviews, blogging about the results, and insight into so many different leaders
Thank you for your encouraging comment. 🙂 It feels great to be useful.
Heh . . . I’m discouraged this morning. And I can see the causes in #10 and #19. Very timely post.
I’m with you! May things turn around quickly.
Sending some encouraging thoughts your way also, Greg.
Lean in on your team Greg, make it a “Connecting” moment. Positive energy headed your way. Best, Al
Thanks everyone. The support is very much appreciated.
A great way to start the day! My favorites are #’s 10 and 16. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves credit for what we’ve learned or achieved, and it’s certainly true that breaking a big challenge into small, actionable steps helps us progress. RE #16, if we aren’t learning we are standing still. The learning experiences truly shape us and make us wiser.
Thanks for the encouragement.
I suppose another way to find encouragement is celebrate small wins.
Here’s a #14 for you (which is a #18 for me):
You do a tremendous job on the internet doing just what you say you do – “changing the world 300 words at a time.” My world is better because of Leadershipfreak.
Thanks for the encouragement Scott. Love what you do. Dan
#9 – It’s all about #9… the world would be a better place. Healthier, mentally and physically, if we all moved #9 higher up our priority list…
What’s cool about #9 is almost everyone can do “some” exercise.
Oh how I could have used this post the other day!!! Several things in the past week have been discouraging. Learning from your setbacks or discouraging times I think will help. Back to my scouting experience…
canceled an outing due to everyone dropping out. At the last minute no less. Discouraging for sure. All the effort and work to put our plans together and others wait till something better came along and dropped.
Points from your post I will be using
LET IT GO. do not get mad do something fun!!!
I can not change others (only myself)
learn to do something new. Teach the boys about making commitments “say yes if you can and no when you can not. Maybe is not good enough”
your other points are great and I will be keeping this one close by
print it out an tack it to the wall.
Your experience is one of the most discouraging things. I think the hard truth is that leaders are more committed than followers.
When this happens in my world I feel unappreciated and the pity party begins…
I’m thankful you shared part of your story.
Thank you for encouraging me.
Dan, I like your list, especially #10. Leaving too many options open is stifling, not to mention confusing. Setting milestones is a great tip. Thank you.
Thanks for jumping in. One challenge is ambiguity is easy. Specificity takes thought and work.
I enjoyed this post, especially with the “bite sized” nuggets and tips! I find encouragement by reading and exposing myself to stories of people who have used a positive outlook to overcome daunting obstacles. I also receive “Daily Good” each morning (http://www.dailygood.org/) which contains a quote and a story (as well as an action item) designed to convey “news that inspires.” I often use the Daily Good quote as my “anchor” in the work diary I have begun keeping.
As far as encouraging others, one thing I try to do is to remember to share a thought of gratitude as it occurs to me, even for something seemingly minor. I can get caught up waiting to buy the right card, find the right wording, or in some other way await the perfect scenario, but it’s better to just forge ahead with a simple written or spoken, “I noticed when you went out of your way to help so-and-so out on their project the other day.” The smallest of encouragements can mean so much to people.
Thank you for being part of the Leadership Freak community. Your comments encourage me.
Thanks for adding the suggestion of reading stories of people who have overcome. Great addition.
Like you, I’ve found that small words of encouragement make a big difference.
Best to you,
I find encouragement when environment around is harmonious, people are trustworthy and appreciate your contribution and you have better opportunity to grow morally, monetarily and socially.
I encourage others by understanding their need, listening them carefully, aligning them with their needs, awakening them about their strengths etc.
I would like to add some more ways to overcome discouragement. You need to see the source of discouragement. When source is created one, then you need not to worry. Fight with source if you can stop it, otherwise leave it. If it genuine, share it with your trusted friend. Then try to prove better, instead of just rejecting it.
Hi Dan, great list. We all feel discouragement at times for a host of reasons and that is part of life. I feel discouragement is a great opportunity to reach out to your team and share and connect. We share our small successes with our team but where is it written that we have to handle our discouragement by ourselves? For me the fact that window is open is encouraging in of itself. It takes the fear and despair out of future discouragements knowing there is a cadre of caring folks there ready to listen, support and be kind and help with solutions. “kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.” (Goethe). Best, Al
Al… pulling out the big Goethe guns!
“What is my life if I am no longer useful to others”
although there is the Yoda-esque,
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
Great quotes Doc. Thanks,
Thank you so much for this list. I read your post daily, but this list is getting tacked to the cubicle wall!
Thank you for being an encourager!
What a fantastic post, there is no dearth of circustances which makes and force the people to be discouraged but here the true leadership comes which teaches us how to overcome this , with my experiance I can say sometimes we need to laugh at ourselves to win over the situation .
Distinguish discouragement from discontent…two different issues. Discontent drives change.
Nice list Dan, would add listen to music as it taps in on many levels of our being. It can energize or mellowrize as needed.
The list is also great from a preventative point of view, don’t wait to react to feeling discouraged, do a couple of them proactively and shift your gears sooner if you can.
Tied to have fun…laugh…genuine & deep, as that smile from your eyes, that laugh, is a reset button for your nervous system.
Seriously, evidence indicates that a smile increases blood flow to the brain and transmits nerve impulses from the facial muscles to the limbic system, which is part of your emotional center.
TMI? Then maybe go read the latest Chuck Norris jokes for 90 seconds….Chuck Norris doesn’t breathe, he holds air hostage.
Loved this! Especially when you start out with being inundated with “Be Positive” messages. Sometimes when you are discouraged and you get a message like that you just want to choke somebody – LOL! But seriously, I love #10 – Establish milestones but I got a step further and I communicate them to close family, friends and mentors – they can help me keep track and check up on me like “Did you get ABC done today?” Sometimes enlisting help keeps you motivated especially when your mother wont’ accept any excuses. The other one I like was #13 – Be a friend. My personal facebook has 840 friends, and I’m trying to blog and tweet my website to success. I’m making it a point for the next 27 days to engage (make contact) with someone I haven’t truly connected with in over 3 months. You can’t believe the positive energy and good networking I’m getting out of all of this. People’s lives change so much in just a short time and engaging them let’s you see how they’ve changed or progressed and it motivates you on the changes in your life. Great Read!
Thanks for your encouragement and comment.
Thanks for adding the important idea that sharing our milestones with others helps us reach them. So true!
Excellent post ~ much needed, today!
Thank you Jaeleen.
Excellent! Been there lately. I loved number one… as I clicked the link, I was thinking “Dan? Discouraged???”. Since I respect you, it was relieving to know I’m not the only one, so your #1 hooked me. Not sure why I need to continually be reminded that I’m not the only one. 🙂
Another great one Dan.
Dan, I appreciate the honesty in acknowledging that everyone gets discouraged from time to time. The list has some great reminders in dealing productively with discouragement. Allow me to add mine.
I call it my 48 hour rule. When I feel “down”, a scientific term which includes discouragement, I allow myself no longer than 48 hours to remain there. IF, after two days, I awake to the same feeling, I start the process of change. This can include one or more of the following:
1. When someone would say, “How are you?” I would lie and say, “I’m doing GREAT!” Falling under, “Fake till you make it”, this action alone gave me more energy. I intentionally shifted my language to one that was more optimistic, more energy.
2. Focused on what was right.
3. Made sure to get exercise.
4. Seek out my favorite person/people to be around that gave me energy.
6. Focus on letting go – particularly if it included anger.
7. Choose an activity(ies) that I enjoyed.
8. Make amends with someone when applicable.
I think what surprised me was that without changing any of the surrounding circumstances, nor my reaction, I found that intentionally making some changes that involved more positive ways of thinking/doing turned my overall “down” feeling around in a relatively short amount of time (generally within a day). I should add that aspects of reflection to understand the origin for my original feelings were always present in the first 48 hours.
The 48 hour rule was purely arbitrary. It emerged because I really didn’t want to be around myself for more than two days in the “down” state.
I have also found that sometimes there are just periods when you feel more discouraged, down, blah, than others. That’s okay. It’s just knowing where the limits are of what’s normal and what’s unproductive.
Hope the 48-hour rule is of help.
I’m really feeling #10 right now:
Persistent ambiguity is discouraging. Establish milestones; seeing progress encourages.
Thanks for this list of great reminders for moving past discouragement!
Wonderful suggestions. I especially love, “Find a friend by being a friend.” I think as soon as we focus our attention on others and on less emotionally-charged issues, we feel better.
What a wonderful post…… I am sure number of people who must have read this post will be actually facing the trauma of discouragement & the given list will going to provide them raise of hope to combat the discouragement…… there is need to focus on the issue that in an unhealthy working environment discouragement becomes an integral part of the practice. special attention need to be given on the young crop for whom the discouragement is acting as a devil which not only stops their growth but in several cases end their LIFE. Because the side effect of discouragement is Disastrous as it not only affect you internally ( mentally) but also externally ( physical health).
I find point #5,#9 effective because even I use the same & point #13 is also very useful the only care one need to take is selecting the right person.
I find reading books, listening to teaching, and music encouraging. Also I feel lime eating healthy food would five you more energy and lift your spirit. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for your tips
Its totally Encouraging
Love them all
Great list Dan, thanks.
One of the reasons it’s good is that your suggestions are practical.
For me… the best way is by giving. Take the attention away from yourself.
Another idea #23? File this list away carefully and have a peek at it when you need some encouragement, 🙂
Kind regards, Gary.
Great list, and very encouraging to continue the hard work and the persistant focus. discouragement settles in when people become overwhelmed with everyday small issues, which distracts. they enter into a whirepool of a fight of tit for tat, and lose the big picture.
I think all of them boil down to organisation, of time, resources, relationships. this will then effect the new ideas, learning process, enevitably giving you a new challenge.
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Dan for the great encouragement tips here.. I would like to print this one out and put it on my desk as a daily reminder whenever discouragement happens 😀
Thanks Xang for the encouraging word. May a printed reminder be useful to you. Continued success, Dan
I’m printing this and posting it on my padded cubicle wall. Thanks, Dan!
This a nice post your discouragement needs to go for encouragement to enter
I think just seeing all the responses reinforces that no one go through life without struggles and discouragement at times. To acknowledge our discouragement as human relieves us from the burden and pressure of having to dismiss it but instead to accept it. When we allow ourselves the compassion we’d extend to others in a similar boat, then we can get the rest and renewal we need to move forward, releasing what discouraged us in the first place. <3 Keep on keeping on. <3