Hi friends,

We’ve all been there. Rejection, breakups, laid-off, downsized, betrayed, there are so many ways to get screwed, and the worst is when it’s by people that we trust(ed). How do you rebuild? How do you crawl out of the darkness and self-doubt? And how do you protect yourself so you can weather the next upset with grace? It’s not easy. But one of the key ways is to first, give yourself a loving hug and be kind to your wounded heart (or ego). Then dig into your core and hold on tight, tight to your beautiful, unique power. We all have a superpower, some core strengths that we use to repeatedly rebuild and reinforce the foundations of our lives.

Remember when Ami helped us discover and harness our superpowers on June 20th? [The exercise worked like this: Identify your skills and special juju, the things you do with ease. Then ask friends/family/coworkers what they think your strengths are. Combine all this data, and you have your superpower profile.]

Well, now you need to harness that same power to heal and rebuild. 

My superpower is "the mediating creative problem solver" (a quirky name I invented for my skill at imagining creative solutions, actively listening and being quiet, and using those to mitigate obstacles) and this is what I grab hold of and harness to pull me out of the dark. 

If you're struggling with how to identify your power, a good place to start is taking a Myers-Briggs test, if you haven’t already. [I know Myers-Briggs is controversial, but it’s a useful way to start understanding some of our core traits, just don’t use it to validate hiring people at your Fortune 500.] It’s a nice way to start understanding your core personality attributes. Then, practice self-reflection with this ideation exercise Ami and I created to tap into your innate skills and powers. 

Now, back to rebuilding after getting screwed. Failure and disappointment are inevitable parts of life, all the more so if you're an entrepreneur or risk taker. We all face dark times when we don't achieve our goals, despite our hard work. We get dumped or fired, we feel betrayed when investors we counted on to launch our startup suddenly evaporate, we may feel deep rejection when we're passed up for a promotion we had counted on, or derailed if the apartment(s) we paid a steep broker's fee on is snatched by someone else. Relationships may end despite our fiercest efforts to save them, and friends, family, or lovers may betray or disappoint us. Life is hard. What do you do when life knocks you down, and joy and success seem unimaginably out of reach? Below are 7 practical ways to cope with getting screwed:

1. Face the truth and except reality. Denial is the worst, as it actually makes you obsess over what you are suppressing. Confront and except the shit that went down. Be as brutal and pragmatic as you can. Then you can start to creatively problem solve a solution/escape/recovery/rebuild. 

2. Allow yourself to mourn and be wistful. The divide between dreams and disappointment inevitably leads to sadness and regret. It's healthy to mourn what was and allow your emotions to adjust to a new reality. Journal, talk to friends and mentors, take space to be contemplative and quiet. Take long walks, hard runs, blissful bubble baths. But don't mourn or ride the "what if" train for too long, or you can get stuck. 

3. Don't get stuck on the victim treadmill. It may feel cathartic to whine, pout, and moan at the injustice of getting screwed, but remember that you almost always have choices and the superpower to deal with the crap cards you were dealt. How did you weather other setbacks in your life? How did you manifest your power to survive and grow stronger? Give yourself a hug, cry with your friends, get angry, smash some replaceable things, and then MOVE ON.

4. Create realistic, attainable goals so you can get going. Do not attempt perfect or brilliant. Let go of getting all your ducks in a row and start rebuilding right now. What can you do today or tomorrow to get going? Take little baby steps, test your new direction IRL. It's ok to have big goals and big dreams, but give yourself the time to accomplish them. Even small goals can take at least a year to take shape, so don't waste time planning or overthinking. 

5. Be a kind friend to yourself and kick some revenge ass. While recovering and rebuilding, it is critical to be loving and compassionate with yourself, rather than judging every move, or you risk getting stuck in a shame cycle that derails your real progress. Practice self-care, taking at least 15-minutes every day to do something that reinforces your relationship with yourself and makes you stronger. Plus, the best revenge in the world? Being a beautiful, self-aware, successful kick-ass phoenix rising from the ashes. 

6. Fake it till you make it, aka look for the silver lining and pretend, at least, to be an optimist. In every single failure and screw-up there is opportunity. Are there new skills you can develop, the chance to deepen connections and build new relationships? The most successful entrepreneurs are practical optimists who let failure be their guide to new growth and magical serendipity. This means you have to really believe (or force yourself to try) that you can live your best life!

7. Unleash your guts and grit. If you dabble in the startup world, or get a steady dose of news media, you've probably heard a lot of entrepreneurs and business folk talk about a quality called "grit" (there were dozens of articles about grit in 2017). There are myriad ways to define this trait, most of which come down to "passion, determination, and perseverance". It means not being afraid of doing things that are hard, or awkward, or new. The world is amorphous, and the path you navigate through work, love, family, and self-actualization may have to be frequently adjusted. Harness your power and intuition (aka, guts) to accomplish your goals, while maintaining balance and an integrated hustle. 

Failure, heartbreak, betrayal, and disappointment are difficult to deal with. It's healthy to feel sad or angry, and daunted by the idea of starting over, restructuring, or moving on (I have said, "ugh, again?!" too many times in my adult life). Try to build and maintain a support system to keep you loved, challenged, and motivated when things get dodgy. And remember that you have the patience, grit, resilience, and passion to build the life you want. 

Now, let's hustle together and show those haters that we are a phoenix!

In peace + solidarity,

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Laena McCarthy