Picking Yourself Up After Disappointment

Episode Transcript

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to If I'm Honest with Julia Landauer. So last episode, we talked about rejection, right rejection, maintaining enthusiasm, you know how to bounce back how to kind of have that clean slate moving forward when things don't go your way. And I firmly believe everything that I told you. At the same time, I recognize that life is nuanced, and life is a constant gray zone. And so, you know, when, when thinking about moving forward and everything, the reality is that there are also times when the rejection is so hard, and, you know, we just have extreme amounts of disappointment. And I talked briefly about the story of spending over two years trying to get to the right person at a company to pitch for sponsorship, and that one was was so rough for me, but I didn't really get into the detail of how I got to the point of being able to move forward from that disappointment. And that's how we got to today's episode of dealing with disappointment, because it would be naive to think that we can just be optimistic and positive although I am I a very optimistic and positive person. There are some real personal work that goes into bouncing back from disappointment. When I look back on this year, on 2023, and I think about what my most disappointing moment was, there are a couple of things that come to mind but the hands down biggest moment of disappointment happened right before the Daytona 500. So the Daytona 500 was in February and this year I haven't gone to a lot of NASCAR races, but you know that I did not miss the Daytona 500. For those of you who don't know, the Daytona 500 is basically NASCAR's Super Bowl. It's a little odd that it's at the beginning of the season, if I'm honest, but that's okay. And everyone comes down to Daytona Beach, Florida. It's this massive racetrack, a super speedway, the whole infield is bustling. You know, there's NASCAR fans everywhere. And it's a big spectacle, celebrities come out. It's really, really exciting. And when I go to a race, and especially down at Daytona, you know, I have my pit pass. I spent the weekend mainly with my team from last year alpha prime racing. And we, you know, have the two haulers set up, they have chairs set up, they have all their guests. And you know, they're there right across from the garages where the cars are worked on. And, you know, we have the drivers lounge, and I'm friends with the drivers and the team. And so it's really so nice after the offseason to be able to go hang out to cheer them on. When it came to on track sessions, particularly during the race, I sat on the pit box and I have a team headset. So I can go between the different cars channels, so I can listen to the drivers and the crew chiefs and the spotters. And I can just follow along with what the team was doing on track. And we have TV screens on the pit boxes. So it's crazy to be at the race, And because the track is so big, it's actually very hard to see on track activity from the pits. And so I watched most of the race from the TV screens on the pit box. And it was just really cool. There was there's always really good energy and NASCAR is celebrating their 75th year this year. And so you know, they had this big kind of industry party where Diplo performed which was super cool. As I mentioned, not a huge concert goer. I mentioned this before, but you know, it was really exciting. And kind of funny, you know, you had some of the younger people who were super excited to be hearing Diplo, and then you had some of the older people who may or may not have known who he was. But it was it took place in I believe a college gymnasium and I got to mingle with people who I've known for years as I've been on my NASCAR journey. Also during that Daytona 500 weekend, I had an interview with a local Charlotte and southeast station and got to share some of my story. And it's just really exciting because it's the start of a new season. There's so much potential that everyone feels and it's always fun to see the racing friends that I don't really see on a regular basis like people who live in different cities or some of the reporters or even the fact that most of the racing related people live up by Lake Norman and Mooresville and Huntersville. And I live down in Charlotte so it's at least a good half hour away. And if you are familiar with the Charlotte area, you know that 77 traffic is absolutely miserable and driving on it takes years off my life. The Fastpass / quick pass definitely makes it better, but I do limit my time up and down 77 If I can. Anyway, being at Daytona was really, really fun. But at the same time, it was also very, very bittersweet. So as I mentioned end of January We had been spending almost two years on and off pitching a group for sponsorship. And at the end of 2022, they had committed to a handful of races, we were building out this whole incredible activation program. We were really excited. We had done all the redlining for the contracts, it had been back and forth. And in the 11th hour, this this group fell through. And it was a very quick, short email that was sent. Basically like, hey, actually, no, we're not going to do this right now. And we had spent so much time on it, they had spent so much time on it, it was it was just so so gut wrenching. I remember, I was standing in a little foyer between the kitchen and the staircase at home, and the lights were off. And I was reading this and I just, I felt my whole body go numb and tingly. I just I could not believe that this wasn't happening. You know, it was it was like 99% there. And I had planned all my races with the team and I, you know, had visions for Oh, my goodness, you know, the racing career is really going to take off the way I wanted to, I'm going to get a more robust part time season. And then it was just ripped out from under me. It it was so weird, because it wasn't like that time back in the pandemic, when the company just didn't want to move forward after our initial conversations. And I just kind of broke down crying, that one hadn't gotten anywhere near as close, right? Like, we were so close to the finish line with sponsorship with this. And it really took like several hours for me to process and then get really, really angry and sad and disappointed and dejected. And I kind of had this crisis of okay, well, what does this mean for the rest of my my year? What does it mean for the rest of my my racing career? What is this going to do for me, like it was just this this cluster of different emotions. So the fact that this happened right before going to Daytona, you know, it made it really tough when I was down there, because on the one hand, I was happy, but at the other on the other hand, I was so bitter, and I was jealous of all the drivers. I mean, it was kind of agonizing to be there. And I wasn't planning to race that race. But it you know, it was pretty rough, cuz I just felt jealous of everyone who is getting to strap into their cars. And I knew that I no longer had a tangible plan about how to do that. And those those conflicting feelings, and the never ending feeling of disappointment and jealousy that I was feeling at the track was kind of the kick in the butt that I needed to be more intentional about actively addressing my disappointment and figuring out how to work through it. So that is the long long road that it took to get to the point of this this episode, which is to dive into disappointment and to give my perspective on what we can do to help work through it. And while I never particularly excelled at the natural sciences, I do find how the body works very exciting. And I looked into how the chemistry of disappointment works in our brain and what it what it leads to. So allow me to get a little bit nerdy with you. But the feeling of disappointment comes because two neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that relay signals between neurons in the brain, they fire at the same time. Now it is really rare for neurotransmitters to fire simultaneously. And apparently scientists only really know of three or four occasions where this happens. And in disappointment specifically, there was a study published in 2014, from UC San Diego School of Medicine. And they found that the two neurotransmitters that are transmitted at the same time are the GABA and the glutamate neurotransmitters, and they're released in the, Give me a second, the lateral habenula, I think that's how you pronounce it, part of the brain. And so the GABA neurotransmitter is the enhancing one, it's the positive makes you feel better. The glutamate is the dampening one. And so with that, you know more GABA means you're happier and the more glutamate means they're more disappointed. And they that balance is how it's determined if you're feeling a little bummed to actually being being depressed. And depression is also found in the lateral habenula. And depression comes from not producing as much GABA as you do the glutamate. And so research out of New York also showed that when working on rodents, if you get more serotonin in the brain that kind of compensates for the GABA and so that's what antidepressants target, but as a little sidebar, the problem with that is that antidepressants don't only target this balance of GABA and glutamate. It affects other parts of how the brain works and like you know, sleep and rest and all of this. So it's part of what makes it so complicated. and why antidepressants have to be so specifically formulated per person because it is very different balances in the brain. So that's a high level overview of the science behind disappointment. And this is not meant to be medical advice. This is also studies that I've read that I can put in the description by it is interesting, I think that it's, you know, disappointment, which is a fairly regular emotion comes from a fairly irregular happening in the brain. And science is all well and good. But now we have to bring it back to how this applies to the day to day. And I wanted to make a note here that my suggestions from here on out aren't aren't based on you know, if you have clinical depression, I am not a doctor, I'm not a psychiatrist. I'm not a psychologist, but I want to share my experiences and what I hope can be helpful for if we're dealing with lower levels of disappointment. And to get into this, I had to think about why did I feel why have I felt that sometimes in my adult life, there are more regular instances of disappointment. But I kind of started thinking about the timeline of when I noticed, you know, things disappointing me more. And I think it really happened, you know, a couple years out of college, and this is my analysis, you may disagree, it might just be specific to my life trajectory. But when I think about school, when I think about high school, college, all of this, for the most part, it feels pretty predictable. You know, if you put the work in if you study, if you get tutoring, if you need it, you will likely achieve certain grades. And if you get certain grades you will, you know be able to get into certain universities, I know this is not 100% True, and there's a whole lot going on. But for the most part, if you put the work in, you're gonna be able to more or less predict the result. If you apply for a class, you'll know what your chances are of getting in. And what I've found in the real world is that you can do everything right, you can prepare really hard, you can be incredibly smart, you can do all the networking, you can meet the right people, and do what you're doing is still not predictably able to work out right, you might not be able to predict what will happen you may do everything right and not life will not go your way. It's like I feel like I finally understand what my parents always said when they said life was not fair, because it's not a lot of the time. And it's just such a such a contrast from at least my experience with school. And so, you know, when when I think about this in the real world and how it's more relevant, I now want to share what are the things that I do to help overcome my disappointment, and I know it has taken a hot second to get here. But we have arrived. So here are the four things that I think about and really worked on over the winter this year to overcome disappointment and to be able to bounce back to that being enthusiastic and moving forward. And the first thing was to really let yourself be in your feelings. I've mentioned on previous episodes that I kind of like to live my life on an emotional roller coaster. Right. And I think it is most important to do that when it comes to feelings. You know, we know and there are studies out there are studies out there that, you know, repressed emotions become really detrimental later, we know that it is super important to address how we're feeling because bottling it up means that it will likely eventually explode. And I think this is really important with disappointment. Sometimes disappointment can be embarrassing, sometimes you can feel a little less than because the things did not go your way. But I think it's crucial to let yourself sit with that feeling really let it in, let it overcome you. And then that will hopefully allow us to process it, and we can move on from it more efficiently. And this is you know, this works for disappointment. I've personally found that this work when I was grieving. I also think it's really important when it's a positive emotion, when you're happy when you're proud, really revel in that feeling and let yourself feel it to the fullest. And then again, it allows us to process quicker. So especially when it comes to a negative emotion, be in your feelings, it might be unpleasant, but it'll be a shorter period of being unpleasant. And you'll be able to really think about how you're feeling. And after we get through that. The second thing that I find really helpful and important is to critique ourselves. You know, I think I might have mentioned this, but I think only we will know if we're truly capable of something only we will know if we really gave it our all. And so if we can review our performance, analyze what we did well what we could improve upon and make a plan to adjust as needed moving forward, that will allow us to again feel like we are taking ownership and doing everything in our control to be able to have the outcomes that we want. And I think it's also really important not to dwell again on what we've done. done wrong or what we wish we could have done better. And it reminds me of a quote that my driver coach from go karting told me and you know, I was talking about if how race could have gone better. And I said, if I did this, if I did that if I qualified better if I had made a pass sooner than I could have done better, and my coach just looks at me and he says, Julia, if my aunt had balls, she'd be my uncle. It's, it's brilliant. It just gets the point across. And I tell myself that regularly when I find myself saying if, if, if so anyway, first few things were to be in your feelings, and to critique yourself. And then I also think when things disappoint us or something happens, I do think it's important to look at the situation and to see if we can salvage anything moving forward. And I will admit that I am not great at this. A lot of times, if I get an email or get a call or get some kind of response, that isn't what I want, sometimes I'll just immediately go into the emotional response. But a lot of times, we can look at a situation and at least ask if there are ways that we can reframe or restructure or, you know, salvage something, so that it's not a complete loss. This won't always be the case. But sometimes it can be helpful. And once we've done all that, I think that it allows us to more easily do the fourth thing that I'd recommend, which is to focus forward. I know that seems a little fluffy, potentially. But it really is important to to remind yourself of what is still out there on what's yet to come. And if we have, you know, allowed ourselves to feel our feelings, if we've analyzed our performance and see if there's anything we can salvage, then we're able to move forward and hopefully have a better chance the next time. And I think that's a lot of what we can do. You know, disappointment sucks. And I think that all the emotions that have a hint of sadness are, are too bad. And I don't like feeling it myself. I don't like seeing it in other people like other people's pain, sadness, and disappointment makes me so sad as well. But there are things that we can do. And it was interesting, because I had actually recorded the first version of this podcast, right when I got back from Daytona in February, it was kind of a sample that I sent to the producers. And when I really listened to it before recording this, it was so evident how much the disappointment and sadness carried over in my voice, like that is not an episode I could publish because it is really, really rough to listen to just my own sadness in my voice. And so I think, you know, thinking about how we carry our motions is important. And again, it goes back to being able to process it fully in a shorter amount of time might actually help us as we navigate the real world. So friends, that is our show. Thank you for tuning in. And thank you to everyone who has already rated the show and left a review or sent me a DM about what you feel about it. That's really helpful. If you haven't, it would mean a lot to me if you're able to, you know, rate it on Spotify or Apple or wherever you listen to podcast that helps with our overall traction. And if you're able to leave a review, let us know what you like about it. That would be awesome. Share it with people that you think might enjoy. And as always, thank you for letting me be honest with you and I look forward to seeing you next week.