When Hustling Fails, Let Gratitude Win


When Hustling Fails, Let Gratitude Win

I’m not sure if you some of you realized, but I have been out of pocket for the last six weeks or so working on different projects, and one in particular. The Monday after I got back from FinCon, a project fell into my lap; and I moved forward with it as soon as I could. It was not something that I had planned for, but it motivated and excited me, which made me want to pursue it.

The initial phase of the project consumed a solid two full weeks of my life, and I realized in the middle of the project that if I were to move forward, I would need to clear a good portion of my schedule to make the tight timeframe, so I did.

I worked hard on the project alongside a friend/teammate to put forth our best effort and win the business, all the while not making additional income from this effort and pushing other business down the line. After the intense two weeks, while our work was reviewed and analyzed, I caught up on life and the work that didn’t get done; and just last week I emailed the company only to find out that they awarded the business to a larger firm.

We All Get Bad News

During the call where the company let me down easy, they remarked that there would be other opportunities down the road; however, it wouldn’t happen on this project. I graciously accepted their decision, hung up the phone and cried like a baby. No matter how much I told myself that I was okay with whatever outcome happened, it still hurt to get rejected.

Realizing that the pain of rejection was real, I took the night to throw myself a pity party where I had a drink and cried like it was my job. I don’t normally love or embrace activities that are not productive, but sometimes all that we need to move forward is the proper mourning time, and I acknowledged that I needed to mourn that night.




We Need to Remember to Balance Bad with Good

I woke up with puffy eyes the next morning and started to think about the next steps for me. Initially, all I was focused on was the missed opportunity; however, whenever one of those thoughts invaded my brain, I forced myself to find the positive. My inner dialogue, sounded something like this:

Bad Attitude: I worked for two weeks and didn’t get paid.

Gratitude: I learned something new from the experience and the quality of my work opened up a new opportunity in the future.

Bad Attitude: I didn’t schedule new business because I wanted to be open for this project.

Gratitude: I now have availability to pursue other goals and meet new people.

Bad Attitude: I didn’t win the project.

Gratitude: There’s a better project for me down the road.

Bad Attitude: They don’t like me.

Gratitude: They actually like me more because I proved myself.

Bad Attitude: Where is the next dollar going to come from?

Gratitude: When have you ever been without?

Do you choose gratitude?

It’s easy to succumb to the bad attitude thoughts, and I’m living proof of that. I am truly a glass is half full/optimistic kind of gal, but I am not a robot. As my friend Stephanie reminded me last week, I’m human and humans make mistakes and humans experience a range of emotions. The important thing to remember is that when you experience those negative emotions, you need to balance them with gratitude.


The first day when I threw the pity party, I let every bad feeling come out through my tears; however, when I woke up the next day, I reminded myself that life needs balance and for every bad thought, there is truly an equal and opposite good thought and if we only head down one path, we are missing the balance we need in life.

As I write this blog post, do I wish I were writing something that would make me more money? Yes. But I’m thankful that I have the time to write this blog post and reflect on my human emotions. If I speak to and inspire at least one person with my experience, then the rejection was truly worth it in every sense of the word.

I have thrown dozens of pity parties in the past, and each one has always led to an equally beautiful celebratory party. I’m not yet sure what my celebration will be after this last pity fest, but I will keep you posted and embrace gratitude until I discover it.

Gif source: Giphy

When bad things happen do you err on the negative or positive? How do you stay positive in the face of adversity?

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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


  1. Ugh, that sucks, Shannon – but you manage to have such a positive outlook in the end anyway.

    I really like this: When have you ever been without?

    When I get particularly panicky about my life or my career, that thought always eventually makes it way back into my mind and calms me down a lot.

    Besides, if we never failed… who wants to hang out with people like that? Could you imagine how obnoxious they’d be? ;o)

  2. Congrats on the tough loss? Those who seek to challenge the status quo and bring new ideas to light always have challenges and struggles along they way. The best thing you can do is embrace them and look at the things you have learned and the value you have added to your self-worth and work character! Your challenges are building blocks for the future.

  3. After I’ve had a crying jag, I always try to ask myself if there is anything that I could have done differently. If the answer is *realistically* no, then I take some time for gratitude as well. Anything that hurts you enough to cause you to cry, has probably shaped you for the better in countless other ways.

  4. Oh girl, I know. Sigh. It’s been a tough few weeks. I’ve had my fair share of crying parties and it sometimes is so necessary. I often have the hardest time moving to the gratitude part, but I’m learning. It’s getting easier. I do move on, as we all do, eventually. We learned a lot and I know our futures are bright!

  5. I love this post! I’m sorry, of course, that you didn’t get the opportunity. But what an incredible way to turn a negative into a positive, and look at the very real bright side. It reminds me of when people complain about being busy, without thinking about what that means: you have incredible abundance in your life! Look at all the people who want or need something from you!

    Way to set a great example and use a hard knock as inspiration to move forward with your head held high. 🙂

  6. Having a good cry is a very smart move and a solid investment in your well-being. Getting all that frustration out is much better than letting it fester. And, taking some time to focus on what you learned from the experience helps put you back in a positive mindset.

    Now the big question: how can you use all that work for your own benefit? Can you twist it or reshape it and use it yourself? There might yet be a way to get some $$$ from all that work… Worth pondering over a vino or hot chocky at the end of the day.

    What is it Maria says in The Sound of Music? When a door closes, somewhere a window opens… or something like that. Go looking for that window! 🙂

  7. I’m sorry to hear you didn’t win the business, but I’m so glad you wrote this post. I find it easy to get down when something bad happens. I have trouble taking the gratitude approach, but the few times that I have taken that approach it has been beneficial.

  8. When I lost my job of over twenty years this year, it certainly stung a bit. It’s hard not to take something like that personally. I also reminded myself I was not totally happy there, and I will be able to move on to a bigger and better opportunity. Sorry you didn’t win the business after all your hard work. I’m bet that initial work can be used down the line somewhere.

  9. This is awesome, Shannon! Definitely keep your head up. This kind of stuff happens – all we can do is move on! Personally, I’ve been disappointed by deals/jobs falling apart a zillion times. It sucks!

  10. Sorry to hear you didn’t win the project. Having a positive attitude is important…though understandably tough. As long as you did your best, there is no need to hang your head. There will always be other opportunities, and your hard work was not in vain. “The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.”

  11. Ugh, sorry to hear about not getting the gig Shannon. We had virtually the same thing happen to us right around/after FinCon. We had a great feeling about it, they told us they really liked what we could bring to the table and right after FinCon we got the call they went with a larger firm as well – with a very similar “there’ll be opportunity down the road to work together” comment. I was ticked and saddened we put the time into it only to put off other paying work. After about 24-48 hours of going through those emotions we chose to move on. It’s never the easiest thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do in the long run. The funny thing is whenever we see these kind of things happen something else comes out of the woodwork that we wouldn’t have been able to do if we won the other gig.

  12. Yep, I definitely agree with you on this! I’m sorry you didn’t win the project, but I’m sure you’re in better shape from having gone through the process and learning along the way. I try not to give into emotions that don’t move me forward, too, but sometimes we just need a good cry. There’s nothing wrong with that. You just have to pick yourself up and say, “Today is a new day,” and have faith things will work out because you work hard. I love the “balancing act” with your thoughts, as that’s what I do. Every time I have a negative thought, I try and turn it back around into something positive.

    • There is actually a song by Josh Radin that I love, Brand New Day. And a line it is says, “It’s a brand new day, the sun is shining. It’s a brand new day. For the first time in such a long, long time, I know, I’ll be okay.” I am thankful for new days and new perspectives!

  13. I like to do what you did: wallow a little, then get over it. It’s not a great idea to pretend like everything’s fine if it really did upset you. But it’s also not great to get stuck in that negativity. So you get it out without judging yourself, then you get on with life.

    When we were trying to pay off debt and then later when we were trying to get ahead after buying the house, I’d literally go hide under the covers when bigger unexpected expenses hit. I’d get under the covers, cry, maybe let my husband talk me down, maybe just cry it out. Then get up and keep going. I like to say, “You can hide under the covers all you want. But eventually you have to get up to pee.” Not eloquent, but true.

  14. Love this, Shannon! Personally, I tend to feel defeated after failure, but only for a short time. I let myself sulk for a day, then the next day have a positive attitude. I try to use a tip I learned from Michael Hyatt and ask myself “what does this make possible?”.

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