Like so many others, I find myself reflecting upon the 2016 presidential election—which saw a decisive win for Donald Trump and shocking loss for Hilary Clinton. Let me be totally transparent: I was rooting for Clinton.

In no way is this post meant to criticize or refute what has happened or the millions of Americans who voted for Trump. In no way is this post meant to reverse mine or anyone’s position.

What I want to offer are thoughts about moving past setbacks and disappointment.

I spent a good part of last week in a fog. I’ve been in this place before…feeling deadened, weighty, moving in slow, unconscious motion. That kind of defeat is grief. I didn’t recognize the feeling at first until I was speaking to a coaching client of mine who likened her upset about the election to what she felt after her cancer diagnosis and subsequent divorce.

In no way am I equating the loss of an election to the loss of a loved one or marriage, or the punch of a serious illness. But for those of us who wanted a different outcome, losing the election is a loss.

And yet. And yet.

Everything in my lived experience tells me that the upset will lift.

As a motivational speaker who teaches audiences how to move from stuck, disappointment, and loss of all kinds toward positive growth and change, everything in my professional experience tells me to heed my own wisdom, especially now. I speak about boldness. I speak about the necessity of moving forward no matter the circumstances. Living in a defeated state is never an option.

So I offer you this advice in the event that you, like me, need some practical inspiration, maybe even a blueprint for going forward. One step builds upon others.

Engage in Breakaway Thinking, That is the first tenet of BOLD™.  Begin by challenging yourself to see this election through the wider lens of today–Donald Trump, president-elect. This requires you listen to different viewpoints and perspectives. Forget about having the last word. This is a time to be open-minded. Like it or not, you must consider that your view is not the only view.

Seize Opportunities. You cannot alter what has happened but you can still bring about positive changes in your life. What does opportunity look like to you? Go for it.

Cultivate Liveliness. Integrate your experience so that it becomes a part of your story but not the whole part. What are the lessons?

Practice the Daring Path Forward. Do not be reduced by despair or fear or anger. Commit to living boldly as your highest call to action. Doing so will serve you well.

Right now the choice is yours and mine. Let’s be bold enough to accept and appreciate the lessons of a lost election. Let’s be bold enough to affect change when and where and how we can in our private and public lives. Let’s be bold enough to grow and open ourselves to unexpected possibilities, none of which we know right now but that will unfold over time. Life is full of gray; who can really predict the outcome?

Nancy Sharp
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