Detachment From the Outcome; Success vs Failure

detachmentI was talking to a friend the other day who had potentially lost a huge client.

Not just your run of mill average every day client but one of the big ones.

One that could propel her into the next level of her business (hire more people, gain recognition for a huge account, etc).

But despite her giving the BEST value for the dollar, one most experts in her field told her she hugely under quoted, and irregardless of the hours and days she’d spent putting the proposal together, the prospect had sent her an email stating she was entertaining other bids.

The sky fell, the day grew dark, and the buzzards began to circle. Self pity had begun a downward spiral.

Dread set in, blood pressure began to rise, then came the negative self talk, and hopelessness.

She was in between spurts in her business, as can happen sometimes, especially as your business is new and growing.

Bills, the month coming to an end, and  she had come to the end of her rope with this one ray of hope on the horizon.

She’d been killing herself working for less than she was worth in an effort to over-deliver, and work up the new proposals with a ton of value (sort of a fixed cost of business when you are providing her type of services).

She quickly went into a deep depression over this epic failure.


Landing this client seemed so promising that she had let herself get completely immersed in what it would mean to her financial state.

She had become emotionally involved in the outcome, and then, in this apparent failure, her composure became compromised, her stability threatened.

She began to withdraw and wanted to give up, tired of beating herself up only to end up back at square one over and over.

At this point she then couldn’t seem to recover.

She could not even see how far she had come, how much she had accomplished, nor how much she had learned and grown.

All she could see was this epic failure.

I know I’ve had prospects that I’ve not been able to help being excited about. Because they had such huge potential, saw the vision, got the excitement, but something happened, and it didn’t turn out that we’d end up working together.

Disappointed? Yes, I would have so say so. But how long did I let myself worry about it?

Not for another second. Life is just too darn short, and business successes come and go!

Emotional Detachment is a Necessary Ingredient for Long Term Success

My friend thankfully realized within a short time that she was wasting her time feeling sorry for herself, and picked herself back up and got back in the fight.

But it took a bit of realization that she had become attached to the outcome, emotionally involved and no longer in control

She had not given herself credit for being the talented and knowledgeable entrepreneur she had become, who has earned respect within her community.

Thankfully, she was soon aware that she had only to pick herself up and continue in order to find every bit of success that she deserves.

But she could have avoided falling down so far had she only been inoculated against the hit she took emotionally.

If only she had not been invested so deeply in the outcome of that one prospect (even though that was the only prospect visible at the time).

But by emotional detachment, I do not mean indifference, or apathy. It’s a kind of detachment from the crisis at hand that enables one to not only think clearly, but continue to take action.

Emotional detachment from the outcome of dealing with prospects gives you the control, confidence and posture to be the most effective not only in weathering the worst, but in succeeding where all odds seem against you.

Detaching yourself from the outcome gives you an ability to have control over your emotional response, and to have an inner peace that displays as an air of confidence, and can be an extremely attractive quality.

This can be crucial, at even a subconscious level, when dealing directly with a prospect who may be looking for any sign of weakness from you. Instead of sensing a weakness from attachment (clinging to their decision), they detect the inner peace and want to be part of that.

When you appear calm and confident, their confidence grows in you.

There are many things you can do to provide you with inner strength, but detachment from the outcomes at an emotional level will provide you the fortitude, along with internalizing your motivating ‘why’, to continue to overcome your challenges.

Running a business is never easy, no matter the industry.

And if you don’t have a clear reason embedded within you, and yet still become detached from your emotions when it comes to the outcome of your dealings with prospects, you’ll simply quit.

When the failures inevitably come, you’ll succumb to doubt and then negative self talk, and become unmotivated. You may even miss the next opportunity that given a sense of calm and emotional detachment, would otherwise be clearly seen.

So prepare yourself with a vaccination against self destruction with some emotional detachment, and do not invest yourself in the outcome as you work with your prospects.

Examine your thoughts when your prospect says something negative about you or your product or service; do not respond immediately. If you feel your anxiety rise, you are too attached and need to put an invisible wall between you and what your prospect may or may not do.

If part of the cost of doing your business requires an amount of work and research provided without fee, charge a retainer or at least adjust your price so that you are paid what you deserve for your quality of work.

2 Responses to “Detachment From the Outcome; Success vs Failure”

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  1. Vicki, it is my belief that at one time or the other we have our emotions attached to the outcome. At least until we as business owners understand how business works, and understand truly what failure means. Failure is the price we pay for progress. Failure can be a great teacher if one is willing to learn from it versus soak in it. I am glad to read that your friend dusted herself off, and got back to work. That failure will definitely make her stronger. The more will focus on our daily habits/work ethic the easier it is to detach ourselves from the outcome. Great article, I definitely like the title.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Karl! Again, thanks for the thoughtful reply. Once we remember that we truly are deserved and WILL have abundance in our lives, our ‘attachment’ to one particular prospect simply dissolves. Chalking each encounter up to experience is the most valuable thing we can do with it, should things not ‘pan out’ as we’d like!

      Wishing You Tremendous Success!

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