Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia
By Gary Vaynerchuk
August 4, 2015

Leadership Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: When you get passed up on a promotion, what’s the next step? is written by Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia.

Getting passed up on a promotion can be brutal. Especially when you were so confident they were going to pick you, yet somehow they picked someone else. It can feel like a huge diss and shot to your ego. But while initial feelings of defeat can feel overwhelming, it’s important to look to the next step as soon as possible — and get back on your feet. The sooner you are able to evaluate and move forward, the sooner you will be on to the next awesome thing.

So, what is the first step to moving on?

It’s quite simple really. Anytime you’re presented with a crossroads in the workplace you need to weigh both extremes, but only when you’ve had a chance to clam down and collect your thoughts. Before even considering the two extremes, you need to get into a space that allows you to be serene. Exhale. No seriously, take a breath. In the few hours or days after the news, have you taken a moment to breath deeply? If not, do it now. This really isn’t the worst thing in the world.

After you’ve mentally calmed down, it’s time to physically do something you enjoy. Maybe it’s a sport like basketball or yoga. Or perhaps you need to get away for a weekend. Essentially, compose yourself for 24-hours using an activity that can act as a reset button. Get yourself to a happy place so you’re not making a decision based on the raw emotions that emerged following the missed promotion.

In my opinion, the vast majority of bad decisions in life are made because of unchecked emotions. That’s why all the things above need to not only ground you, but also put you in a good mood; make sure you are on the positive side of life. Once you are confident that you are, you can now start to weigh the two extremes that I brought up before.

The first extreme requires you to ask yourself the following questions: Do you want to change jobs? Or companies? Or even careers? Is this the right time for you to revisit missed opportunities? Audit yourself and bet on your strengths.

Or, maybe it’s the second extreme: take a step back and try to understand why you were passed up on a promotion in a place that you enjoy working. Let HR and your managers know that you are happy for the person that did get the job; be the bigger man or woman. Then, talk to them about what they expect from you. From their perspective, what are you missing? What do you need for next time? If you are able to digest their explanations and agree with them, then great.

But if you feel like they dealt you a bunch of bull crap, then it might be time to go back to option one. Explore the possibilities of a new career and a new environment. While it may feel like missing that big break could be a door slamming shut, think of it as an invitation to look beyond your current situation.

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