Don’t allow decisions that are out of your control to negatively impact your career. Here are positive ways to deal with things you can’t control.

In your professional life, there will be events or circumstances that arise, it seems, for the sole purpose of setting you back or keeping you stuck.

One example is the perfect job for which you are qualified and set your hopes on it. You dreamed of what it would be like, and then you don’t get.

It’s the co-worker who is a supreme tyrant, but no one is willing (or is too scared) to do anything about the colleague. So you have to deal with his or her toxic attitude daily in and out.

It’s the perfect prospect that you have been communicating with for months, feeling it was a done deal, but the prospect chooses a competitor instead of you.

For me, it was the day I had to let go of 14 people through no fault of their own. A decision had been made, and I was the one who had to deliver it. I had never done anything like this before, and it was gut-wrenching, especially since no one saw it coming.

It’s these kinds of events that can define you and paralyze your momentum because you feel they are beyond your control. Or are they?

What happens is that they affect us at an emotional level. We feel awful about these events. They weigh on us, and they are exhausting to carry. But we do.

We feel compelled to dwell on them. We overthink the situations. We’re always certain we could have done something different that would have had a more positive outcome.

Instead, I’d like you to consider these events as defining. What I mean by this is that you have been changed or affected in some way but that you have the ability to continue to move forward from them.

It may slow you down, but it doesn’t stop you. To the best of your ability, take yourself out of the picture. Yes, you were involved, but it’s probably not all about you. In situations like these, we tend to over-emphasize our self-importance and our ability to impact the outcome. We take on all of the responsibility. It becomes our fault, and when that happens, we turn inward and have awful conversations with ourselves.

Here are three steps to help you move forward.

First, examine what you are feeling. Emotion is like a smeared windshield. You can’t see clearly through it, and you need to do something about it before you continue. Consider the things that you dwell on, complain about or that keep you up at night. The reason you act or feel this way is because it’s a subconscious “clue” that you need to do something different.

Second, what is the feedback that is specifically meant for you? You might need to develop new skills to get the job that you want. Ask the interviewer what would make you a better candidate the next time.

You might also need to realize that the new president made a recommendation for the sale and it wasn’t about you at all. Consider this feedback a gift because it will help you move forward.

Third, do something with what you’ve learned. Put some distance between you and your toxic co-worker. Keep moving forward with your prospecting because it didn’t happen this time but it will the next. Beef up the amount of time that you spend with people who encourage you to be your best self in your business or career.

Just remember, these moments can define you and stop you in your tracks, or they can be defining and be the pivot point that puts you on the path to exactly where you want to go.

You get to choose.

Here’s wishing you the clarity you deserve.