Most of us know the feeling - you’ve worked hard for years - smashing your goals and charting a course for professional growth and upward mobility in your organization. A job comes across the board that you know you’re right for, and you throw your hat into the ring. Then, the day comes and you discover that that job that had your name all over it was given to someone else. There is a special kind of hurt that comes from being passed over for a work promotion you thought you deserved. And while it can make us want to get our coat and head for the door never to return, there are a few more productive methods we can use to handle this setback.

Think It Over

We are all the heroes in our own stories. It’s pretty easy to believe that we’ve been slighted when something bad happens to throw us off our narrative, but take a moment to think it over. Did your management want to send you a passive-aggressive message by giving the promotion to someone else? Probably not. Take some time to check your negative emotions and work to find the rationale behind the move. Understand that sometimes your timing and the timing of the organization are not always the same.

Find Out Why

What’s the best way to stop replaying every situation in your mind as to what you could have done to get that promotion you were looking for?

Ask What Happened

Make an appointment with the people in charge of filling that role and ask them what it was about you that made you not a good fit. Chances are, your leaders will notice your ambition and willingness to identify and fix deficiencies in your skillset and will take that into account the next time your name comes across their desk for a leadership role.

Take Time to Grow

There is any number of resources available for your professional and personal development. If it’s a technical skill you’re lacking, find a class you can take either in person or online and set yourself to getting better. There’s never a bad time to add tools to your toolbox, but identifying a professional deficiency and creating a goal out of that can provide extra motivation to boost you towards your goals. Leadership loves ambition, and ambition thrives when it’s learning.

Move On

It’s ok to take a little time to grieve a lost opportunity. What you shouldn’t do is let that grief fester into something that will rot your motivation and sink your ambitions. Sometimes people who are the most qualified get passed over through no fault of their own. The best among them use that experience to ignite a deeper passion to succeed. Use that fuel to drive your aspirations higher. Show yourself worthy, and you’ll establish yourself as a crucial part of what your organization is trying to do.

If you keep working at it, your day will come.