How I overcome setbacks

I wrote on Wednesday about how to deal with loss. And a few weeks back I talked about a setback I had and how I was feeling less than thrilled about it. And I know from my past setbacks are lessons that we can all learn from this. But of course, it’s difficult to keep this top of mind when we’re going through problems.

Everyone has setbacks, in their careers or personal lives. I recall when I did not get a promotion I was hoping to get. I wanted to resign and call it quits in the industry, but common sense prevailed and I stayed in my position and my career went from good to great.

So what should you do when you have a setback?

  1. Having a setback can be emotionally devastating. So rather than ignoring the anger, fear of what others might say or feeling sorry for yourself, embrace those feelings. But don’t take too long – give it enough time to process so you are OK but not so much than you wallow.
  2. Anger is a normal emotion and it needs an outlet. The way we express anger is sometimes inappropriate and we tend to lash out at those who are very close to us. We can be nasty to the closet people who love us, such as our your spouses, children, or friends. So take out your anger and frustration by going for a long walk, running, listening to music, meditating, cooking, or dumping glass bottles in a big glass recycling skip till you work it out of your system. I love writing, so I often scribble and doodle my anger away.
  3. Figure out exactly what it is you are emotional about. Is it someone betraying you? Or are you mad at yourself? Is there something else that is triggering this reaction besides not getting the job? Once you know what it is you are so upset about it is easier to deal with. So with my example, I was more angry at myself because I did not check a specific detail on something and I ended up paying dearly for it – I didn’t get the job.
  4. You get over setbacks and you learn something from them, so figure out the lesson you are meant to learn. What role did you play in the situation? Yes, I know it is easier to blame someone else, but you cannot control others’ reactions. So learn to make peace with it and take the lesson and move on when you are ready.
  5. Try not to spend too much time dwelling on your setbacks. Have options to move forward and re-energise yourself with a new ideas and gusto. Get stuck in something you love doing. Or do that project you’ve been putting off. After all you are stronger than you think you are.
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