Achieving goals. Bettering ourselves. Shattering glass ceilings. Don’t you love hearing stories with these outcomes? They are so powerful and motivating, and I can listen to them over and over again from women in my community like you. However, the process of growing, changing, and bettering ourselves is a bit less sexy – in fact, it can create major turbulence in our lives and throw us completely off track if we’re not careful. We all know that progress is not linear. But what do we do when our plans get disrupted and we get knocked off our feet?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my experience, it’s that getting back up is everything. It’s literally the difference between success and failure. Life and death. The beginning and the end. Building resilience is essential to bouncing back from failure. With resilience, we can reframe the setback as just a punctuation mark in our journey – not the end.
First, it’s important to know that there are two types of setbacks. The first type is when something has been taken away from you permanently, against your will, and outside of your control. Examples of this type might include when you lose your job because of company downsizing, your spouse dies, or your home burns down. These setbacks are heavy. And we’re not going to talk about this type of setback today, because there is really only one path through it. With this one, you’ve got to surrender your original vision so you can build a new one and find something positive to steer toward.
There is a second type of setback that is more within your control – this setback happens when an obstacle appears between you and your vision. Maybe you lose a bidding war for a house that you really wanted. Maybe you apply for a job and don’t get selected, or you submit your book to a publisher and it gets rejected. This type of setback has simply made it more difficult to achieve your goal. It may cause you to question how badly you wanted it in the first place, but nothing has completely taken away your chance at that vision.
There are three keys to finding your way forward with this type of setback.
Look for the lesson
What happened? How do we get to this place? Let’s go back to the bidding war for the house. What would you have done differently? Did you drag your feet before you made the offer? If it’s the job, what did you learn through the process about how you showed up in the interview? This step is important because it helps you reflect on what you can control next time to get a different outcome.
Determine if you need to adjust your goal or just your approach
It can be tempting to use a setback as an opportunity to give up on a goal, but how you’re going after the goal is just as important as the goal itself. Maybe your timing is too aggressive and you need to slow down. You still want to get there, but you’re going too fast and making mistakes. So your goal may be identical, but you decide to take a different approach.
Recover and recommit
We skip recovery at our own peril. If you’ve just taken a hit, you need an opportunity to let yourself get the emotions out. Maybe it’s getting a lot of extra sleep so you can clear your mind and come back with renewed energy. Maybe it’s spending a lot of time with your family. Maybe it’s spending a lot of time away from your family. There’s a big world out there outside of this issue, so give yourself a planned hiatus of time to disengage and get back to feeling strong. Then, and only then, you want to recommit to your plan. And the steps you take to get there could be different in light of this setback.
There is no path to growth and change without friction. Everything you want relies on your ability to develop resilience.
Want to talk to someone on my team about bouncing back after a major setback? Set up some time here for a complimentary conversation to see if coaching is the right next step for you.