The question about how to overcome failure and setbacks has been a recurring theme over this last year. Everyone has faced some form of failure or setback, no matter what business you are in.
When I think back to my journey to learn how to walk again, the first few years were exciting because of all the progress I was making.
When all of a sudden, one decision set me back a full 18 months and I had to start from scratch again.
As a result of my spinal cord injury, I experience muscle spasms in my legs, and I was getting Botox injections to try and help with the treatment.
The first treatment was successful, so we “upped the dosage” to try and yield some better results the second time around. Then what happened, was that it was way too powerful.
I lost all muscle movement in my legs and I had to wait three months for the Botox to wear off, and then spend three more months trying to learn how to walk again.
It was devastating and felt like a complete failure.
However, it taught me a lot about perspective and patience.
Learning from that, here are five tips to help you overcome failure and setbacks.
When things go sideways, it’s easy to become frustrated and think that “This shouldn’t have happened”.
It’s true. Maybe what did happen, shouldn’t have happened…
But it did.
Just like in my keynote about The Hero Mindset, the lesson we always need to keep in mind is that we may not be responsible for what has happened to us, but we are always responsible for what we do about it.
We can’t change the past.
When we get caught up in “what should have been”, we get stuck living in the past.
And so, we need to constantly remind over selves to accept reality.
When we accept the reality of our current situation, it may mean coming to terms with the fact that things are bad right now, that you may be in a less than ideal situation for a longer than ideal period of time.
It might mean you just learned a hard lesson that you need to change going forward.
Whatever it is for you, as soon as you accept the reality of your situation, you can begin to move forward.When we accept the reality of our current situation, it may mean coming to terms with the fact that things are bad right now, that you may be in a less than ideal situation for a longer than ideal period of time… but it's not the end. Click To Tweet
Let Go Of The Past
Once you have accepted reality, it’s time for you to emotionally let go of the past.
Easier said than done, right?
What I have found is that the longer you hold onto feelings of what happened that you can no longer change, the longer you remain mentally stuck on your failure or setback.
How do you emotionally let go?
One way you can learn how to destroy negative thoughts by journaling them on paper and then literally destroying them.
I know that sounds silly, but it’s both a metaphorical reference and a literal experience when you do so.
Write your thoughts down on paper, and then destroy the piece of paper.
Trust me, it works.
You can also work on learning how to forgive yourself and stop feeling guilty.
Try writing down what you forgive yourself for and then write a new vow about how you would like to be going forward.
In order to overcome failure and setbacks you must focus your mind and let go of the past.In order to overcome failure and setbacks you must focus your mind and let go of the past. Click To Tweet
Pause And Reflect
I mentioned when I had to sit back and wait for the Botox to wear off and then regain my muscle, that it was about six months I was down and out.
During that time, there was a lot of time to pause and reflect on my situation.
It was very mentally challenging, but when we are down and out we must ask our self “What are the lessons that I can draw from this experience?” and “How can I use them to move forward?”.
For me, I learned things like that I was trying to move too quickly. I needed to be more patient.
I learned that success doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a strong foundation, and things like Botox are there to help further your progress, not be the reason for your progress.
Ask yourself questions like “If I were to do this all over again, what would I do differently?”, or “Where did things go wrong?” and “How could I have helped avoided this?”.
You may also want to ask “How will this help me?”, and so when you pause and reflect you learn how to capture your mental resilience.
Go Back To The Basics
Learning to walk again meant I had to focus on one toe at a time.
It meant trying to move one ankle at a time.
It meant trying to find the strength to stand – before I learned how to take a step one more time.
Where you are in your life or your business today, how can you go back to the basics?
Do you need to scale down your team size?
Do you need to get back to practicing delegation?
Do you need to eliminate some products from your product line?
Have you stopped 1:1 meetings trying to keep in touch with everyone, but lost connection with your team?
What about your sales process? Can you simplify it? Have you added in too many steps somewhere that made things confusing and you lost sales because of that?
What does it look like for you to “go back to the basics”?
Ask yourself, “What was the foundation of what got me to where I was right before your failure or setback happened?”, then focus on those key principles to get yourself back on track.When lost, ask yourself “What was the foundation of what got me to where I was right before your failure or setback happened?”, then focus on those key principles to get yourself back on track. Click To Tweet
Focus On Today
Building on everything that we have just discussed, the final step is to keep focusing your mind on where you are today and where you want to go.
Ask yourself “What is the next right step?”.
“What do I have control over that I can focus on today?”
Do you need to call your manager or VP to have a meeting and touch base on where your project currently stands?
Do you need to reach out to Human Resources and ask them for some support in maintaining your personal wellbeing after a personal setback you have encountered?
Do you maybe just need to take some time off to give yourself some time and space to recover from burnout?
One of my favourite comments I ever received after a group coaching session inside The Resilience Toolbox was that “All your work is focused on the present moment and the future, not the past.”.
For me, that was one of the biggest compliments I could receive.
When it comes to managing change and being mentally resilient, we must learn how to focus on the future and what we have control over in order to overcome setbacks and move forward today.
In order to overcome failure and setbacks you must learn how to get control over your mind.
The failure or setback has already happened. What’s done is done, and so the game is to understand how you can quickly let go of the past, refocus your mind, and move forward today.
When we focus on small things that make a big difference, that is how each of us can become a hero in our own movie.
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