Overcoming setbacks to succeed in your career and in life
If we’ve learned anything from history, it’s that nobody goes through life unscathed—no matter how rich, how smart, how talented, or how fortunate they may be. One way or another, we can all relate to the raw emotion that strikes people when they are knocked down.
Perhaps you’ve been fired. Or you’ve been side-stepped for the promotion you wanted. Maybe you reached for a golden opportunity—and did not get the nod. Perhaps you’ve finally made it to the top—don’t like what you see—and you want out.
These sorts of things may be setbacks—but they are only permanent if you allow them to be. We can let the negative overcome us—and those around us—or we can plot a course to “bounce back” to make a life transition.
First, know that you are not the first, worst, or only. Others have been where you are, and they’re doing just fine now. But it took some time and effort.
Tips and Action Steps
Evaluate, come to grips with what has happened
Acknowledge the event, but don’t be limited by it. Learn from experience. Let your emotions run their course, and then focus on starting to bounce back with a positive attitude. Take stock of what has happened, and be prepared to attack your transition with passion and a positive attitude—no matter what.
Identify the “board of directors” for your life transition
Reach out and enroll a short list of trusted advisors. Include family members and friends as well as colleagues, and mentors. Ideally, these are people who know you and will support you—but will also challenge you. Ask them for feedback, follow through, and hold yourself accountable.
Engage a professional coach to help you achieve excellence in your life
Be open to the possibilities as your coach challenges and supports you in finding your path and reaching your full potential.
Keep moving forward and don’t look back
Develop a regular routine to keep you grounded and looking forward. Maintain perspective, and a good sense of humor will not be far behind. Trust that good things will come from where you are now. Don’t just recall the good; realize there were also things that were less than ideal. From this, you will come to appreciate the vast opportunities ahead of you.
Prepare yourself for an honest self-evaluation and serious introspection
Assess you past situation objectively and honestly, and be willing to mend fences. Understand what led you to where you are now.
Discover your own best story
What will your transition look like? Determine what the best version of you should look like—and show it to everybody. Work to reach a point where you are empowered by your confidence, positive attitude, and flexibility. Think long and hard about what you want to do next—and then what you want to do after that. Think it, talk it, and it is more likely to happen. Get specific and detailed about how you will capitalize on the reentry opportunity you will receive.
Visualize your success
Be relentlessly positive and believe in yourself. Dream big and don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams are unrealistic. They are your dreams. Realize there is nothing that is out of reach when you are part of a shared vision that serves as an inspiration to all involved. Pursue your goals with the blissful determination and enthusiasm of a youngster. Appreciate the unexpected outcomes your “trigger event” will lead to and whom you will affect. Let your board of directors know you value their opinions and can’t have them being afraid to speak their minds.
Go for it
Build your self-worth—help others to help yourself. Find significance again through charitable endeavors of some type of community involvement, and make giving to others a priority in your life. Stay upbeat, and don’t become the caller ID no one wants to see. Get feedback from people who were around you when your fall was taking place. Be open to every opportunity, and view everyone you meet as a potential character in your transition. Decide what you want your brand identity to be, and then own it.
Let opportunity knock—and choose wisely
Do your homework and be prepared to capitalize on the best available opportunity. Don’t let bumps in the road detour you. Notice the lessons you are learning during every step of your transition; take the time to understand these lessons. Allow the crises of the past and interruptions in your progress to become unifying events and personal growth opportunities.
Plan your work and work your plan
Make a clear and concise plan for your immediate future. Continue your transition even when your personal goals have been met; grow and prosper as you become the flame for others.