Six ways to pick yourself up after a setback

24 October 2017 -

mental setbackWhen it comes to negative experiences at work, you need these mental approaches

By Guest blogger Rick Sharpe

Events that have already occurred in our lives are cast in stone. Unfortunately, we are hardwired to always remember the ones that were devastating and painful. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once wrote that if we are living in the past, we are depressed. If we are living in the future, we are anxious. When we live in the present, we find peace.

Setbacks are a fact of life and they cross over back and forth between professional and personal. Many of the most successful people in history made it in the end because of their perseverance in the face of adversity and desire not to give up. Here are a few things to consider in the aftermath of a setback.

Practise acceptance

We can’t change the past. There is no getting away from this fact. Rather than beating ourselves up or wallowing through a blame game when things go wrong, it is up to us to make peace with it, take responsibility for own lives and objectively look at what’s happened regardless if it was out of our control.

Talk about it

Talking about what’s happened helps release the negativity embedded in that experience. Finding a supportive colleague or close friend to share our story can provide some perspective we wouldn’t have seen on our own. It can also result in some motivation to move forward as well as a renewed belief in oneself. Every time we talk about our experience, new perspectives are revealed, depending on our audience.

Take care of yourself

If we let them, setbacks can take an extreme toll on our physical and emotional wellbeing. It is very important that we take care of ourselves and no one can do that for us. We need to eat healthy and regularly, continue our normal physical activity or experiment with new ones. It is beneficial to do something nice for ourselves. Emotional wellbeing may even require interaction with a therapist in order to keep our lives in balance.

Take action

Once the reality of a setback has set in and we have objectively taken stock of what happened, this creates the space we need for the growth of self-awareness. Asking ourselves the question “How?” opens our mind to seeking solutions and from that, possibilities begin to emerge. Think of what we have under our control and make a recovery plan. Keep the plan flexible to avoid further disappointment and persevere. Do not quit!

Have faith

Having faith in who we are and staying in touch with our values and principles can be the foundation of moving forward. We should not resign ourselves to any particular knockback being our final moment. Look outwardly, not inwardly. Focus on what’s ahead not what has happened. This heightened sense of awareness may recognise an opportunity before it passes by.

Rick Sharpe is a life coach and emotional intelligence and mindfulness facilitator. He is author of The Price of Heartbreak, published by Panorama Press. For exclusive insight from business leaders on how they recovered from setbacks, see the CMI Bouncing Back research