Setbacks, no matter how hard we try, we will all suffer setbacks at some point. I know I've experienced many in my time on this planet. When this happens we really have three options:
- Give up and accept that we're a failure
- Muddle along, knowing we need a change, but not doing anything about it
- Pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and move onwards and upwards
Forget about the first two they should be non-starters. As bad as things seem now, they will get better, and you'll get there sooner if you're actively trying to improve your situation. So what can we do?
Now that we've made the decision to move forward there are several ways we can do this. I've broken it down into 3 courses of action, let's go through them one at a time.
Examine what went wrong and correct it. In many cases all we need to do is make a minor course correction. It's not always necessary to reinvent the wheel.
Say for example, you were supposed to complete a report for work but you're running behind because you're missing some vital piece of information. Let your boss know the situation right away. They might not be happy, but they will appreciate your honesty.
Now that you've moved passed the immediate situation, you can look at how to avoid the problem in the future. Perhaps you waited too long to get started, and it's as simple as accelerating the timetable on your next project to ensure you have enough time to deal with any unforeseen issues. Time management is often the culprit in these cases.
Be honest with yourself. Human nature is such that we will normally look to make excuses for ourselves. Avoid this trap. Usually if you look at things objectively, you'll see there is room for improvement.
Recognize when you're moving in the wrong direction. Sometimes we're moving in completely the wrong direction. This can be a hard thing to accept. Perhaps you've recently been fired from your job. This is a devastating experience for anyone.
You can wallow in self pity, or do something about it. I recommend the latter. Look at this as an opportunity to re-evaluate your career choice. Making a change can be a scary thing, but it may be the best choice. It's better to do it now, than to bounce from job to job because you've chosen the wrong career for you.
Seek the help of others. Sometimes a problem is more than you can handle alone. Don't be afraid to ask for help. It's not a sign of weakness, in fact, I'd argue it's a sign of inner strength.
You might want to turn to your peers, to your family and friends, or maybe you need professional help with your particular situation. The point is, don't hesitate to ask. Quite often when you're dealing with a setback you just can't see a way out. While someone else looking at it from the outside, might be able to offer you a solution you never considered.
So don't allow setbacks to become more than they are. Choose to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move forward. How have you dealt with setbacks? I'd love to hear from you.