Ep. 22: Bouncing Back from Setbacks

You’re going about your day, week, or month. Things seem to be going really well for the first time in quite some time, and then all of a sudden it hits you. Something goes on in your life or your business and you find yourself in what we call a setback. Setbacks can be something as little as you have to reroute your day and they can be something that makes you want to just crawl in your bed and stay there for the next month.

This week on The Gutsy Podcast . . .

We’re going to talk about bouncing back from setbacks. How do we pick up our boots, strap them back on, and get back out into the world after we have gone through something that seems so overwhelmingly discouraging and we’ve lost all of our inspiration and motivation?

Setbacks could be something as minor as someone sends you an email and the tone just comes off weird and it puts you in a little bit of a mental tizzy and it could be something as monumental as a financial setback or something traumatic that has happened in your life.

Some common business setbacks that we’ve experienced (and we know that other people have experienced) are maybe an employee didn’t work out the way that you thought that they would. Or maybe you were really counting on this contract and everything seemed to be going as planned and at the 11th hour it fell through. Maybe you messed up on a project, maybe it was your own personal mistake. Or maybe you’ve invested a lot of time, money, and effort into a strategy that you thought, “You know what, this has got to work. This is the thing.” And it completely bombed. Or maybe your financials are just completely out of control and you don’t know which end is up.

Setbacks are “progress in disguise”

The thing about setbacks is it takes an emotional toll on our minds and our bodies—especially in a place where we feel like we’ve lost all of our momenta. And I know when you’re in that moment it feels completely opposite of that, and I have this love-hate relationship of the phrase “everything happens for a reason” because at the moment you don’t really give two shits about the reason. You’re just feeling really crappy, right?

But on the other side of it, when you have worked your way through it and passed it, then you can look back in hindsight and say, “Oh, you know what? I know why that happened now and I’m so thankful that it did.”

What I’ve learned is that when we mess up, it often means that we’re leveling up. Things seem to be at their most chaotic right before you’re about to make a breakthrough. But still, setbacks, are kind of a big deal, right? They shift our moods, they deter us from where we’re headed, and they can just seem really overwhelming at the time.

How do we recover from setbacks?
  1. The very first thing that you have to do is take care of yourself. We are so quick to be judgmental and hard on ourselves. We think everything is our fault: How could I have done this differently? Ugh, if I would have just done this thing, then I wouldn’t be in this situation. Overcoming setbacks begins with your mindset.
  2. Don’t retract from everything you’re doing and lose momentum. I don’t know about you, but you can often find me curled up in my pajamas, hibernating in my house for a couple of days or weeks or maybe even longer than that after a setback. So, allow your emotions the time they need to express whatever they need to express, but be sure to get back into the world some, too.
  3. Embrace your emotions. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be pissed off. It’s okay to be woe is me. You know, these are natural human instincts and reactions. So when you went to push them off or shove them in a box under your bed, you’re not giving them the time they need to release from your body. I’m a huge fan of a good old fashioned ugly ass cry. Like you know, the snotty kind when everything’s falling apart and you just have to let it out. Imagine if you held all that in? That’s where long-term challenges, health issues, and mental setbacks stem from.
  4. Try not to be too low for too long. I’m all about a good, ugly cry, but let that shit out and then let it go. We sit, mull, spin our wheels, and go over and over and over again—it’s really not healthy. It’s not productive and it’s not going to get you to where you know that you can go.
  5. Lean on trusted sources: your spouse, your best friend, a business mentor, someone that you just, that knows your story and really believes in you. It’s okay to lean on those people and say, “You know what? I’m not okay right now and I could just use you. Maybe we could just have a glass of wine or two, or watch a movie, or maybe we could just stay on the couch all day.”
  6. Don’t throw your health out the window. You could have been on a great eating plan or a good exercise routine and something goes really shitty in your life and then all of a sudden you find yourself pounding a bag of Cheetos like it’s your job. Pick yourself back up and start to reengage in the healthy activities you have boycotted.
  7. Take a little bit of time to invest in yourself. It’s okay to have some breathing room. Our natural instinct is when there’s a problem, fix it right away. And we don’t give ourselves the time to recover from these things and the recovery period is just as important as the comeback. As a matter of fact, it’s part of the comeback.
  8. Really take a look at the people around you. Surrounding yourself with people who lift you up is a great way to start to recover from whatever setback you’re coming out of. The things—people and places—that you surround yourself with have an enormous impact on your motivation.
Then what?

After you’ve given yourself a little bit of time just to marinate in things and let your body and your mind do what it needs to do, then it’s a really great idea to get the support you need in the area you struggled/are struggling in. It’s okay to have weaknesses, but it’s most important to acknowledge your weaknesses and know where you need that help. No one can do all of this alone and you are not expected to have the answers to every single question.

For instance, if this was a huge financial setback, it’s a great idea to consult with an accountant or someone that is super financially savvy that can help you see what happened and most importantly, how do we prevent it from happening again in the future?

If you went through more of an emotional setback, something emotionally happened in your life, maybe seeking out a therapist or a trusted person that you can just kind of unload on and say, “This is what I have, this is what I’m going through, this is what I’m feeling and I don’t really know what to do with these things.” Therapy has been a literal saving grace in my life and it has really helped me to navigate not only what my emotions are feeling in the moment, but where are they stem from. Emotional turmoil can wreak havoc on your life if you don’t deal with it, and again, it’s okay. You don’t have to go at this alone. You just have to be willing to allow someone to come in to help you overcome it.

If you experienced a business setback, maybe something shifted in your business or something went wonky that you weren’t expecting and you just don’t know how to deal with it, that’s where a business coach or a consultant is absolutely priceless. A lot of times these folks see your business from a different perspective. They have a fresh set of eyes. They can see things that you can’t because you’re so knee deep in it and face down in your computer and trying to figure things out. The solution often is really easy and right in front of you, but it can be the hardest thing to see because it’s clouded in front of you. Sometimes this is integrating new strategies or changing processes or shifting the way that you do things on a regular basis.

Sometimes these setbacks are out of your control and sometimes they’re a direct result of something that you have done. And either way, it’s not right or wrong and it’s not good or bad, but it’s an opportunity to learn and to shift.

Shift your mindset

If you didn’t listen to last Tuesday’s episode on mindset, I highly encourage you to go back and listen to that because your mindset is really the navigation to your entire course. If you’ve gone through something and then you continue to beat yourself up, it’s going to be really challenging to not only overcome it but prevent it in the future.

Guys, you have to be easier on yourself. And I’m saying this out loud so that I can hear it back into myself as well because it’s so easy to put the blame on ourselves, to point the finger back at us and say, “I’m screwing everything up. Here we are again. I told you this was going to happen.” Being positive in a challenging situation is not always easy and it’s most certainly not always the first reaction that we want to give it. But if you start to shift your mindset to say, “You know what, this was really crappy, but this is also a really incredible opportunity for me to reshape things and get back on track.”

And if you’ve done the work ahead of this by letting your emotions have the time that they need and seeking out the advice that you need from trusted people, when you start to shift back into, “Okay, you know what, I’m ready to get back in there.” And it’s not always like this bold statement that you say to yourself, but sometimes it’s just a feeling. And a lot of times it’s just being willing to make one move.

A handful of episodes ago we talked about how do we find inspiration when we’re not motivated to do anything. That often starts with literally just doing something. Maybe it’s making a phone call or sending an email. Maybe it’s changing a document or going out and talking to people. But the fire starts to reignite after you start to slowly build yourself back into it. You may not feel like doing it and that’s completely normal, but if you’re willing to try, there’s amazing opportunity on the other side of this.

Last but not least . . .

Now, it’s time to get a plan and start moving. Sometimes this is a reroute of your strategy and re-looking at things from a bird’s eye perspective. Sometimes this is absorbing a lot of new information, so listening to podcasts or picking up a new book or reading an article you’ve been meaning to read. When you can flood yourself with awesome information, that’s also a natural fire-starter.

Remember too, that Rome wasn’t built in a day. So you’re not going to overcome this overnight most times. So I really want you to look at your priorities. What’s your number one goal and what are a handful of actionable things you can do to get to that? Make a list and hold yourself accountable to get back into the gist of things.

Setbacks suck, right?

They’re not fun. They don’t make us feel great. But if you start to really look at your setbacks as an opportunity to say, “You know what, this was, this was one of those moments that’s going to get me to the shining moment on the other side. I’m going to learn something really amazing in this situation. Let’s gonna number one, help me prevent it from happening in the future, but two help to set me and my entire team up for success.”

Part of overcoming setbacks is embracing them and knowing that they are part of the ebb and flow of business. Be easy on yourself. Okay, you’re doing a great job and I can’t wait to see the amazing things that you conquer.

More juice

Tune into the full episode above to hear more on things like the most MONUMENTAL setback in my personal career—oof—and other ways to bounce back from those seemingly detrimental setbacks.

Until then, follow The Gutsy Podcast on Facebook and Instagram or for more business insights, follow me on Instagram @thatlauraaura. See ya next time!

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