The value of setbacks
Jim Carrey is one of the funniest people on the planet. He has been the star of some of the most successful movies of all time. But Carrey grew up extremely poor in Canada.
When he was a teenager, his family worked as janitors at a school to help pay the bills. And during his first stand-up comedy performance, he was booed off the stage. Not shortly after, he made it big on In Living Colour and then went on to star in Dumb & Dumber, The Mask, and Ace Ventura in the same year!
Which brings me to the subject of setbacks.
There are no exemptions to setbacks; no entrepreneur gets to where they want to go, without their fair share of challenges. In life too, there doesn’t seem to be any exemptions. (Do you know of anyone who has not had some challenges; setbacks or difficulties?) Here is an article by Jeff Nickles, who goes on to talk about 5 strategies to overcome your setback. (I can identify with quite a bit of his story; so hope this helps you)
We all encounter setbacks in our life. Something happens that steals all or most of our forward momentum and discourages us to the point that we want to give up.
Setbacks seem to always come at the worst possible time too. They are often deemed the straw that broke the camel’s back. They can send us into a free fall.
I want to encourage you not to quit despite your setback. Maybe this setback is just a part of The Dip that you need to press through to a greater life.
Five strategies to help you overcome your setback
I’ve had my share of setbacks. I’ve been laid off unexpectedly, experienced a business divorce and lost a home to a tornado among other things. (Jeff) Yes, I know a little about setbacks.
If there is one thing that I’ve learned through it all, it is that setbacks are just speed bumps. They are not the end of the world unless you let them be.
Here’s what to do if you experience a setback:
- Decide not to quit
I know this sounds a little silly, but you have to muster the resolve inside yourself that you are not going to quit. Quitting is a sure-fire way to fail.
You may drastically change your tactics. You may take a brief break to gather your senses. You may change directions, but you cannot sit down and give up! That is not acceptable and I won’t let you do it!
By quitting now, you will sacrifice all the time and effort you’ve invested in your journey to this point. Do not give up! Say to yourself out loud right now, “I will not quit.” Repeat it as many times as possible until you start believing it.
- Get a pep talk
Go to someone positive that you know and discuss your setback with them. Tell them you are discouraged and need a little help getting over this hump.
Every time that I encounter a setback or even a lull in one of my endeavors, I find that a little encouragement can go a long way. Often, just talking about the situation with another human being somehow makes it seem a lot less ominous. It brings it back down to size. Our imaginations can make mountains out of mole hills. Your setback may be more than a mole hill, but a good pep talk will help you. It might even spark an idea on how to mitigate some of the damage and get things back on track faster than you ever imagined. What are you waiting for? Get a pep talk!
- Recruit someone to help
If you are really stymied and overwhelmed by the whole mess on your hands, then you might want to bring someone else in to help you over the hump.
It could be a spouse, family member, business associate or friend. Anyone that has a good head on their shoulders and is willing to share the burden for a period of time to help you regain your momentum.
If your situation is particularly nasty, then you might even want to bring in a professional. You might need to speak to an attorney, consultant or accountant to help you straighten things out again.
Two heads are often better than one. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask for help! All successful people have needed help at one time or another to get to where they are. Don’t believe me? Just ask one!
- Refuse to whine
Do not become a whiner! In the beginning, you can indulge yourself with a brief, private pity party. Get it all out. Cry, fuss, stomp your feet and ask “Why me?” But, once you’ve done this leave it behind and get focused on the recovery.
Negativity, revenge, backbiting, gossip and whining have no place in overcoming setbacks. They are time wasters and only serve to drag you and everyone around you down.
Also, do not adopt an excuse and let it become your cop out. Some common examples include:
- It was the bad economy.
- They stabbed me in the back and stole my idea.
- The government didn’t give us (took) what we needed.
I repeat do not adopt one of these and make it your pet that comforts you through your pain. These excuses are crutches that can become addictions. Addictions are bad!
- Journal about your setback and your mistakes
Writing forces you by its very nature to organize your thoughts and to create structure where none formally existed. I highly recommend taking some time to start a journal.
Journaling about your setback has value because it can help you make sense of all the emotions involved. You need to sort these out so you can think clearly.
A journal also creates a record that you can refer back to recall what happened or what was said or to get a late night pick-me-up when no one is around for another pep talk.
In your private journal, admit your mistakes that led up to or contributed to this setback. What?!? Yes, you need to take some personal responsibility for what happened and you can do it in a journal. Learn from your mistakes!
Do you have a favourite failure? It’s a question author Tim Ferriss asks every guest on his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. Without fail, each guest can credit their success to a single setback or a long string of failure after failure that ultimately motivated them to improve and try again. It’s how we learn.