Overcoming Setbacks; How to Dust Yourself Off and Move on to Success
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston Churchill
Failure. It’s a loaded word and many people take issue with it, preferring to insist that there is no such thing, but rather there are only opportunities to learn. That’s a nice, sugarcoated way to look at it, but (yep, I’m going to say it), failure is a certainty in life, and, at the same time, it’s not the unspeakable disaster everyone thinks it is.
It is unfortunate that in our society, failure can be made to feel like the worst thing that could ever happen to a person.
Expecting to cruise on through without a single bump in the road is unrealistic and sets you up to fall even harder when failure does occur.
In actuality, failure is not unexceptional; learning to overcome it, and push through to more fruitful accomplishments, is the key to success.
The reality is, if you have not seen any failure in life, you are not truly living; you are playing it safe. Risk is part of success.
Here are 5 crucial steps for overcoming setbacks and moving on to success.
1. Give yourself a break.
People don’t usually recover from a big setback or failure overnight. It takes time for the emotions to settle, and wounds to heal. That doesn’t mean you’re entitled to sit around feeling sorry for yourself, though. This time is better spent in gentle reflection; in other words, don’t beat yourself up, just look at what went wrong.
Give yourself an appropriate amount of time and then, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back in the game.
2. Forget about what other people think.
Most folks have no idea what effort has gone into your endeavors or what you are trying to accomplish; it’s always easy to be a Monday morning quarterback.
Turn a deaf ear to what others may be saying, turn your focus toward what matters, and know this: Soon enough, your disappointment will be yesterday’s news.
3. Understand that overcoming failure is not an option; it is a necessity.
It is not about whether you can overcome, but rather how you will overcome. If you are going to live a life worth living, you will see setbacks; it, therefore, must be a given that you will always find a way to overcome them.
Dale Carnegie author of How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936) said, it is crucial to “develop success from failures”
4. Realize that success and failure are not two separate paths.
They are, in fact, one and the same; it is only that success is further down the street.
Carnegie also said, “Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success” If success doesn’t come from the start, when you do succeed, every prior attempt will have been somehow a setback or failed attempt.
Successful people do not see failure as the last word on the matter; they persist past the obstacle in the road, and move on to their destined accomplishment.
5. Don’t let a specific failure go global on you.
You must see each individual endeavor as a “try”- a rehearsal, if you will. Failure at one project, or attempt at something, does not then define you as a failure on the whole. It does not define your character, your intelligence, or your ability.
Isolate the incident, examine what went wrong there, and know that you can either try again or turn your attention toward something else with great potential for success.
6. Celebrate the effort.
Regardless of whether you succeed or fail, always applaud yourself for trying. You tried. That’s more than many can say, and failure is assured if you never get out the gate.
7. Focus on trying again.
Overnight victories are rare; the most successful among us are typically people who have been trying and failing and trying again their entire lives.
As James Whitcomb Riley once said, “The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.”