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5 effective ways to recover from a setback at work

Learn how to turn the situation around and use it to your advantage. By Satyaki Sarkar

Failures and setbacks are not only inevitable in life, but are in fact necessary as well. It becomes easy to let ourselves become overwhelmed with by the blow of failure, but if you’re chasing success, then you cannot afford to let that be the case. There’s a popular saying, ‘Failures are the pillars of success’. And it’s a hard truth that we need to look deeper into our setbacks and failures to explore how we can turn them around and come back with renewed vigour and a more experienced approach. Here’s how you can make the most of these learning opportunities.

1. Identify the problem
The very first step to recovering from a setback is sitting down with a calm and composed mind and identifying the reason that led to it in the first place. Instead of blaming external factors and company politics, you need to take an objective review of the situation, trace it back to the exact moment things went wrong and what caused it to. This will help you to evaluate yourself, check whether any of the estimates and calculations you had made fell short, whether you had reacted appropriately, and if given the chance what would you do differently. In order to understand all this it helps to have one-on-one meetings with a wide variety of people including peers, subordinates, and superiors, keeping an open mind, to gather candid, unbiased feedback, instead of seeking validation and false consolation from near and dear ones.

2. Change your perspective and learn
The only way that a setback can stop being one is if you stop seeing it that. In order to overcome a failure or setback and get back in the saddle, you need to change your perspective and treat it as a learning opportunity. Every failure is a chace for you to strengthen and improve your skills, so that the next time you come across a similar opportunity, you can make the most of it, without repeating your mistakes. In fact, if you look back you will see a long list of important life lessons learnt and personal growth achieved as a result of certain mistakes or setbacks in life. This is because challenging experiences and obstacles are what contribute the most towards building up our confidence and help us achieve success.

3. Prepare yourself for the next opportunity
Once you have learnt all you can from the failure/mistake/setback and have tackled the reasons which led to it, you need to devise a strategy that will give you a competitive edge the next time a similar opportunity knocks on your door. The key is to not give in to complacency and overconfidence, but instead to keep honing your skills and working on better and faster ways of improving the parameters on which you were judged. A lot of us make the mistake of letting our skills and expertise remain dormant and unused while we wait for another opportunity to come our way, which leaves us completely unprepared and caught off guard when it does, leading us to fail again. However, if you keep working on yourself and think of more innovative ways to tackle problems and challenges, not only will you be keeping your confidence high, but when you finally do get the opportunity you will be able to take it by the horns and make the most of it.

4. Ask for help
When we have suffered a setback, our ego and pride makes us retreat back into ourselves and shun the help of anyone else for fear of being belittled for it. However, when you are trying to overcome a setback one of your biggest enemies is isolation. So make an effort to let go of your pride and try to reach out to other people, be it peers or superiors, who have either faced the same and overcome it or those who can give you an objective and focused view of the reasons why you didn’t. Not only does seeking help instantly introduce you to other avenues and means to achieving success, but also makes you stand apart as someone who has accepted his shortcomings and is sincerely working to overcome them.

5. Keep an eye out for the next opportunity
After you have accepted the setback and worked to overcome it, the next step is to be on the look out for opportunities. In this regard, it isn’t just enough to wait until an opportunity comes your way, sometimes you need to go out and create that opportunity for yourself. Talk to management, catapult yourself into the line of fire again. Many times we become so set in our ways that we close ourselves off to anything apart from what we have convinced ourselves is the only thing that would work. Instead, if you keep exploring opportunities you might discover something that is even more suited for you and one that you would enjoy. 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz

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