Career setbacks are often hard on one’s ego, but the trick is to not let them consume you.
By Priya Prakasan
No road to success is without its share of impediments and hurdles. Even the most successful people have to deal with setbacks at one time or another. Some are big enough to derail a project or even your career; others are small and have minimum impact on your equilibrium. Whether it’s losing a client, missing out on a promotion, or enduring a public dressing down from your boss, setbacks have the power to shake you to disrupt your life. So how do you overcome the disappointment and frustration, and move forward? Here are some techniques that will help you recover from a setback and push yourself forward.
1. Build a strong support system
Whether at work or in the personal realm, it is important to have a strong support system that you can turn to when things get tough. These are the resources who will provide help and support or just a sympathetic ear if need be. Having this support system in place will help you to recover fast, keep things in perspective, and provide insight that can help you come to terms with your situation and come back stronger.
2. Acknowledge the setback
A setback is bound to cause some negative emotions. Frustration, anger and disappointment are to be expected. So don’t try to pretend they don’t exist. It’s okay, in fact it is necessary, for you to acknowledge the negative emotions you have following the fall. But while doing so, remember not to blame others for the mistakes or be too harsh on yourself. Don’t fall prey to the victim mindset. Give yourself time to process the setback, understand the factors that led to it and arm yourself with the knowledge so that you ensure the mistake isn’t repeated.
3. Seek feedback
Emotions are at a high after a setback, so you’re likely to be a little vulnerable and therefore less inclined to ask others what they think in case they speak some harsh truths. But this is exactly what you should do. Turn to your support system, allies, colleagues, mentors, etc and ask them their frank opinion of the situation. What do they think went wrong? They will help you assess and review the situation and help you understand your next steps so that you can move forward with a positive attitude.
4. Don’t let it consume you
Remember this isn’t the first time you failed, and it isn’t going to be the last. So you need to steer clear of wallowing in your failure or becoming fixated on it. Process the situation, glean what information you can and let it go. Accept that failure is one part of your professional life, and that too a temporary part. Take a step back, steer clear of judgement or blame and remind yourself that this setback is temporary and push past it.
5. Keep an open mind
It’s possible you need to recalibrate your goals, strategies, etc based on what you have learned from your setbacks. When you are more open to alternatives the probability of getting back on the right track is more likely. Strategise and devise a plan that will minimise the impact of the setback and at the same time open up more alternate opportunities for you. Tap into the power of a setback and prepare for a rebound after a career catastrophe.