4 strategies to focus on when you encounter setbacks


Setbacks are a normal part of the path to success. You will bound to encounter setbacks – many of them – throughout your career. Even the biggest superstars at work experience impediments. Maybe your project that you’ve planned for ages, didn’t go as planned. Maybe you had to endure public criticism from your boss, or a promotion that you were counting on just didn’t happen.

Some setbacks are small. Others can make you feel like the world is crumbling and you just want to give up. Most fall somewhere in between. Moving forward from these painful failures is an immense challenge.

Here are four key strategies to ensure you’ve correctly identified why you’ve had a setback at work:

Don’t copy everyone else

One of the common first responses to look out for deviations from best practice, or to look to colleagues or competitors for advice. If you are suffering setbacks and your colleagues or competitors hasn’t, it can be tempting to believe that acting more like them can lead to victory. Every business and their way of working is very different from yours, and copying them is far from the perfect approach. Plus, even if you could, copying is a path to mediocrity at best.

Drop the guessing game

After the panic of a setback has settled in, business leaders will frequently call meetings to understand what went wrong. Everyone will share their understanding of the situation. But such an exercise is often a collection of guesses about what the root cause might have been. When people bring their personal biases and assumptions into the group discussion, the approach can lead you astray. Drop these meetings – they’re useless.

Define what’s under your control

Most business setbacks are driven by a combination of factors, both in and out of your business’s control. When trying to identify misfortunes’ causes, we often look to external events. This is natural. But to be able to bounce back from a setback – even if it’s somewhat influenced by external causes – you need to focus on finding those internal levers you can change.

Figure out how you got there

The assumptions and narratives that team members have about the setback’s root cause need to be rigorously challenged. Think of yourself as a detective: To solve the problems that led to setback, you must first find the culprit.


Bear in mind: “Every setback is a setup for a comeback.” – Joel Osteen

The next time you have to communicate what went wrong at work, make sure you understand the root cause behind it. Prop yourself up and move forward with enthusiasm. Otherwise, you’re likely to have a painful recovery.



Source: Max Pixel (image)