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Handling Setbacks

Think back to a recent setback or disappointment in your career or personal life. Think about how you felt. How long did it take for you to bounce back? Did you formulate an action plan? Did you blame yourself...blame others? Did you eat a quart of rocky road ice cream? How you handle a setback defines who you are.

Let's say there are two ends of the spectrum - the optimist and the pessimist. You may be at any point of the spectrum.

The optimist experiences a challenge. They see it as a temporary situation, something that they'll get past. An optimist will often make a plan for recovery, and take action. An optimist looks to the future.

A pessimist is at the opposite end of the spectrum. They see a problem, and the problem affects every aspect of their life, and no solution to the problem is in sight. There is usually someone to blame for this problem. Have you ever tried to help a pessimist solve a problem? They will argue with you that every possible solution will not work. There is no happy future; all is hopeless.

A pessimist will say that an optimist is not realistic. Maybe that is the case. However, perhaps that slightly unrealistic view is what allows the optimist to meet the challenge head on and succeed.

How can you move along the spectrum to be on the sunny side of the street?

  • Examine your behavior. Be honest with yourself.

  • When a challenge arises, step back and see it for what it is. Look for the opportunity within the challenge. Sometimes the opportunity is merely the experience gained from getting through it.

  • Don't let the problem become your life, or your raison d'être.

  • Move into action to resolve the problem immediately. Make a plan and get started.

  • Believe in yourself and your power.

Henry Ford once said, "If you think you can or you think you can't, you are right." Optimists may have greater success, health and happiness. Pessimists may experience a self-fulfilling prophecy of unhappiness and despair. You choose your spot on the spectrum. Guess where you'll find me.

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