“I’m a slow walker but I never walk backwards.”  Abraham Lincoln

Quitters never win. A sizeable number of the world’s most successful people have failed or had setbacks at one time or the other in their lives. Multi-billionaire, Richard Branson was dyslexic, President Bill Clinton was caught in an infidelity scandal, Ronaldo De Lima nursed an ankle injury for over a year, Steve Jobs was kicked out of Apple – a company which he founded, Ray Charles was a drug addict, Donald Trump lost billions and went bankrupt and Peter denied Jesus Christ three times in one morning! Nobody is born with all the answers to life; setbacks and failures are possible natural occurrences, but, they can and should be surmounted. The ability to keep keeping on in the face of defeat is what separates career champions from failures.

Encourage Yourself

Are you facing a query, laid off, your practising license revoked or your business went bankrupt? Whatever the case may be, the first devastating effect of career setbacks or failures is emotional bankruptcy; life zaps out of you, your confidence evaporates and you are so destabilized the beer becomes your best friend or you walk out of the house without your make-up on. This is totally normal but you must stop wallowing in self-pity and depression, encourage yourself and build your confidence to get your life back in order. Accept that the deed has been done and stop crying over spilt milk. Be strong. Career setbacks usually bring with them stigma and mocking. Ignore the nay sayers. Hang out with people that care about you and engage in activities that lighten you up. It would help cheer you up and refresh your body and soul. Do not dwell on blaming yourself, anyone or anything for your setback instead change your thoughts to ‘what is the next step?’

Learn From Your Setback

Napoleon Hill, author of the classic bestseller, ‘Think And Grow Rich’, wrote in his book: ‘Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.’ This is as true as one plus one equals two . If you experience failure, it is because something somewhere went wrong. If you can take your time to meditate and discover what went wrong, you would discover the problem and with further probing, you would be able to discover the solution to that problem. Experience is the best teacher. The problems facing the ecosystem and the present cities of the world have forced an increase in research and innovators have come up with new ways of doing things. Highly successful individuals are high risk takers who have made many blunders and experienced a lot of setbacks yet they record phenomenal success after having gained a wealth of experience from their setbacks. According to the author of ‘The Bounce Back Book’, Karen Salmansohn, Bill Gates so cherishes the potential of the lessons of failure that he purposely hires people who have made mistakes. She also pointed out that when the New Coke marketing campaign failed, the executive who launched it was fired but former Coca Cola CEO, Roberto Goizueta rehired him because of his ‘risk-taker mentality.’ “You can only stumble if you are moving” Roberto said.

Take Actions And Stick To Them 

There are many things that can cause a halt or bump in a person’s career. It could be a downturn in the economy or a particular sector, government policy, health problems, bankruptcy, personal failure, etc. A victim of a career setback brought about by a downturn in the economy or a particular sector could need to take very drastic steps such as changing careers in order to bounce back. A professional who is the architect of his own career failure would need to make the necessary adjustments, if not the failures would repeat themselves. It is crucial to make new decisions, take new steps and stick to them in order to survive a career setback. Albert Einstein taught that it is insanity to keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. The UK lost one of her most talented artiste ever – Amy Winehouse, to years of succumb to hard drugs. Many friends and associates tried to talk her out of it but all to no avail. On the other hand, Ray Charles overcame his addiction to drugs and enjoyed a prolonged and successful career.

Often, career setbacks have been catalysts to never before seen levels of success. It is on record that countless individuals have made outstanding achievements just after a major setback. So, do not be afraid as you take new steps to bounce back. Richard Branson’s Virgin Airline grew astronomically after he reluctantly sold his much loved and thriving Virgin Records in order to raise funds to save his failing airline from the crushing assault and siege of British Airways.


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