16 August 2011

Managing Setbacks

One of the best lessons that I have had to learn in life is that setbacks are temporary - not only are they temporary, they can also come with valuable lessons. It is a tough lesson to learn and one that you will find very valuable. Setbacks are not the end of the journey in life even though people, myself included, may want to give up when you encounter one. They are temporary and if we can learn to manage a setback well - we can still achieve our goals and live a full and rewarding life.

The law of attraction states that your thoughts are powerful and they determine what you acomplish in life. We many all recall the story of the little engine who said "I think I can, I think I can." Even as children we were being taught that our mind is a powerful tool. Setbacks can produce negative thinking patterns and these are what interferes with our progress - not the setback itself but how we think about the setback.

A very clear example concerns losing weight - I've set a goal to lose 50 lbs in 2 years. I had a bit of a setback recently where I lost my motivation for a week or so. In past, I would have taken this slip from the wagon as evidence that I "don't have what it takes." or that "I'm never going to lose weight." or any number of excuses that would have lead me to quit the journey.

But in my role as lifecoach, I often tell people what I needed to tell myself - this was a setback, not the end of the road. I can get back up, learn from the setback, and move forward again. I know the steps to take to get back on course.

First, understand that setbacks are a normal part of the journey. The journey is not a linear path from A to Z. It is more like a series of advances and retreats and tweeking to get where you want to go. Setbacks often come with valuable lessons in life. Many a successful busines people have had to re-evaluate the path they were taking because of unforseen obstacles. Setbacks are normal.

Secondly, realize that setbacks are temporary and don't let your mind convince you otherwise. They're not here to stay - the cycle of life is always changing. If you start to let yourself believe that you "always" run into obstacles or that you are "never" going to achieve your goal - you run the risk of believing that you are helpless. I have first hand experience with this one - I can remember after I lost my drivers' license through vision loss - I had convinced myself that I "would never be happy again." That was a falsehood brought on by fear. This type of absolute thinking can lead to disaster and derail you permanently.

Finally, seek out resources to get you beyond stuck. If you're not moving forward, you may need help. Maybe a lifecoach or counsellor can help you to reflect upon your thought patterns and actions to see where it is that you're not working in your best interest.

Setbacks are a normal part of life. What we do with them makes the difference between success and stagnation - take charge of your life and take the necessary steps to ensure that you continue to move forward. Enjoy the journey...