How To Survive Setbacks

Published: September 9, 2015
By: Faye Hollands

Setbacks can really suck.  They can rear their ugly head at any time, impacting all areas of your life, and if you let them get under your skin they can easily stop you in your tracks completely.  So what can you do if you’ve hit a road block in your career or business and are struggling to get going again?  Here’s what I do…

For those of you who have been following me on social media you’ll know I love running.  I found it later in life, got the bug, and thrived on the way it made me feel.  After having kids I found it was a great stress-reliever, giving me previous ‘me-time’ to think and clear my head.  And as I got better my diary started filling up with races, leading to my first marathon last year.  Life was good.

Then my feet decided they didn’t want to play anymore.  Injuries ensued and I’ve literally spent thousands on experts, treatments, injections, different shoes… you name it, I’ve pretty much done it all.  The thing about me is I’m like a dog with a bone.  I don’t give up on goals, ever.  So I set myself a new marathon goal for November this year, and was hell-bent on achieving it.  Nothing was going to stop me – or so I thought.

Then I went for a killer run that pretty much wrote me off.  I could barely walk the next day, couldn’t lift my youngest daughter because of the pain in my foot, and it was then that I had to take serious stock of the setback that had been plaguing me for 18 months.  Now clearly there are millions of people that go through way worse than this and beat the odds hands down, so I don’t mean to be dramatic.  BUT, when it’s you, and you want something really badly, a setback can unleash a whole host of emotions that pay havoc with your mind, and impact many areas of your life.  How you deal with that setback can really define you.

The thing is, is doesn’t matter whether the set back is in your personal or professional life – if it’s something that’s important to you then the associated pain is something you’ll want to get rid of ASAP.

So what’s the best way to deal with those inevitable roadblocks that stop you from achieving your goals?  From my experience, both personally and professionally, there are some key steps that really can make the world of difference: –

  1. Stop:  don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and hoping that the outcome will get better or the problem will go away.
  2. Seek:  get expert advice from someone you trust – this will save you time and money in the long run, and you’ll get back on your feet (excuse the pun!) far sooner
  3. Wait:  be patient and don’t expect results over night – depending on the severity of the issue it might takes days, weeks or months to resolve, and if that’s what’s required be ready to sit it out
  4. Plan:  make sure you have a plan on how to progress with a clear, specific timeline – this will give you a greater sense of control and allow you to track your progress, both of which can significantly improve mindset and motivation
  5. Celebrate:  don’t lose sight of the small wins – it might be a while until you’re firing on all cylinders again, but every step forward is a step in the right direction to stay positive acknowledge the progress you’re making

For me, I pushed the boundaries for too long.  I should have stopped and taken stock last year, instead of continuing to make an injury worse.  Perhaps you’re doing this in your career right now – I’ve seen clients keep applying the same approach to a professional relationship that just isn’t working, and instead of changing tact they’ve simply kept doing the same thing over and over again, which has only amplified the problem.

I’ve been great at seeking advice, but you’d expect that from a Coach!  My biggest issue by far has been #3 – waiting.  Patience is something I’ve been working on for a long time, and when it comes to personal pursuits I have a way to go!  Only when things got bad did I actually take my own advice – which has definitely cost me in the long run.

So today, a day before my 41st birthday (yes, I know, how is that possible, I only look 21!!!) and two months since my last run, I decided to take my feet on a little outing to the beach and see how they behaved.  I ran 2km’s which is about 40km’s short of where I thought I’d be right now, but I’m glad to say I’m at #5 today – celebrating the small wins.  It wasn’t pretty, I huffed and puffed the whole distance, and I certainly won’t be running a marathon in November.   BUT I ran, I loved every minute of it – and my foot held up!

So if you’re stuck right now in any area of your life, don’t keep flogging a dead horse.  Stop, follow the 5 steps above, and don’t hesitate to let me know if you’d like some help with #2.

Faye Hollands

About Faye Hollands

Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success. To receive weekly articles to improve your career, business and time management skills click here or book your Free Focus Session here.

You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email

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