4 Effective Ways to Use Setbacks as Fuel for Success in Your Business

Photo by  Brooke Lark  on  Unsplash

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

I believe setbacks have the ability to propel us forward if we learn how to recognize the opportunity it creates. On the flip side, we can easily fall into the trap of ruminating in the negative feelings that a setback evokes. Anxiety, stress, and overwhelm can easily become your focus. Spiralling into negative thinking leads to loss of momentum, possibly more so than the momentum lost from the setback itself. So, how do you build resilience against this? I'll get to that but first I want to share the story that inspired this post. 

I am recovering from one of the worst stomach viruses I've ever had in my life. And that includes all food poisoning I've experienced to date. Sound kind of dramatic? What I noticed about my inner dialogue was that it had become very negative. "I feel like I'm dying! This is the worst!", or "Why me!?" And even now, as I recover it's easy to use it as an excuse to re-evaluate my goals and let things slide. 

Then, I checked myself. I recalled the most physically and mentally challenging time of my life. After almost going into liver failure and initially not being able to meet or nurse my newborn twins, the vision I had for a beautiful birth story was quickly shattered. I was completely unprepared for this setback. But do you know what is so interesting? During this time, I managed to stay extremely positive. In fact, I don't remember any trauma at all and think back to that time as life affirming, deeply meaningful and continue to draw on the events surrounding that time as inspiration. I felt productive and empowered, despite my very real limitations. So why is this? And how can you deliberately use setbacks as fuel for growth and success in your business and personal life? See my list below. 

4 Ways to Use Setbacks as Fuel for Success

1. Cultivate a Growth Mindset- I had nothing to lose and everything to gain when I was in the hospital literally fighting for my life. I was so motivated to be the mom my babies needed me to be in that moment. Immediately following a setback, if you focus on the goal instead of what just happened, not only does your perception change but you naturally start moving in a more positive direction. Think: what is the growth opportunity? I had a whiteboard in my hospital room that I updated with positive quotes and progress we were making, like the slowly increasing weight of my preemie twins. 

2. Focus on Gratitude - There is always something to be grateful for and if we choose to focus on it, no mental space remains for the thoughts that lead to anxiety and overwhelm. I could have chosen to prolong the mourning of the loss of my ideal birth story and rights of passages, like a baby shower. Instead, I chose to be swept away with gratitude for being alive and having a second chance to live my life, empowered to do so on my own terms.  

3. Keep Moving Forward- "Progress, and purpose, not perfection" has become my mantra. Even if you can achieve one baby-step in the direction of your goals, it is enough. Trust that it is where you need to be. Slowing down opens our eyes to things we may not have seen if we are hustling at a faster pace. And most importantly, it allows us to get grounded in our purpose instead of wasting energy trying to achieve an elusive standard of perfection. 

4. Make "Lemonade"- Find the Hidden Opportunities- how might this setback you experienced uniquely position you to help others? If you are experiencing the pain from the setback, I guarantee someone else will come across the same challenge and need support from someone like you. Perhaps your ideal customer or prospect is facing these same struggles and it will help you to connect and build trust with them because you've been there and found a unique way to overcome it.*

There you have it, my tips for using setbacks as fuel to ignite your dreams. So remember next time you have a setback, you have two choices: You can use the setback as fuel for success or fuel for stress. Which will you choose? 

*If you've recently experienced a setback in your business, and want to learn more about how to use that setback as inspiration to create meaningful, valuable content or products that will attract your ideal market, click here to set up a free coaching consultation with me.