Business Professional Network

What is a setback? We’ve all had setbacks in our business and our lives. I’ve had my share, including the loss of my job after a 22-year run as a Creative Director. As a business owner I lost a huge website deal that would have launched me into the next level of business, and as a father I watched as family issues necessitated a step back from my business. Each time, I needed to figure out my next steps.

What was my motivation? Easy —

Have to Eat!

Water always running!

Lights always on!


It’s easy to be negative after you suffer a setback. The question becomes, how can you achieve your goals and move forward after experiencing a setback? Here’s some steps I’ve taken to motivate myself:

  • Be prepared. After I was let go from my job I had no plan B. I became the accidental business owner and made sure I had a plan from then on. They haven’t always been great plans but they are plans nonetheless. As my business has changed I have reevaluated my plans along the way. I’ve taught myself new things constantly. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have thought about web design and programming work. Now it’s my intro ask with everyone I meet.
  • Be positive. How you talk to yourself after a setback is huge. Be optimistic and positive. By nature I am not an eternal optimist and it takes effort to focus myself to think this way. But it has been a great benefit to me time and time again. Positivity makes me more confident and that translates to the person I’m talking to. The sun always comes up; it’s corny but vital to remember.
  • Embrace discomfort. The only constant in life is change. This was hard to do for me but vital to rebounding. Walking into my first BNI meeting and first social networking event was very hard, but as I did it it became easier. Having uncomfortable conversations are especially hard, but as you have more of them they become easier too. Change is good.
  • Take good care of yourself. Get into healthy mental habits. You’ve heard other people talk about their morning routines to start the day. These routines work. Meditate. Read. Stretch. Exercise. Write. Drink coffee alone outside. All these things are easy to achieve and can center you as you start the day.
  • Don’t Dwell On The Past. A huge waste of your time after experiencing a setback is to dwell on the past. Don’t dwell on what you did wrong to produce a setback. The setback happened, it happened for a reason, and it happened to teach you a valuable lesson moving forward. Be happy it happened and that you are able to get back on course. Looking at the past will only make you feel worse. Think about the future, what you’re going to change this time around, and how much better your approach is going to be.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Again, this sounds corny but it works. Everyone who inspires me has something to offer that I can learn from. And I know that when I need advice on a particular subject I can reach out and get the right answers.
  • Bet on Yourself. Wayne Gretzky gave the best advice of all. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. A setback would seem like the worst time to bet on yourself, but its actually the best because you will be at an open moment in your thinking. You may use the setback to go in the complete opposite direction, and be open to trying a new approach. Starting Wooly Head Design after I was fired was the best career move I ever made.

Setbacks are opportunities to change your habits, your routines, and your way of thinking. Even though they can be scary as hell, they can be used as motivation to be better at what you do and how you approach your business and your life.

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