10 Powerful Reactions To A Setback

You lost. The dream is over. What you wanted, what you were relying on, is suddenly something you can’t have. Something you relied on, has suddenly been taken away. You’ve got bad news, you’ve had a shock, it’s difficult to think straight. You’re feeling small, you’re feeling angry, you’re full of fear.

I understand. I really do. Sepsis took my arms, my legs, my face – practically everything I had. Nothing prepared me for the sudden transformation in my life, and I’ve had to deal with much of the pain alone. Feelings of fear and uncertainty are things we all have, in adversity. They can be crippling, isolating, and it can be very, very difficult to know just what to do.

Sepsis destroyed me, and I hardly knew how I could come back to life. But I have, and more than that – I’ve weathered every single setback during the ensuing two decades. It takes gumption, certainly, but also, when things go against us, we need to employ a cool kind of intelligence.

Ironically, just when we’re feeling at an emotional low point, we need to react with the objective clarity of a Dragon in the Den.

Here’s my best advice on how to react when you’re trying to deal with a setback.

  1. No negative reactions. When your back’s against the wall, you sometimes need to force yourself to be positive. Act or pretend if you have to. Just say to yourself, it’s all going to be fine. Above all, remain calm.
  2. Go back to the start – remind yourself of your main objective. Define the reason you get up in the morning, what you’re fighting for, and focus on that.
  3. Imagine yourself outside of your adverse situation, as a 3rdparty, looking in. See your situation objectively.
  4. Ask yourself, what changes can you make to improve things? If you’re in trouble, you need to take action. Make a simple step by step plan and keep referring to it.
  5. You can’t go it alone. Who can you recruit as an ally and advisor? A problem shared is a problem halved.
  6. What will be the signs that you’re beginning to reverse your adverse position? Keep those in mind, too. Keep working towards them.
  7. Do your reactions to setbacks show kindness to those involved, to the good people around you? Radiate positive energy, it’ll come back to you in waves.
  8. Do your reactions to your setbacks encourage those same people?
  9. In spite of the defeat you’ve experienced, in spite of your setback, what are the common objectives that still hold your team or family together? Cherish them.
  10. How can you engineer a break from your setback or stressful situation? You need and deserve to give yourself downtime.

Recovery is a slow process. It doesn’t happen all at once, and there can be setbacks within setbacks. But really, life is so incredibly beautiful. Whilst there are sunny days, whilst there is the rolling surf, whilst there is love, whilst there are children, whilst there is laughter, music, coffee, stars, wind, rain and the smile from someone you love – there are a thousand, thousand reasons to be grateful for every new day and every new situation.

Have a brilliant week. Good luck.