Photo by Matthew Lancaster
Something unexpected happens to you and it completely knocks you off your feet. You may fall apart, lose weight, get overwhelmed, and much worse, yet, when something similar happens another time, you sail though it as if nothing had happened. Amazingly, you bounce right back even better than you were before. This can be quite confusing to someone because how is it that two things that affect your life equally impact you in such different ways. Why don’t you react the same way both times?
There are a few possible reasons for this:
a) Setbacks that have a link to past trauma will hurt more
Past trauma can be the trigger for surprising emotional responses, even if it’s something you hardly remember, or thought had been resolved. Anything that happened in your early life that hasn’t really been dealt with, can, when resurfaced, knock you sideways when you experience something that feels similar. For example, if you were brought up in an abusive household and find yourself with an abusive colleague, your response may be strongly influenced by your old memories may and even bring up the old feelings that you felt as a child.
b) Your support network may not be as strong as it once was
Having a strong circle of supporters behind us can make us more resilient. Having people to talk to about what is going on has been shown to be as effective as having counselling, But support groups are made up of individuals whose circumstances change so there may be times when you don’t feel as though you have someone to turn to because they have moved away or have a lot going on themselves.
c) Giving people's opinions too much power
Linked to the previous point, when you are going through challenging times, you may have people around you who aren’t rooting for you and even offer discouraging advice. Letting the naysayers influence you will get in the way of bouncing back from the setback. Just because someone says something, it doesn't have to be true!
You do not have control over what things happen to you, but you do have control over how you react to what has happened. Try to remain objective and not let past experiences and other people’s opinions influence your interpretation of events. If your support network isn't up to the job, for whatever reason, please consider expanding your options or getting some professional support. That will help you work out what needs to happen to get you back on your feet and ready for more!
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Often, when we face a setback, it's tempting to wish we could go back to the way things were before everything changed, to see if we could have done anything to change the course of events. If for example, you have just been told you didn’t qualify for a promotion, it can be really challenging to just show up the following day and act as if nothing had happened. If you have ever had a terrible or disappointing day and you just wish you could wipe the slate clean and start again, this article is for you.
Take the new day as a fresh opportunity
Yes, yesterday may have been one of the worst days of your life but there are a few things that you could keep in mind while treating a new day as a fresh opportunity:
Life is full of ups and downs. It's unavoidable. Treating every day as a fresh start will certainly help you bounce back from whatever challenges life gives you.
Photo by Road Trip with Raj
Life is full of emotional injuries, it’s unavoidable. And the damage ranges from tiny hurts, like someone forgetting to hold the door open for you to huge, like when you experience loss of someone or something significant, like a parent or life partner. Some injuries are caused by a one-off event and others have a long timeline and result in a buildup of ongoing stress.
In my career, I have experienced a wide range of emotional injuries, and I believe its so common, I would love to hear from anyone who has a few years of work under their belt and has had a totally smooth ride. That said, some injuries are just small bumps and knocks and its easy to get up and get going and, generally, forget they every happened. And some knock you sideways and it’s hard to believe that life will ever be the same again once they are over.
Like with a physical injury, it’s worth having a process for dealing with emotional pain. This is a 4 step framework I recommend:
Step 1: Assess the damage
How bad is it? Is it just a bruise to your confidence or is it really impacting on your life possibly by interfering with your sleep or ability to concentrate? If it’s severe and your life doesn’t feel the same, then it’s time to get some therapeutic support. Your GP is a good first out of call for this. If its just very painful but you feel nothing is broken, it’s time to assess whether you are able to manage it yourself or hire a thinking partner to coach you through some exercises to strengthen your emotional resilience.
Step 2: Make a plan
Alone or with your coach, you will need to create a plan, to respond to the source of pain: do you need to get out of the situation you are in or maybe you need to make changes so that it’s better designed for your needs. Are there skills that you need that would make a similar injury less likely to happen in the future? Perhaps a change of perspective might make things look very different.
Step 3: Implement
Now you know whats needed, it’s time to take action. Easy in theory but sometimes a lot toucher in practice when it’s easy to get discouraged or otherwise put off. How are you going to hold yourself accountable, especially at a time when you might still feel emotionally under par, in order to see that planned changes though? Make sure you put a plan in place for this otherwise you risk letting negative behaviours like procrastination and fear of moving out of your comfort zone stop you making progress.
Step 4: Evaluate
There are no guarantees any intervention will be 100% effective. The only way of assessing how well you are doing is by observing and assessing. Are the symptoms still present? If they are noticeably easing, you will recognise that you are on the right track. Time to pat yourself on the back and carry on with whatever you were doing. If some time has passed and the emotional pain hasn’t reduced in any way or has actually increased, please consider getting some professional support if you didn’t take that option earlier. Either in the form of a therapist if the pain is acute and interfering with your normal life, or a coach who can help you build the skills to help shrug it off, now and ideally in the future.
Need help getting over an emotional injury? I can help you bounce back better than ever! Please use this link to book a free call so we can talk about whats going on for you.
Photo by The Ian
Handling rejection and being able to bounce back from any setback are some of the most important skills for anyone to have. As you go through life, just as you experience achievements and highs, so is it normal for one to experience lows that could be in the form of rejection, failures, and setbacks.
What you do when you are faced with a setback and how you handle the situation are what determine how it is you will perform the next time. It is true that persistence is what guarantees success in whatever field you are interested in. But how is it that one can bounce back and stay committed after a challenging setback?
Below are five ways:
1. Redefining the term failure
We have all heard at one point that our setbacks usually lead to some of the best insights and opportunities for success, but it is not that easy to believe the words. When you get a no from your boss after a project that you had been working extremely hard on, or you even get fired, you should take a step back and remind yourself that what has happened is unchangeable and it is only a speck in your whole story. You probably need to channel your energy towards something better, you will probably be able to go apply and get the job of your dreams since you were a child because you no longer have the safety net of your old job. Once you start looking at failure as a door to something greater, bouncing back will be easier.
2. Allow yourself to feel disappointed but do not let it consume you
When you fail to get the promotion you have been yearning for, you will experience feelings of disappointment and even sadness. You may even be angry at the world, or your boss and jealous of whoever got it instead of you. When you get yourself in this situation, allow yourself to feel your emotions but do not allow your feelings to dictate how you act. Take a walk, process the news you have just received, and remind yourself that better opportunities are still awaiting you.
3. Do not focus on trying to pin the blame
Yet another issue that a lot of people face is trying to pinpoint the blame of the setback on someone. It is understandable because having someone to blame is considered an easy way to direct your anger and frustrations. Do not let this be you. Accept what has happened. Yes, your business deal did not go through but do not start blaming your intern because you are looking for an avenue to release your frustrations. Take it as it is.
4. Focus more on the process and less on the outcome
Focusing on the outcome of a project will often lead to people losing sight of what is really important, that is the process of what you are doing, and all the lessons they are gathering along the way. That is why if at they experience a setback, they are likely to get extremely devastated and not know how to come back from it. As you go through your daily activities, remember to be present in everything you do and enjoy the process!
5. Get feedback and move accordingly
If at all there is anyone you can approach to clarify for you why something did not go as you anticipated, do so. For example, after being let go, ask your boss what actions of yours led to the decision and accept the feedback. In doing so, you can take pointers and do better, and generally be better.
In everything you do, even when faced with setbacks always remember to be persistent and keep going and you will bounce back better than ever!
25 years experience in helping teams build user centred products and services, now helping digital colleagues find their happy path at work