Whether you are starting a business or pursuing a better lifestyle, setback is inevitable during your journey to greatness. Successful entrepreneurs may not be able to tell you if they have ever had (or ever will have) an “I made it” moment, but every one of them can tell you a dozen different setback experiences.
When facing the challenge of a setback, the most common advice you will hear is, “pick yourself up from where you’ve fallen.”But, here’s a question: If you run into the same situation next time, will you fall again?
Is picking yourself up enough?Most of the advice you hear will tell you, “Just keep on trying and don’t give up…” Yes, it is true that in some cases you just need to have faith in yourself and keep on trying. But within these words are an assumption. The assumption that you will only need to face the setback once in your lifetime.
If you were to pick yourself up this time, you would never get rejected by potential customers, you would never lose your job, and you would never land a bad work position, never ever again. But what if that’s not true? You will face similar challenges again. You will run into equivalent setbacks again.
Will you allow yourself to fall (again) into the same setback, while going through the process (again) of picking yourself up?
It’s time for you to learn from your setbacks, and then turn every setback into a triumph.
Below are 5 Steps to Turn Setback into Triumph:
1. Start by taking measurements throughout your process
Before you can start learning from your setback, you need to start taking measurements throughout the process to understand why and how the setback occurred. Once you have the measured-data of the process, instead of by instinct, you can uncover the reason-why to the setback by a systematized, scientific way.
A goal without a measurement is just a dream. Without measurements, there’s nothing you can do but wake up and face the cold, hard reality.
Each time you start a new project, regardless of whether it is business or personal, start by identifying a measurable KPI that can track your progress. Each time you are challenged by a setback, document your KPI measurement on a line chart. Look at when everything started to go terribly wrong, and identify exactly what you did that initiated the setback.
“Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.” – Henry Ford
2. Evaluate the skills and experiences you’ve acquired during the process
So you have run into a setback. It could be a catastrophic failure of the whole project. But looking back, your efforts are never wasted.
Every post you read taught you a new concept, every course you invested in allowed you to acquire a new set of skills, every dollar you spent transform into your experience, and every person you talked to initiated a new useful relationship.
After every setback, review and list all the different types of knowledge you acquired during the process.
- Acquired skills — This is the how-to knowledge you acquired during the process.
- Uncovered abilities — These are the innate talents or gifts you have uncovered through each attempt.
- Real life experiences — This is the accumulated wisdom from investing time and money applying your skills and abilities.
- Useful relationships — These are the relationships you’ve built with influencers and people who have valuable resources.
Each setback is an opportunity to discover your abilities and acquire new knowledge.
3. Identify what you need to learn now to ensure future success
So you know why and how you failed based on the measurements. You know what you’ve learned during the process by listing all your acquired knowledge. It’s time to prepare yourself to succeed the next time you are faced with the same situation.
To increase your odds of succeeding next time around, you need to improve on the other knowledge you are lacking.
Picking yourself up is more than just trying again. It means that you need to have a deeper understanding of what to do different next time. Learning the knowledge you don’t have. Acquiring the skills that you need. Building the relationship that will enhance your chances of success. Every setback is a chance to identify what else you need to learn.
4. Make the setback part of your story and be proud of it
Take a look at some of the most popular blog posts. Study the presentation of the most effective webinar. Almost all content that goes viral involves a story related to a particular setback (failure, big mistake, or near death experience).
And where does the best story start? The best stories often begin with failure.
You’ve already “invested” in the story. Use it well to resonate with others who are also experiencing the same setback.
“We are, as a species, addicted to stories. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.” – Jonathan Gottschall
5. Create a cross-out list of what doesn’t work
Thomas Edison is the most successful story for running into 1,000 setbacks.
Since setbacks are inevitable during the process, stop defining setback as a failure. Instead, define a setback as the success of finding out one more method that doesn’t work. Each setback is now a small triumph for you.
Only working during days you feel like working. Working every single day without taking a break. Working all by yourself in a locked up room.
Working with a mentor on a consistent 2-hour schedule.
If you understand that setbacks are inevitable during your journey to greatness, you know that you don’t need to be afraid of facing your next setback. Stop looking at setbacks as failures or mistakes. Start identifying the triumph behind each and every setback you encounter. The difference between a successful and unfortunate individual is the attitude they maintain during a setback and how they turn it into his or her advantage — into a total triumph.