Almost everyone who is successful has experienced their share of failures and setbacks. When you’re striving for a dream with all your heart and soul, setbacks are inevitable. So the question is not whether or not you will have setbacks but what will you do with them? Will you allow them to take you down or will you learn from them and use them as the stepping stone to a huge comeback? The choice is yours.
Did you know that when you are striving for a goal you are off target more often than you are on? You are constantly making corrections as you go along. There is very seldom a direct path to a goal. You’ll be going along nicely and then all at once you find an obstacle in your way. It could be a person blocking your ideas, or a ruling on something you were not expecting or a lack of funds to finish the phase of the project you are on. You may be going after that perfect job only to find that you have been overlooked for someone else. The list of obstacles is endless and assured. No matter what the challenge is that arises, it is not the obstacle that defines your character. It is the way you handle that obstacle that will define you as being a success or a failure.
Oprah Winfrey was not always the TV mogul you see today. She was fired from her position as a news reporter and told she was “unfit for TV.” Unfit for TV? I bet that guy is looking for a job today. Walt Disney was told “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Walt Disney lacking imagination? I don’t think so. How much more imagination does one need to have than to come up with an animated mouse as a leading man? He was even told that a giant mouse on the screen would terrify women. Knowing the multi-billion dollar industry he created today, it’s hard to believe anyone found him lacking imagination.
The author of the famous Harry Potter book series, J.K. Rowling was a divorced single mother on welfare. Her first Harry Potter manuscript was rejected by 12 publishers but she went on to sell more than a few books. Steve Jobs was fired from the company he created only to watch the company plummet. He was then rehired and brought Apple back to a position of prominence in the computer world, making it better and stronger than it had ever been. Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television not one, not two, but three times and went on to be one of the most prolific producers and directors of our day. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team only to go on to become a huge superstar in the game.
When you hear the word genius I bet most of you think of Albert Einstein, yet Einstein did not speak until he was four years old. Several of his teachers thought he was lazy and would never amount to anything. He wasn’t able to get a job as a teaching assistant out of college and got a job through a friend as an assistant patent examiner. It was this role that enabled him to visualize the ideas put forth in the proposed patents he was examining. Thomas Edison failed so often in his attempts to create a light bulb that no one knows the exact number of tries he had tried. He is quoted as saying: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
The list of successful individuals who experienced major setbacks before achieving their goals is endless. One thing is clear however, and that is that they all looked at the setbacks the way Edison did. Not as failures but as necessary hurdles that needed to be crossed in order to get to where they wanted to be. Not a list of failures but rather a list of things they knew would not work based upon the setback itself. This is the mental attitude that separates those that succeed from those that fail.
When you first find yourself in the midst of a setback it can take the wind out of your sails. You need to build your confidence back up. Don’t allow yourself to spend hours and hours talking about the setback. Make your focus on what your next steps are instead. Figure out what went wrong and then focus on the direction you want to go in. In his classic bestseller, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill wrote “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”
Every setback creates opportunities. It’s up to you to have the right mindset, ask the right questions, take the right actions to get back on track and move toward your desired goal. Remember you are going to be off course a lot more than on as you are moving toward your goal. So the key is to make the corrections quickly and when you do have that big setback, learn as quickly as possible what mistakes you made to get there and what you need to do to correct the course. Go for it with all your heart and soul and you’ll find that your comeback is just one setback away.
Debbie Darling, ©2014 The Presentation Pros