You know me as a very happy person but you know, setbacks are also present in my life. Sure, simple things like the customer paid late are present in my life. But serious, more complex things like my dearest friend is emigrating, like my father was diagnosed with cancer. Very serious things in life do happen to me, to you, to anybody; illness, illness of somebody else in the family, mistakes, just a simple chaos of today’s life. Setbacks are just here to stay. So how can we deal with them? This is today’s subject. And for today, I came up with seven things that you can do to manage setbacks in a more enlightened way.
Number one, expect them.
They’re going to happen. You know when my father was – sorry, when I was 15 years old my father told me, “You know you can already estimate that when you will be in your 40s, around that time I will die and your mother as well.” Now I’m in my 40s, of course I can expect that. It’s not very interesting. We don’t want to see these things but they are the things that life is all about. I can expect that my children will fall, they are three and five. Yes of course, they have bruises everywhere because that is the time when it happens. Expect that somebody’s going to make a mistake, review things. Expect that you will get ill, be compassionate with yourself. Expect that things are going to go wrong so they will not surprise you. Expect, be prepared for these setbacks because setbacks are here to expand your life. Your life will not be boring I assure you. None of us, nobody has a setback free life. Expect it.
Number two, don’t react.
When a setback shows up in your life and you just react, you can cause a lot of trouble. Imagine that when I learned that my father was ill with cancer, I would have burst into tears, shout at him. I would have hurt him tremendously. And it would have been completely useless. Imagine that when my customer did not pay on time, I would have shouted at him, I would have shouted at his staff. It would have destroyed my relationship with them. Do not react. Breathe. I love this profound breathing. Just breathe as deep as possible and let out as slowly as possible and to do it as many times as is necessary for you to calm down so that you can take somehow the first step which is step three.
Number three, acknowledge it.
This is what happened. Just acknowledge that this is a setback and acknowledge that this is important and acknowledge that this is going to change your plans. This is going to change your plans and this has to have a space in your life. My friend moving away was you know very happy in my mind when she told me that she was leaving, and I did not realize how much it hurt me because she’s leaving until the moment that I acknowledged it. When I acknowledge that actually it hurts me, I will give it a space. I cried, I journaled and I went back to life with more strength than ever because I was delighted of the reason she was emigrating, I was totally supportive of her and I gave it a space. I was not bottling up my feeling. I acknowledged what was going on. Even if it is an inner setback like my friend or an outer setback like the cancer of my father, acknowledge it, what is happening.
Number four, self compassion and compassion.
The setback is happening and the more time you spend and blame, the less time you can spend in dealing with the setback. The illness of my father you could say or somebody could argue that it is lifestyle based because he did this and that and that then he got his cancer. That is blame. Does that help him? Does that help me? It doesn’t. The fact that the customer paid late, I could blame them because their system doesn’t work because they’re so inefficient because they are bureaucratic. That doesn’t help me. I could blame myself because I didn’t call them on time, I didn’t follow all the way that I should have been following up – but that doesn’t help me. To avoid blame, you need compassion and compassion especially for yourself. I will not blame. I will give space to my feelings. This is what happens. And maybe this is the moment when in your office you get angry or in your home you cry, give it space. One is to acknowledge it and then to give it an emotional space.
Number five, embrace it.
From acknowledging it, welcoming it, I want you to go to the next step to embrace it. Embrace, take it as the best gift ever, this setback because this setback is expanding you. It is expanding your capability in life. You know the cancer of my father is expanding my capability of love for him. It is expanding my capability of love for all the members of the family. It is expanding my capability dealing with complex situations because we live in different countries. So when you see your setbacks as an opportunity of growth, you open the door to personal growth. Whatever setback you are talking about even with a not paid invoice of the customer, it opens myself to manage better people, to build a relationship even in this complex situation. So when you embrace the setback and you see it as an opportunity, it gives you perspective, long term perspective. If you see, just take a step back and you look, this is not the end of the world. This is a moment in which I’m expanding and I’m learning to manage this situation because I knew that this would happen. I knew that this would happen, I will manage it. It gives you peace. It gives you power and that gives you the coolness of mind to learn from it which of course is our next step.
Number six, learn from it.
Find the lesson. A setback is happening in your life to teach you something. All setbacks are in your life to teach you something but they cannot teach you anything if you’re not open to learn. Come on, open your mind, open your heart to what is it you need to learn from whatever setback you have in your life. I needed to learn how to deal with love, with intimate relationships, with my father. I needed to learn to manage the process with my customer, find the lesson.
Number seven, action.
The last one, of course go and move that into action. You have learned the lesson from the setback so how are you going to deal with the next situation in the future. How does this inform your decision making for the next thing that is going to happen? Now thank God , my mother is very healthy but at some point she will get ill as well. So whatever I learn from the experience now of my father, I can use it for when my mother gets ill. This way I dealt with the invoice of my customer, taught me several things that will make easier the next time I have to deal with invoicing with this same customer and with invoicing with all the other customers in the future.
So there you have it, how to deal with setbacks so that you expand your comfort zone; expect them, don’t react, acknowledge them, no blame, embrace them, learn from them and use them as information for your future. So here you go.
Now I would love to hear from you. Please type some comments here below on what is that that touched you, what is that that you are going to implement in your life, how you deal with setbacks, teach us how we can deal better with setbacks. Share with us so that we all benefit and please if you like this video, please give it a thumbs up and share it. Share it with your friends. And as always I say goodbye to you reminding you to be all in.
Featured image by Morten Liebach