How to Overcome a Major Setback

One of the harsh realities we all must face at some point is dealing with adversity or a major setback. Many of you may be experiencing this in real-time today as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adversity or setbacks represent a “reversal of progress”. This reversal of progress can take many forms – i.e. a job loss, divorce, financial hardship, major illness or injury, the death of a loved one, etc. How we respond to adversity or a reversal of fortune reveals a lot about our character and ultimately how successful we’ll be in dealing with life’s future challenges.

 “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis

How will you deal with a major setback when it comes? Will you be a better person as a result of the experience? Here are some suggested ways to overcome a major setback when it occurs and move forward in a positive way.

  1. Allow time for reflection. Take a step back before you respond or take any action. Allow yourself time to think through what has happened and the chain of events that brought you to this point. What is the recovery plan to move ahead?
  2. Do take it personal. After all this is your life and it is happening to you, right? So get mad, scream, throw things, whatever is required to purge all the negative energy and emotion (without doing harm to yourself or others). Now, re-focus on the positive.
  3. Keep things in perspective. Setbacks are just a part of living, and none of us are immune. The good news is you are still here and this is not the end. Do not allow a major setback to overwhelm you or take control of your life.
  4. Seek advice and support. Find a wise sage or trusted confidant you can rely on for advice and support. Someone with first-hand experience who has suffered through a similar setback or loss who can help you overcome this challenge.
  5. Learn from the experience. Things happen for a reason. Why did this happen? Was it controllable, or was it something beyond your control? If controllable, what will you do next time to avoid a similar outcome?
  6. Find a silver lining. A major setback is a ‘call-to-action’. For many people, a setback can be a transformative event. Use the experience to bring about the changes necessary to create a new reality.
  7. Keep moving forward. “People don’t drown by falling in water, they drown by staying there.” In order to overcome any major setback you need to focus on the road ahead, and not allow yourself to get stuck in the past. So keep paddling!
  8. Help others by your example. Take the ‘high ground’ by your response to adversity. Be the better person for it and find ways to use this experience and the knowledge gained to help others who are dealing with similar challenges. 

“The greatest accomplishment is not never falling, but in rising again after you fall.” – Vince Lombardi

What I have learned over the years is that there are no shortcuts to success, in business or in life. The journey is often hard and wrought with numerous obstacles, challenges and disappointments. However, successful people will always find a way to rise above their circumstances.

If you want an extraordinary destiny, be a person of strong character who refuses to allow adversity or setbacks to define them, or to impede their progress. 

Enjoy the journey!


COPYRIGHT @ 2020 John Carroll