How to handle setbacks and use them to grow

D7JECJ Autumn road with yellow trees

Ahhhh setbacks. Those brutally challenging situations. We get to be all wise and zen-like and say things like “it builds character” and “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” etc. etc. blah blah blah. I am not shrugging off healthy sentiments when things go off the rails, I am just talking about the kind of setbacks that throw us well beyond our normal capacity for coping – they are the kind that hit us where it hurts.

There are setbacks and there are SETBACKS. In the last few months I have been watching and feeling people go through some ongoing challenges that are not easily solvable. These challenges are also the kind that trigger old stuff and have the potential to send people into states of high anxiety and cause them to feel panicky or even worse, hopeless. We’ve all had moments like this on our life and we can probably all remember that that these can be the worst feelings in the world.

Even if you don’t feel like this now and haven’t for years it’s good to know what to do when the #&$ hits the fan again and again. Here are four ways of dealing with it:

  • Start by saying “I’ve had enough” – it’s easy to just take it when life pummels you with obstacles. Rather than just wait and hope that they go away, begin by declaring your intention to turn things around and take bold action.
  • Take a look at what’s really happening. Is it just a calamity of errors all coming together at once? Is relief right around the corner? Or is there a systematic issue that needs to be discovered? You need to get calm enough to be able to see your situation for what it really is.
  • Ask yourself,  “what’s gotta shift?” When you have figured out what’s happening, the solution will appear. It could be a shift in how you operate or in how you look at what is coming up (attitude). Your big setbacks could be a sign of big changes and growth ahead and you need to be more proactive or ramp up your capacity. If immediate changes aren’t in your best long-term interest you’ll need to learn to work within the situation and appreciate how it’s helping it’s a crucial launching point for the next part of your grand master plan.
  • Give yourself immediate respite. Don’t just suffer. Take a break from everything and relax or get the help of someone who you trust and can not only provide you loving support but valuable ideas for change.
  • Remember that money is just money. Financial stress is normally the straw that breaks most human camels backs and we need to remember what’s more important – health, relationships, community, knowledge, and so on.

Usually major setbacks are telling you that changes either need to or about it happen whether you are ready or not and instead of fighting it embrace the opportunity to learn and be proactive.


Lisa Princic is a Business Strategist & Membership Expert who helps thought leaders & niche experts build wildly successful memberships while making a positive impact. She helps entrepreneurs scale with powerful positioning & profitable programs designed around their zone of genius. A staunch believer in simplicity, Lisa helps her clients accomplish their goals by focusing on what to do AND what to ignore.

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