Think about the times in your life that you have had setbacks. It may have been a setback in a relationship or in your business. How quick did you recover from this set back? Did it take you a day, month or year to get back going again?
We have all attended workshops, conferences, company celebrations, trainings and personal growth seminars. We have gathered a lot of tools to make our lives work better. We have invested money and time in our selves to be better and more productive for our businesses, with our spouses and significant others and with family and friends. So when we have a setback many times we start beat ourselves up saying things like “I know this and I still cannot seem to do it!” or “That seminar or workshop did not work because I am still doing this! What a waste of money and time!” Then we will bring out the personal hammer and beat ourselves up for not getting it right this time!
My hope is that you will learn to be more patient with yourself. Think about when you were younger and were going to school. Maybe you were in sports or band or you had a favorite game like chess. Maybe you loved to read books. Did you learn in one day how to read music, make the right plays on your team or play board games well? I would venture to say it took some time to learn how to do these things. As you grow in your business you will see that it takes practice and time to get all the concepts that it takes to be leaders in our industries, our families and in our communities.
Recovery Time is the time from which you started to learn a concept to the time you master the concept and made mistakes along the way. How fast did you recover each time you had a setback? I went to a marriage seminar one time. I came home with all the answers to a successful marriage! Then when one idea didn’t work I went “see there is no hope it will never be better”. My husband and I would get into an argument and for days we each would be in resentment with each other. “See that seminar was no good!” What I began to realize is that the time in which I was mad at him after the argument was getting shorter and shorter. To the point where we could get into an argument and 15 minutes to 30 minutes later it was as if there was not an argument. Our recovery time had gotten a lot smaller and therefore the quality of our marriage had definitely increased. After thirty years of marriage we still can argue or disagree about things but our recovery time is now minutes compared to days in the beginning of our marriage.
Think about it for a minute where in your life are you holding onto resentment on something or someone and you are the only one who is having the challenge? Home with your spouse? Kids? At work, past customers, clients, a friend or family member? How quick is your recovery time when setbacks and challenges arise?
I have seen where crisis, uncertainty and change have brought people to low points in their lives. Shifts in company policies, pandemic changes, cultural changes and so many others challenges that have played a role in our decisions over the past year. Leadership is especially critical at times like these. What can leaders do when faced with turmoil, setbacks, and fast-paced change? How can we help ourselves and others weather the storm?
1. Be patient with yourself
Change, setbacks and uncertainty scare a lot of people. When changes or difficult times shake up things around you, you need to hold steady. Success comes from cool-headed thinking, clear focus and well-aimed action. Adopt a positive, can-do attitude concerning the challenges you face. Behaviors are very contagious, both positive and negative. If you can stay upbeat so will the people around you. A lot of today’s problems are actually caused by yesterday’s solutions. Using the same old tools, techniques and thinking patterns won’t cut it. What got you here today will not likely get you where you want to go in the future.
2. Recover quickly
Resistance to change is a dead-end street. Organizations want people who adapt fast, not those who resist. I have fallen into this one. Quickly align yourself and your team with new needs and realities. Take personal responsibility for figuring out the top priorities, and then point yourself in that direction. Operate with a strong sense of urgency. Emphasize action. Don’t get bogged down in endless preparation trying to get things perfect before you make a move. Figure out for yourself what is needed and move toward it. Put yourself in charge of problem solving and enlist the support of those around you to come up with solutions. As the leader, don’t feel you have to have all the answers.
3. Notice the Opportunities
Opportunity often comes disguised as trouble and problems. The way you think – the way you frame the situation – heavily influences your ability to deal with tough problems. Look beyond the bleakness of the moment and envision a brighter tomorrow. Think in terms of possibilities rather than limits. Open yourself up to the possibility of growing through the challenges and know that you will be better for going through the challenges.
4. Commit Fully
Expect that more is going to be expected of you. There’s no room now for those who only give half-hearted efforts. If you can’t commit rapidly when business rules and regulations change you should may consider working somewhere else. Commit completely to what you are involved in. Be it your relationships, your business, work or career and your personal growth. Whatever it is be committed to it without reservation.
I think everyone goes through periods in their lives when they feel stepped on and emotionally crushed. Sometimes the emotional pain is worse than any physical pain you can imagine. I know because I’ve been there myself. Trying to find happiness, trying to find even a smidgeon of joy sometimes can be difficult. The economy is challenging and things are difficult! How fast will you recover in these setbacks this time compared to last time? Grasp at the positive, no matter how faint or how far off it may seem. Find one thought that makes you feel a little tiny bit better. “Well, at least I have a roof over my head.” Or, “Well, at least I still have my family.” Try not to let yourself become overwhelmed with negative feelings or they will bury you in an avalanche of despair from which it’s hard to dig yourself out. Keep grasping at thoughts that put you in a better position than you initially saw yourself. Make a list of what you still have that’s important to you or that makes you feel good, safe, or secure.
When you do this, you begin to create the momentum for all your future setbacks. You can begin to see that the last time something like this happened to you it did not take as long to get back up on the horse to ride again. When you have a client cancel and you were counting on that clients to pay the bills have you gone home and just whined and complained about it or did you go home and find a solution to making up that income? What might be some ways you could make that income up? When people are not returning your phone calls, what other way could you connect with them? When you have sat by the 600lb telephone and have found every way to be distracted, how long do you allow this to happen? What is the worst anyone has said to you on the phone? Did you just shrivel up and die from it? Well if you are reading this then not likely!
Recover quickly and move to the next person because they deserve the opportunity to make a choice to work with you or not also. Be ok with others making a choice for themselves just as you like to be able to make your own choices. No’s do not always feel good! So feel the emotion, make a choice to get back in the game and recover quicker each time faster than you did the last time.
As you focus more on your recovery time and solutions you are likely to discover that you have now become the leader that you have admired in other people. People are more willing to connect with you because they can see that your attitude is the kind that people want to follow and learn from. Be aware of your recovery time and put away that hammer as that does not help you get to your goals.
“Knockdown seven times, stand up eight.” Japanese Proverb – It means choosing to never give up hope and to strive for more. Your focus is on the greater vision ahead of you versus the reality right in front of you.