Setback and Success: It’s All About Perspective!  

Isn’t it amazing how wisdom can transcend time? Heraclitus Ephesus, a Greek philosopher born November 24, 535 BC is noted for the truism, “The Only Constant Is Change”. How amazing to think this quote rings true for all of us 2,500 years after it was first spoken and most likely scribed on papyrus. Heraclitus was famous for believing that ever-present change is the essence of the universe. He is also attributed with saying, “No man ever steps in the same river twice.” This guy was serious about change!

The Only Constant In Life is Change. –Heraclitus

People often classify life & career events in one of two categories: setback or success.

Situations, whether job loss (setback!) or promotion (success!), are then rubber stamped with their category name and put in the brain’s file cabinet to be retrieved, analyzed and dwelled upon. Some situations we tag as “setbacks” can be as innocent as a slight delay in timing, and others – wow – can they pack a wallop!

In reality, it is all about perspective and approach to change (yes, even after a “life-wallop”). We’ve all cried, survived, thrived, laughed, and lived as we’ve faced change in our lives. What should be taught, even to children, is resiliency. Whatever has happened is just one change in a string of changes we will face during our time on earth. What matters is being able to reframe and use a growth mindset to bounce. Attitude will propel us forward.

What if we start to consider “setback” by a new name? Isn’t it really a “reset”? A re-evaluation of a situation. The chance to step back and do/think of things in a new way?

Here are three ways to help you reset (and not get setback):

  1. Anticipate and embrace change. You know things will always change so simply be okay and be your best. If you’ve faced a big reset, give yourself a chance to grieve. With a hard reset it may take some time for you to reboot and get back up. As with any reset, always give yourself grace and forgiveness when your expectations don’t match with reality.
  2. Learn and explore the change. Examine the event and make a list of what you’ve learned to do and not do in the future. Now that you’ve made a list of what you learned, explore what the reset means to you and how you can align it with the success you want. Is it offering you a chance to do or learn something completely new (yes, a bit scary, but exciting)? Does it mean you have the opportunity to ask your network for support in finding a new role, launching a new business, or testing out a new product?
  3. Get a plan in place. Having a plan and taking action can help people feel better about moving forward. Address the situation and find or forge a new path – you’re the one with the ability to hit the reset button and modify your situation or challenge. Define what you want to do, then list the top five things you can do today that will get you moving on your plan. Continue to work toward your goal and break everything into smaller steps.

November brought the birth of Heraclitus and is typically a time to reflect and be thankful. This month reflect on your resets in each step of your ever-moving river. Celebrate the achievements and be innovative when you’re faced with a challenge. Always work for the success you want!