Navigating Setbacks and Building a Resilient Mindset
By Tash Spencer
I love a good ‘come back’ story. You know the ones? The person who takes their first steps after being told they could never walk again. The persistent writer who submits their 49th book proposal after years of ‘no’s’ to finally hear that one YES. Or the everyday hero who decides to show up for work when it feels like their whole world is crumbling before them.
Acknowledging the resilience and courage within others is easy - but what happens when you’re faced with your very own shit sandwich? You might cry. You’ll curse yourself. And then there’s the inevitable disappointment when the outcome you were hoping for, doesn’t quite turn out how you hoped. That sting hurts even more when you consider the time and effort you put in with what feels like little to no reward.
As a society –we’re obsessed with quick fixes and instant gratification. Couple that with a social media feed full of ‘highlight’ reels and it’s no wonder we start to think that we’ve failed before we even get started.
I think back to the time when I first opened the virtual doors to my life coaching business. It was 4 years ago, and I remember having the big beautiful dream to be coaching full-time with a sexy office working from home. I knew that building a business was no easy feat. I was committed. And I was ready to do the work, but I don’t think anyone can fully prepare you for the plethora of feelings that comes up when you dip your toe into the entrepreneurial pond.
The feelings of ‘not being good/qualified enough’ (despite all the certificates and university degrees).
The elation of being able to support people using my skills, and the immense gratitude for those that choose to invest in my small biz.
The procrastination and perfectionism of launching something into the world.
The money blocks and tech woes, not to mention trying to ‘wing it all’ alongside personal relationships, side job(s) and the reality of bills and #life
I know you’re probably waiting for the part where I fast forward to the happy ending… but I’d be lying if I said I still don’t have moments where I want to pack it all in.
Am I working in my business full time? Nope!
Do I have a sexy office? I like to think so, but the important thing to remember here is that my dreams certainly have shifted in terms of what ‘success’ looks (and feels) like to me in both life and business.
When I reflect on all that I’ve learnt as a human being over these past 4 years, I do believe that resilience has been the reason that has kept me going and has helped me to commit to doing work that I love. When I’m on the verge of ‘throwing in the towel’, or I’m met with roadblocks, the sound of chirping crickets after putting an offer out there, or I feel like there’s still SO much more to achieve, I come back to some simple truths.
I can’t NOT do this. Yes, my work might shift, change and evolve as I do, but deep down, I trust that this is the work that I’m meant to be doing.
I’m not interested in racing ‘ahead’ to get to a so-called ‘top’ (when the only race I’m running is with myself)
If I’m going to have to eat a shit sandwich or experience setbacks every now and then, I’m quite happy to eat THIS kind of shit sandwich. On my terms. Because I know that my work is meaningful and worthwhile and I’m willing to ride the lows, just as much as the high’s.
And I play the long game. Instead of groaning, ‘I’ve worked at this for 4 freaking years’ I shift my perspective and think, ‘I’ve been working on my craft for 4 years, imagine what I’ll know and achieve and experience in 10 years’ time?’
If you’ve been feeling dejected, disappointed or downright exhausted that your path to success hasn’t occurred in the linear fashion that you were expecting – I hope these words bring you a sense of comfort as you learn to enjoy ‘the process’. No matter whether you’ve put in a dozen job applications, still waiting for Mr/Mr’s Right to come along after years of searching, or you’re ready for the sails to turn in your own ‘come back’ story, here are 3 ways that you can start to cultivate a resilient mindset.
1. Failure = The Fastest Way to Learn
Knowledge is power. And instead of seeing failure as something to avoid at all costs – what if you saw it as valuable information guiding your next steps? How are we supposed to learn, or get better at something, unless we have the courage to ‘have a go’ regardless of the outcome? The setbacks and failures that I’ve experienced have all become an important part of the jigsaw puzzle contributing to my success. I would never have known the next steps that I needed to take in my life and biz to feel happy, had I not experienced setbacks. Now instead of getting tripped up when things don’t turn out the way I ‘thought’ they would – I embrace failure knowing I’ve learnt even more juicy information about myself, and I take this info into my future endeavors and use it to my advantage.
2. Honour Yourself
No matter what has happened in the past, or what is unfolding for you right now, please honour yourself. Honour it all. It’s easy to forget all the great things you’ve done and achieved, and the incredible qualities that you have when you’re honing in on the ONE thing that has potentially gone wrong. When I start to acknowledge myself and the season that I’m in with loving eyes, I can move forward with even more strength and courage than before. I can tell ya now, moving forward from a place of love and compassion is so much better than berating yourself.
3. You’re Allowed To Feel Good and Rise Again
Want to know what sucks even more than the feeling of ‘sucking’? Continually choosing to play out that story. Don’t deny yourself pleasure, joy and fun throughout the process of getting to where you want to be. Forcing yourself to keep working hard without reprieve will only lead you to burn out and exhaustion (now that’s a sure way to burn a dream down!) When I give myself permission to feel good about the progress that I’m making along the way (despite the speed bumps) – that’s when I can rise again. That’s when I build momentum and *surprise surprise* when I start to experience more wins, and more heart-bursting exciting opportunities and experiences.
It is always the hard times that enable us to bear witness to our own strength, grit and wholeness. If you know which shit sandwich you’re prepared to eat on your way to greatness, the journey will be all the more sweeter, richer and enjoyable! No matter what unfolds, I hope you decide to stick around for your own ‘come back’ story. It could just be the most exhilarating and inspiring story you’ve heard to date.
BY TASH SPENCER
Tash Spencer is a Life and Career coach for high achieving young women who have found themselves at a career crossroads. She loves supporting twenty-somethings to get unstuck, rediscover their skills, passions and talents and lead meaningful lives doing what they love. With a soulful, practical and slightly humorous approach, Tash lovingly guides her clients throughout their ‘quarter life crisis’ so they can wholeheartedly back themselves, course correct their careers and come home to who they truly are.