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Looking at Life’s Setbacks as Opportunities

By Thomas Scott

Each of us faces disruptions to our daily routines that can throw us off our game. Running out of hot water, for example, could give you a bad start to the day. An accident that blocks your route and makes you late for an important meeting. Some minor setbacks can seem like major hurdles, affecting your mood, your plans, and potentially your finances.

But life is also full of other large obstacles that can really knock us down. These life-altering setbacks can impact your state of mind, physical health, finances, relationships, and more.

The good news, however, is that you can use setbacks — both big and small — as development opportunities and achieve your goals. This skill is especially important for entrepreneurs, who will face setbacks on a daily basis. Here's how you can use obstacles as opportunities.

4 Strategies To Turn Setbacks into Opportunities

1. Identify the Positives

After a negative experience, it can be easy to fall into disappointment and wallow in fear or anger. But every situation has a silver lining. Reframe your negative thoughts and identify the positives in the situation. This is a unique skill set and may require some work! 

Remember that the brain is hardwired with a negativity bias. We tend to register and dwell on negative events more than positive ones. This is likely due to the fact that the early humans who paid attention to negative threats were more attuned to danger. Thus, they were more likely to survive.

But this negativity bias should not keep you down. Acknowledge the negative stimuli then embrace the fact that it also brought new opportunities for personal and professional development. 

2. Refocus

When life gets challenging, it's a great time to reassess your goals. Do they still make sense and contribute to your long-term vision? A setback may cause you to rethink how you approach a goal. Or it might help you realize that the goal isn't actually something you want to achieve. 

Take time to reflect on how the setback has impacted your progress personally and professionally. Be honest with yourself about what you want and how you might need to change. Then refocus your energy on achieving your long-term goals. 

3. Learn for the Future

In his book, A Setback Is A Setup For A Comeback, motivational speaker Willie Jolley states that everyone encounters setbacks at one time or another. The goal, however, to overcome your obstacle is to "face it, and trace it, [so] we can learn how to avoid it in the future."

Have an honest discussion with yourself about areas of your behavior that could be changed. What actions could you have taken to result in a better outcome? This is a chance to learn new skills.

As you reflect, do not fall into guilt or pessimism. Remember that the experience is a learning tool. Then, draw energy from the negativity and use it as an opportunity for growth and change.

4. Get Creative

Entrepreneurs generally approach problem solving with a lot of creativity. Their big ideas are usually what got them to start a business in the first place. But as entrepreneurs fall into the day-to-day routine, creativity may be replaced by monotony. But a major setback can actually rekindle that creativity.

When you face an obstacle, use it to shake up your routine and let it spark your creativity! Start thinking of new ideas and new ways to approach the problem at hand. By doing so, you may become reinvigorated and excited about the future. And that positivity can be contagious to your team members too.

RELATED CONTENT: 9 Tips for Becoming a Better Leader

Examples of Turning Setbacks into Successes

There are many examples of amazing individuals who turned life's setbacks into successful career development opportunities. Here are just a few examples to help guide you through your own challenges.

1. J. K. Rowling

Rowling endured a series of misfortunes in short succession. She lost her mother. Later, 2 months after the birth of her daughter, Rowling separated from her husband, with whom she was living in Portugal. She returned to the United Kingdom with her infant daughter, took out a restraining order against her husband, and filed for divorce. She lived in poverty while writing the first book of her phenomenally successful Harry Potter series.

2. Michael Jordan 

Michael Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. But he certainly had to put his share of failures into proper perspective. He summarizes the reason he's become so successful:

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." 

Can you imagine what would have happened if Jordan gave up on his career path because he had a bad day and missed a few free throws?

3. Albert Einstein

Einstein traveled a long arduous road to winning the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921. As a child, he could not speak fluently until the age of 9. In fact, during the first few years of his life, his parents thought he was mentally disabled. Einstein faced school expulsion and was refused admission to the Zurich Polytechnic School. But today, we all know about his genius.

Looking Toward the Future

Now, we want to speak directly to those who are experiencing a setback in your career. It may be time to consider making a big change, like opening a franchise business. This can give you the freedom to be your own boss, bet on yourself, and build the future that you want.

As a franchise owner, you can develop leadership skills and experience career growth. But, of course, business ownership still has its share of setbacks. The nice thing is that you have more control in how you can face them. To learn more about buying a franchise, contact us.

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Tags: Personal Growth