Preparing for Future Setbacks

by Caroline Jones

Occasionally life doesn’t quite go to plan. Whether it be redundancy, health or even relationship issues, these can all impact on your life and career. So how do you deal with these situations? Being prepared for any future setbacks can help you to stay resilient and ready to tackle issues if they arise as you progress through your career/life journey.

Follow this 5-point plan to stay on top of any future challenges:

1. Stay Calm

Accept the situation. Acknowledge that you feel disappointed. Reflect on the situation - consider keeping a journal. Visualise the issue being resolved so that you can be ready to take the next step. But, most importantly, be kind to yourself.

2. Develop a Growth Mindset

Learn from the experience. Try to think of life as the ‘journey’ rather than the destination so that each step is about learning and growing and, therefore, developing new skills and experiences.

  • Can you gain feedback?
  • If it is an interview, did you lack skills in a particular area? Could you now develop by taking an online course, ask for more responsibility in this area at work or gain some volunteering experience?
  • Was it that your values or cultural fit were not the same as the organisation’s?

Is this something you could address next time?

3. Build on your Resilience

If the setback has left you feeling unsettled, confused and indecisive with the same thought patterns going round and round your mind, try working on your resilience.

You do not have to already be a resilient person. Resilience is a skill that you can develop. Here are some tips:

Get enough sleep, eat healthily and be active - If you know you are not doing enough of these, you can change. Google healthy recipes, set yourself a new bedtime routine and make sure you are being active (now is maybe a good time to start a new sport, or to decide a regular time each day to go for a walk).

Relax - Finding time to relax helps to quieten the mind and find peace. So, whether your preferred way to relax is to take a bath, go for a walk, listen to music, run, do yoga, swim, bake, or read a good book - do it!

Maintain your interests and hobbies - Give yourself time to get stuck into your interests and hobbies. If you don’t have any, maybe now is the time to find some. To help you identify them, consider what you have wanted to do for a while but have simply not had the time? What do you enjoy doing? When does the time just run away, or when are you happiest?  

Talk to your friends and family and look to build relationships - Make time to connect with friends and family and look how you can build these relationships. Listen more - try not to take them for granted. Open up about your setback - they will always want to support you.

4. Remember your Skills, Strengths and Values

Remind yourself of your worth. Return to the Stay Nimble exercises you have completed and remind yourself of all your positive Skills and Strengths. Re-evaluate your Values - what is important to you just now? What positive actions can you take? Actively reminding yourself of your past successes can help you to focus on how you felt, what actions you took, and what motivated you at that time. What can you rekindle now? 

5. Take Action and Rebound 

Do not blame or focus on the negative aspect - look for the positive experience and what you have gained from this:

  • What skills and experiences are you now investigating?
  • How are you going to be more resilient in your life?
  • Look to the future and set yourself up on the path you want to take. 

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