Executive Vitality™: Accept the Setback

Executive Vitality™: Accept the SetbackHave you ever fought nature after a setback? Who won? What could you have done better?

Let’s use physical activity as an example of where a setback can occur. There are many reasons that athletic performance might decline. When athletes are injured, ill, aging, following a reduced training schedule due to circumstances, e.g., heavy business travel or family obligations, having a change in motivation, time management problems, or psychological factors, we may have to start all over to build strength and endurance, or to recoup from a few levels below where we were.

We have to accept that we may need to rehab our bodies. Most people who accept that change has occurred end up healing faster and better than those who can’t accept change and fight it; these are the people who often remain broken. People who embrace their rehab don’t fight what they cannot control. Rather than experiencing the futility of not accepting the inevitable, they can make a plan for the road back to performance.

As with many things, the manner in which we deal with the situation will determine the outcome. There is great benefit to accepting “where we are” so that means not just athletes having a hard time, but leaders in challenging situations, people in relationships, or people engaged in important complex projects. Sometimes there are setbacks. People who do accept their vulnerability and live in the moment, handle the situation with more ease and seem happier than those who dwell on the temporary loss in progress.

In a 2016 article in Fast Company, How I Have Learned to Deal with Setbacks: the author talks about people who are having trouble with acceptance this way: “They become caught up in their despair like dust in a tornado, going around and around and around–using lots of energy but not really getting anywhere.” He goes on to say that it is necessary to make “peace with failure” so it doesn’t keep you from reaching your potential. Put another way: Realize that the situation is what it is, accept it, and move on. To illustrate his points, he talks about the setbacks that Steve Jobs and Mark Cuban had gone through during their careers.

Having resilience, knowing your limits, and embracing where you are all make it easier to adapt and make peace with life, to be happier, and have a healthier approach. When we fight where we are, and try to live in the past, then we tend to stay stuck or regress; we don’t heal.   Whether the setback we experience is related to athletics, money, weight issues, basic heart health, or getting good sleep, accepting the change in circumstances and moving forward, likely with modified goals, will go a long way to putting you back on the path to success.

Have you recovered from setbacks with resilience and acceptance or spent time and energy trying to fight the need to readjust? What could you have done differently?

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