Setbacks and being Left Behind

Recently, I had some nightmares about being left behind. Literally. I was left at a bus station and left out of a carpool. This made me wonder why I was feeling left behind. In my current career transition, I’ve had a couple of setbacks, so lately I’ve been feeling like I haven’t been making progress. This has been a point of anxiety for me that seems to manifest itself into these dreams. Minor setbacks are turning into a bigger anxiety about being left behind.

When in career transition, sometimes you’re going to have setbacks. Actually, when living, sometimes you’re going to have setbacks. When you’re feeling like this, it’s easy to perpetuate the feeling: do nothing, or worse, do something counterproductive. But setbacks don’t have to be a negative; in fact, this is the perfect time to analyze your situation. These tips and reminders can help you reassess.

  1. Even the smallest accomplishments are still accomplishments. Just because you did not meet a goal, take joy in what you have done today to move closer to that goal.Take joy in the small accomplishments because they can lead to bigger ones.
  2. A setback is a temporary position, it’s not a permanent state. Because you know this, you know that a new day means a new opportunity to move forward. Keep this in mind, so you do not take your setbacks with you from one day to the next.
  3. Your journey is yours. This is a big point that you can easily forget, especially when you’re a part of a massive company change.  Many in your company may have been downsized or are facing a layoff, but what you do after you leave is your own experience. When you see a co-worker getting an interview or hear about a former colleague’s new assignment, congratulate them and move on. They are making their decisions to reach their goals. You have to focus on your goals, know your situation, and live your life. And all of that happens in your time.
  4. Setbacks do not equal being left behind. You’re on Facebook or Instagram, and you see friends and classmates who are a lot farther along than you are in life. Then you look at your setbacks, and suddenly, you feel left behind. You think, I am already supposed to have this promotion, and instead, I’m starting over. But are we really seeing the truth? How many of your posts are about your failures or setbacks? Probably very few. It’s the same with others. What you see most often are posts about prosperity and achievement. You have no idea how many setbacks someone had to experience just to get to where they are. When experiencing a setback, don’t lose hope–and stay away from social media. Instead, use this time to reorganize and regroup, not to measure your temporary shortcomings against others’ successes.
  5. Failure is part of success, apathy is not. When something does not happen the way you want it, (the interview did not go well, your first day was a bust) that’s an indication that you tried and failed. That’s not a signal not to try. If you want success, you have to keep trying to get that success, no matter how many errors you make. Scientists call it “experimenting,” and it’s a part of their job description! Why do we call it “an epic fail”?

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