No matter who you are, chances are you’ll experience some hard times at some point in your life. For an entrepreneur, especially, it may occasionally feel like nothing is working out, no matter what you do. There’s a saying that success only comes to those who get back up each time they fall down. The problem is that the saying doesn’t detail exactly how you get back up from that failure. Some leaders can find themselves failing over and over, and each time the recovery takes more out of them.
Recovering from a hardship doesn’t have to be such a trying experience, however. Here, 15 professionals from Young Entrepreneur Council provide their most effective methods for bouncing back from life’s setbacks.
1. Focus on What Is Going Right
We all have times when we think just about everything is going wrong. The best thing to do in those cases is to focus on what is going right. While one challenge may be consuming most of your time and energy, there are many other things to be grateful for, and focusing on those will help you get through even the most challenging situations.
2. Act Consciously
Stop everything you are doing and take a moment to analyze the situation and context. What is really happening and why? How can you fix it? Many times, because of the overload of tasks, we act unconsciously. Take your time, reflect, analyze and discuss it with your team. And in the worst-case scenario, focus on how far you have come and remember: there is nothing that time cannot heal.
3. Go in a Different Direction
When things go wrong and nothing seems to be working, it’s time to stop and try something new. Removing yourself from the situation completely by doing an unrelated task or by just reaching out to someone randomly will help. You’ll come back to the issue with a fresh mindset and maybe even a fresh perspective to help you fix what’s wrong.
4. Look for Opportunities
Our attitude determines our experiences, and even the most challenging events can be leveraged if you stay in the right mindset. A good practice is to look for opportunities in bad events. For example, losing a big client actually helps you by giving you time to focus on smaller clients. You’ll also be more proactive whenever you look for silver linings in difficult events.
5. Talk to Your Mentor
Your mentor understands the struggles you’re going through because they’ve traveled the same path. If you want to bounce back after a tough situation, spend some time reflecting with your mentor. They will be able to give you sound advice and help you work through feelings of doubt or uncertainty.
6. Make a Gratitude List
When things don’t go right, it’s easy to fall into a trap of negative thinking, but this will only keep you miserable longer. Instead, make a list of things that are going right. What made you happy this week? Even if it’s as simple as drinking an excellent cup of coffee, focusing on the positives sets your mind right and prepares you to dive back into work with a productive, can-do mindset.
7. Read Biographies
Often, when we are in bad situations in our lives or business we feel we are the only ones who have ever gone through this, but that is not true. Reading the biographies or blog posts of others gives some perspective to your current situation and provides you with possible solutions or a shift in approach to solving your current predicament.
8. Cultivate Resilience
The psychology of resilience is complex. Remember that you’re not alone in failure. Even Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking didn’t always get it right. While it’s important to pause after a defeat, you shouldn’t stop. Troubleshoot what went wrong, and do better next time.
9. Let Go of Your Goals Temporarily
As entrepreneurs, we set goals and do everything to achieve them. Yet sometimes, we never get there and they’re always out of reach. In these cases, I ignore my goals for a while and let life unfold naturally to see where it takes me. That “unblocks” me, reduces my stress and makes it easier to enjoy the successes that do happen. They just might not be the ones I’d originally planned for, and that’s OK.
10. Focus on What You Can Control
Place the lion’s share of your thoughts and actions into what you can control. When you shift your attention to things you have the ability to change, you won’t waste time and your efforts will be more effective. You can’t stop a storm from coming, but you can prepare for it, or clean up afterward.
11. Try to Be Objective
When things are not going well, it can be difficult not to lose perspective and to feel like a failure. However, when this happens, I try to look at my situation objectively to see why things are not going right and put together a plan to get back on track. Sometimes it takes a little time, but it’s worth the effort.
12. Redefine Your Goals
If you find yourself lost in the motion of pressure, difficulties and adversities, just redefine what you want. Just take a pen and paper, write down your goals, both short-term and long-term, and the process to achieve those goals and a deadline. Break down your goals into small actionable targets and strive hard to meet them, without fail. Success is not an event, but a series of events.
13. Monitor Your Mindset
Don’t allow your circumstances to define how you feel about life. Circumstances are uncontrollable and will often let you down. Instead, monitor your thoughts about your circumstances. Two different people can be going through the same hard time and the one who comes out on top is the one who has the mindset that they are resilient and will overcome.
14. Do Something You Love
You have a passion or something thank you like—that’s the moment to use it! Disconnect from the rest of the world and focus on what you love. It can be for one hour or a week or more. You need to get back your confidence and clear your mind from problems. They won’t go entirely, but you can find relief, and when you get back, you will see more solutions, or at least options, in front of you.
15. Stay Active to Clear Your Mind
When things go wrong, I naturally want to overanalyze the problem. To combat this, I force myself to get out and do something active that clears my mind. Go for a bike ride, take a long walk or hike. Physical activity brings you back to the here and now and gives your mind a break from rehashing over and over what is going wrong. Take a mental break, and a solution will oftentimes come to you.