It’s nearly impossible to make it through life without running into a major setback. We all have a desire to be successful, but many people don’t realize that failure is woven into the fabric of success —  both personal and professional.

The most challenging part of overcoming setbacks is the realization that things didn’t go your way. We have all experienced the stress, annoyance, and disappointment of not pulling something off that we planned for weeks, months, or even years. There are plenty of ways to handle defeat and turn it into something positive. We want to take a look at some of the ways you can improve your self-confidence after a major setback in your life.

Don’t Take it Personal

In many cases, when something goes wrong we take it personally. We blame ourselves for the mistake or setback and use that pocket of negative emotions to paint an inaccurate picture of who we are and what we represent.

You have to learn how to handle setbacks in a realistic way instead of going down the dreaded path of self-loathing. Recognize that everyone encounters issues in their personal and professional life and it’s your job to overcome these obstacles.

If and when a setback does occur, and it will, instead of immediately blaming yourself, think about the other factors that played into the failure. Make no mistake, you should not absolve yourself completely, but think more about the big picture.

Reflect on Your Accomplishments

One of the best ways to overcome a lack of confidence is to think about the things you’ve accomplished in your life. These accomplishments can be personal, like buying a house. Your victories can also be professional, like getting a promotion at work. When you run into a setback, it’s easy to get hyper-focused on what went wrong, instead of thinking about things that have gone right in your life.

There are multiple ways to reflect on your past accomplishments. Some people create a personal blog and post highlights of their life as a way to look back at the best days of their lives. Other people keep photographs of themselves with the people they love, this helps to ground you and promotes positive thinking.

Remember, your accomplishments don’t have to change the world. The only thing that matters is that they mean something to you.

Forgive Yourself

Another way to move on from your setback is to learn to forgive yourself. As we mentioned earlier, most people are not solely to blame for their failures. However, there are times when the decisions you made caused the setback to occur.

If you find yourself in this position, the best thing you can do is learn to forgive yourself and move on. Bill Gates, for example, dropped out of college and started a failed business venture called Traf-O-Data. Instead of holding on to his failures, he went on to create Microsoft. There’s no way that everyone will go on to create a company worth a trillion dollars, but you can certainly learn to forgive yourself and continue striving for success.

Dust Off and Move On

The most important way to build your confidence back after a setback is to move on to your next big goal, or revisit an old goal. If you want to make it past this rough period in your life, it’s imperative that you focus on what you want to do next.

We all know the saying about getting kicked off a horse, dusting yourself off, and trying again. That saying can be applied to every aspect of our lives. When you fall down, you have to pull yourself together and start thinking about your next goal.

Your next goal doesn’t have to be overly ambitious, it just needs to make you happy and give you a sense of accomplishment. After a failure, take some time to reassess your goals and think about where you want to go next, and how you’ll get there.


There’s no doubt that you’ll face multiple setbacks throughout your life. But you can overcome the challenging times ahead. Think about the life of an inventor, they suffer from hundreds of failures in most cases. But when they hit it big and make that one successful product, it inspires enough confidence to last a lifetime. Your success is right around the corner, all you have to do is grab it.