The Setback Blues

I sat in a meeting with the two decision-makers and their every word was so positive. A promise was made to send the signed contract that very afternoon. We’ve emailed and left two voice mails. Five days later, not a word.


You know the feeling. It’s hard enough when we create our own expectations that fail to materialize. But when someone else makes a promise, sets an expectation, and then they don’t follow through on it, well, you probably feel disappointed. You might feel it to be a setback.


On the surface, setbacks such as these and the corresponding lower feelings associated might feel "natural"; one leads to the other. But what we call "natural" is usually something that we’ve practiced enough that it feels like that’s simply the way it is. But the good news is that this is simply neurological patterning. And neuroplasticity tells us that we can take charge of our patterning or brain wiring with attention and a little time.


What’s in it for us to take the time to reprogram how we handle "setbacks"? Happiness, positivity, productivity! In the Management Training Institute and Resilience Training Institute training programs, we explore how taking charge of how you respond to the circumstances of life is the major secret to personal and professional success.


There are two significant ingredients to more quickly bouncing back from setbacks: letting go (mentally/emotionally) of whatever went wrong that we wanted, and, intentionally shifting your focus to what is more positive or what is still possible. Neither of these is easy at first because the physical brain has to be reprogrammed to have different thoughts and feelings from the old, bad feeling, habitual way.


Unfortunately, there is one more dynamic that needs paying attention to. The part of the mind that blames or judges others might be activated during these "setbacks". The blamer can hang around just waiting to flex its muscles when others fail to follow through on their promise. Again, because of the blamer’s long term practice, this can feel perfectly normal. But we don’t have to allow the blamer to have such power over our happiness (morale) and resulting drop in productivity and success. To catch on to the mind game more quickly, you need to continuously hone your EQ self-awareness and then harness your EQ self-management. But like all things worth while, taking time to practice new ways,  and persevering through the discomfort of rewiring your neuronic-circuitry will bring you the more positive results that feel and work better.


So in summary, using the example we started with, the process might look like this: The thought comes in and associated feeling about the lack of follow through by someone (not in your direct line of control). You’ve done everything possible to influence them to action to no avail. You notice that the blamer or judger mind is activated. And you notice your slide toward feeling "bad" about it all. So you call forth your higher self. Understand that each time a thought or judgement about "them" comes in, you tell that thought or judgement to go away (letting go) and in the next moment, intentionally find something else to place your attention and energy on that is still within the realm of possibility. Repeat process until the setback thoughts, feelings and judgements fade away.


This new more uplifting process takes a little time to master but at the Management Training Institute’s management and leadership classes, training programs, and Executive Coaching, and at the Resilience Training Institute’s training events and resilience training classes, we help you to overcome setbacks more quickly and move on to more success. 

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