Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council
Professional mistakes might feel like the end of the world, but everyone makes them from time to time. When you experience a setback in your career, don’t dwell on what went wrong and how you could have done things differently. Maintaining a positive mindset is crucial to making a comeback.
When you feel yourself slipping into a negative outlook, it’s important to have a go-to tactic for turning things around. Here are some tried and true recommendations from Forbes Coaches Council.
1. Remember That Mistakes Are Part Of The Journey
Shift your mindset to change your outlook. If you are growing a business, then setbacks and mistakes are part of the journey and are an inevitable part of the discovery process. Have confidence that whatever path you may be on is exactly where you should be. Remember there is no failure; only failed attempts that result in learning. - Michela Quilici, MQ Consulting and Business Training, Inc.
2. Understand That Your Perception Becomes Your Reality
Reality is not what “it is” rather than what we “think it is.” Our perception is conditioned by thoughts we choose to think. Over time I have trained myself to change the pre-existing framework to escape “the box” and to see the situation from a different standpoint. I granted myself permission to practice redefining any setback or mistake as a previously not seen opportunity to learn and to grow. - Kasia Jamroz, CPCC, ACC, Conscious Leading Solutions L.L.C.
3. Choose Gratitude
It is unrealistic to expect a perfect score all the time. Consciously cultivating an attitude of gratitude helps us avoid being overwhelmed when things go wrong by training our brains to notice the positive. Keeping our gratitude higher than our expectations keeps things in perspective, even when we make mistakes. The key is looking at the setback as an opportunity to grow. - Tracey Grove, Pure Symmetry Coaching and Consulting
4. Make Space For ‘New Data’
I think about what Dr. Susan David says about leaving space for new data to enter between the stimulus of a difficult emotion (say stress from a nasty comment) and my response to it. It’s in this space I allow room for more data to make value-aligned decisions. I acknowledge and label the emotion but don’t let it dictate my decision. This way I don’t give up on something that matters to me. - Beth Kuhel, Get Hired, LLC
5. Rethink Your Relationship With Your Own Emotions
One’s internal battle is the hardest part of a career. I’ve developed a new relationship with my emotions over the years and have come to understand that most feelings are not real—and 99% of the time, our worries are rarely an indicator of what will actually occur. Once we can compartmentalize our negative thoughts and put them in their rightful place, it’s easier to dismiss them and move on. - Warren Zenna, Zenna Consulting Group
6. Host A Pity Party, Then Move On
Every mistake or setback is an opportunity to learn. Depending on how severe it is, I might host a pity party of one, but it doesn’t last for more than 15 minutes. I have made it a habit not to dwell too long on what went wrong, except to ask myself what I have learned from the situation and what I could have done better. I then look for the next window of opportunity, because there always is one. - Daisy Wright, The Wright Career Solution
7. Don’t Confuse Mistakes For Failure
I had a tendency, in the past, to confuse mistakes and setbacks as a failure. When perceived this way, fear of failure can set in and paralyze us from making healthy and necessary choices. When I find myself slipping into this cycle of thinking, I am quick to remember that a wise person is the person in the room who has the most mistakes and is willing to admit them. Growth and learning happen there. - Jennifer Jacobson, Jacobson Consulting Group
8. Sow Seeds Of Kindness
Look for opportunities to commit random acts of kindness for people you encounter throughout your daily routine. One example is to sponsor someone’s meal or coffee. Pay for the next person in line after you. You could also volunteer with a charity or cause that aligns with your passion. Keep it simple, and be mindful of the precious opportunities that present themselves to be kind. - La’Wana Harris
9. Ask Open-Ended Questions
A negative outlook is a viewpoint that has collapsed around a particular belief. Asking yourself open-ended questions frees you from this collapse. It shifts you from a fixed to a growth mindset. Is this belief absolutely true? What are examples of this belief not being true? How is this situation teaching me something I will use in the future? What is one thing I can do to shift this situation? - Justin Follin, BLUECASE Strategic Partners
10. Try To Learn From The Experience
Negativity often goes hand-in-hand with feeling like a victim. The “lesson learned” is a positive outcome for building your stories for interviewing, promotions or management. You can’t change the past—you can change your attitude and your actions moving forward. Treat the lesson as a contribution to your “lessons learned,” but continue to focus on how you’ll be judged tomorrow. - Joanne Markow, GreenMason
11. Step Into The Confidence Circle
I use a technique with my clients to shift their mindset and to embody confidence and conviction when they are challenged by their current circumstances. It serves as a powerful reminder that negative thoughts are transient. I invite them to visualize an important goal that they achieved in the past, then I engage them to internalize those empowering feelings, creating a renewed positive outlook. - Carolina Caro
12. Have A Rebuttal Ready For Your Inner Critic
We all have an inner critic voice ready and willing to knock us down when a setback happens. Interrupt that inner critic with a “go-to” response. I coach clients to come up with one reliable response. One favorite client example is based on a song by Chumbawamba: “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down.” - Cindy Stack, Whole-Life Leader
13. Look Back, But Don’t Stare
There’s a reason why the windshield is bigger than your rearview mirror. Keep looking forward as your mind scans the past from time to time, making sure you’re growing and moving forward. If your mind gets stuck in the past, meditate for 20 minutes. Follow this with a gratitude journal of everything that’s going right in your life, micro-wins and what you need to do to reach your goal. - Drew Aversa, MBA & RYT, Aversa Strategies
14. Look For Patterns
Ask for feedback regarding the real or perceived setback. Once you have the feedback, get curious about it. Look back and see if there is a pattern; oftentimes setbacks show up with a common thread, and once you recognize it you are empowered to make different choices that lead to new outcomes. Once you see a new path forward, hope can re-enter to offer you the energy you may need to move on. - Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson, Alexsys Thompson Intl.
15. Go Off-Script
I have to let go of the “script” I constructed, which allows me to accept what actually did happen and learn from it. We craft our script and hold on to it so tightly that any divergence is seen as failure, when in reality it is just a different “offer” to consider. Once we accept that offer, we can move forward to improve or innovate rather than dwelling on where we went off the script. - Jennifer Spear, Clean Slate Strategies
16. Approach The Situation With A Learner’s Mindset
As we are often our own worst critics, it is easy to continue dwelling on our mistakes and setbacks. Yet, where is the value in that? Instead, take the opportunity to embrace a learner’s mindset, because within each mistake is an experience worth learning or an idea worth pursuing. This mindset promotes the growth and development of those around you, too, giving them permission to do the same. - Sheeba Varghese
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