Things don’t always go to plan.
There are times when, despite our best efforts, we fail to reach a goal or succeed in the way we’d hoped.
Businesses collapse, people get into debt, and investments fail to take off.
I have written in the past about the importance of failure in moving forward.
Failure is an inevitable part of life, and the more we fear it, the more it prevents us from taking any form of meaningful action.
In fact, I don’t know anyone who is successful today who hasn’t failed in the past.
Equally important, though, is moving on from failure.
Not wallowing in it or beating yourself up from it is the trick to getting back on the horse.
You need to learn from your mistakes, and move on.
Here are some steps you can take to recover from a setback:
1. Acknowledge the problem
Sometimes a problem will get much worse because people refuse to look at the cold, hard reality of a situation.
On a large scale, the manufacturing industry in Australia is a classic example of this: the threat of cheap imports was never properly addressed until it was too late and many people’s jobs were threatened.
If you’re running a business and you refuse to acknowledge a problem, then let me tell you one certainty of business: it will not go away.
In fact, it will get much, much worse.
If you have a cash flow problem, address it.
If you have made a poor investment, address it.
If you have blown your budget early, address it.
In some cases, you may be able to nip the problem in the bud, but if you can’t it’s much better to acknowledge the problem, no matter how huge it seems.
Often, long after a problem has passed, people will still refuse to acknowledge there was anything wrong.
They’ll blame other factors, people or an outside influence, rather than accepting their role in the problem.
2. Tend to the problem
Notice I used the word ‘tend’ rather than ‘fix’?
That’s because not all problems are fixable in the strictest sense of the word.
Some situations are irreparable and you need to cut your losses.
For example, if you have racked up a huge credit card debt, then the solution is not to ‘fix’ it by merely paying it off.
The solution is to tend to the problem, which is a lot more comprehensive.
Not only do you need to find a way to pay off your bad debt, but you also have to find a way to address the underlying problem, in this case poor spending money habits, to make sure you don’t find yourself in this situation again.
3. Asses and regroup
Once you’ve taken the necessary steps and addressed the problem, you need to take some time out for reflection.
If you don’t give yourself a bit of time to analyse where you went wrong, then you’re bound to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
Ask yourself during this stage: where did you go wrong?
Was there something you could have done to prevent the problem?
Was it a force beyond your control?
How can you better prepare for this kind of problem in the future?
I would even recommend taking some notes at this stage, and jotting down all of the conclusions you come to.
And don’t forget to ask yourself the most important question of all: what did you learn from this?
The sooner you start seeing your life and what happens in it as a series of lessons, then the more successful you will be.
4. Move on
Finally, you need to move on.
What’s done is done, and there is little point wishing for a different outcome.
Part of moving on involves not allowing the past to dictate the future.
So you got into debt once?
Don’t let that experience create a fear in your mind that you will mess up like that in the future.
Remember: you decide whether or not you make the same mistakes twice.
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