My Three Step Guide To Dealing With Set Backs

Today I heard the story of a young teenager, Kelly (not her real name), who was a successful swimmer.  She got up early to train before school and went to the pool after school too.  She desperately wanted to go to a school which specialised in sport and could offer the right coaching environment for her to achieve success.  In order to be accepted on to the school's swim program she had to come first to third in their swim trials.  The school had seen her swim and asked her to enter as they felt she had potential.. Full of confidence Kelly went to the trials and came fourth.   the school did not accept her and she has not swum since.

In one moment Kelly lost belief in herself and her life changed.  This is not the first time I have heard a story like this.  So if you want to know how to stay in control and maintain confidence after a set back follow my three step guide:

1. Gather information

Even if you think you know why you weren't good enough, ask these three questions:

  • What could I do better?
  • What did I do well?
  • What can I learn from this?

2. Decide whether you want to succeed at this.

  • If the answer is "no", it is important to replace it with something you would like to succeed at - directing your focus away from feelings of failure.
  • If the answer is "yes", take a step back or wait for a time when you can be unemotional then study the answers from step 1 and make a plan

3. Make a plan

This works whether you answered "no" or "yes" to question 2.

  • Write down specifically what you believe would be a successful outcome and when you would like to achieve this outcome by
  • Set interim goals which keep you on track towards your outcome - make these very specific.
  • Choose something every day to take you closer to the goals and stay focused on the outcome

Set backs can only affect our self-belief if we take them personally and give others control. The three step guide enables us to regain control and realise that this is not about whether we are good or bad but whether we have more to learn.

Debbie Hill