Have you ever felt that things just don’t go your way? That although you did your best during an interview or worked hard on a project, you did not get the desired results? If your answer is yes, it is not as bad as you think, on the contrary: having a few setbacks can help you advance your career in the long term.
A recent study in the UK investigated the roots of athletic success by interviewing more than 80 elite coaches and athletes. They found out that although most athletes had one or more setbacks early in their careers, those who used failure as motivation eventually became exceptional achievers.
A related study from the University of Virginia found that Olympic silver medalists became more successful in their post-sport careers than gold medalists. Also, they lived longer. And other studies that don’t focus on sports have shown that many high-achieving students, including three of the four members of The Beatles, had plenty of setbacks at an early stage in life.
One explanation for this phenomenon could be that high-achieving students find a way to transform trauma into motivation. And in the long run, this motivation drives them to achieve more and more.
So, how can you take advantage of your setbacks to help you perform better and achieve more in your career? Keep these tips in mind:
If you’re working on something more challenging than anything you’ve done so far, you can’t expect to get it right the first time. Maybe it will take two tries, or three. Just accept the setbacks as part of the process, and don’t let them get you off course.
Surround yourself with followers.
Spend time with people who believe in you and will cheer you up.
Analyze the setback objectively.
Let go of your disappointment and determine why you failed. Did you have enough skill or knowledge? Did you have the right tools? Look for specific factors that you can change in the future.
Learn what you need.
Invest time in acquiring the skills and/or knowledge you need to achieve your goals in the future. For example, if you want a promotion, find out what skills you need to acquire that goal and start working on them.
In other words, stumbling blocks and failures don’t have to be final, as long as you learn from them and motivate yourself more than ever to be successful.