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How To Handle a Setback or a Failure

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We all face setbacks and failures. A common place to get them is online, when we are trying to find an answer and get a “404 error.” What do you do then?

Okay: I am not really talking about a page not found on your web searches, which is the common place most would expect to see a 404 error. No, I’m talking about a 404 error on your plans, your goals, your day, and your expectations for “how this will go.”

404 Error

© Flickr user Oliver Tacke

In short, how do you handle a setback or failure? I know from experience that there are several ways to respond. Some lead you to a better outcome while others take you to dark and dangerous places. Those places are mostly in your mind and consequently your self image. I know this all too well. But maybe you’re one of the fortunate few that every seed you plant yields a bountiful harvest. Lucky you!

I’ll get down and out too. Maybe you don’t and if that’s true, please count your blessings. I remember talking to a dear friend of mine and we were discussing a common friend who was suffering from being down, you know depression. My friend, the one I admire, said something like, “why doesn’t he just get off the couch and get a job.” Oh if only it were that simple. I work hard not to judge or condemn but rather to ask more questions. In short, to try to understand. It’s one of those things I’ve been working on.

I once learned a phrase—called a “presupposition” that has helped me become curious:

“Behind every behavior there is a positive intention.”

I’m sure some will argue. Every behavior? The short answer is yes. Even if you set out to hurt someone else, you are probably doing so to try and set something right. You probably think that some injustice has been done and you need to fix it. And doesn’t every success start with a form of failure?

I think one of the reasons I start to feel bad is that, from my point of view, I work very hard to bring value to all those I encounter. Yet, if I’m working to get a new client and they fail to see that, or a friend or an existing client don’t see it, that really gets too me. Perhaps people just think there are so many frauds out there.

It’s something I’m working on for sure. This past fall I noticed a dear friend post something on social media that was a call for help. I immediately reached out. Sure enough, she was in a very, very bad place. We met and we talked. I encouraged her to seek professional help—someone qualified to work with such things—and I stayed in touch. Every day or two, checking in to make sure everything was getting better. That person has risen above where she was and is getting better day by day.

We all need to be aware of those around us. I don’t ask for help much. But these past couple of months, I’ve tried reaching out, asking for help but not getting much back. I find it strange, how could I not be heard? Now recently a couple of people have reached out and have become closer to me by doing so. I am appreciative of their friendship and I do my best to tell them frequently.

For those who read this and make the decision to learn and grow together: Let the adventure begin! Share what you need, what you’re struggling with and where you are. A true friend will be as open and as honest as they know how. This means sharing what is working and certainly, what isn’t. As John Maxwell says, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”

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Jack Klemeyer

Jack Klemeyer

Grow Your Business™ Coaching founder Jack Klemeyer is recognized as a preeminent resource and program developer as a business coach, consultant, speaker, trainer and facilitator of Mastermind groups for entrepreneurs, business professionals and companies of all sizes.
Jack Klemeyer


Proud American Patriot and A Certified John Maxwell Coach, Speaker and Trainer who is passionate about helping people grow their businesses!
Jack Klemeyer
Jack Klemeyer

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