Setbacks Into Opportunities: Three Ways to Transition Your Thinking

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Have you had a setback that seemed crushing, only to find it turned into something amazing? That’s because setbacks are presents that are just waiting for you to wrap the goodness inside.

Here are ways three ways to help you transition your thinking and start changing that mindset, so when you are “in that moment”, you pause, breathe, and realize there’s something better here and it is just waiting to be unlocked.

#1: Personal Attitude 

Choose how you react.  

Not long ago, I was working on my book on a flight from Paris to New York City, because my final manuscript was due Monday morning to the editor. After 5+ hours of productive work, writing and re-writing some sections, I shut my laptop, we landed, and I got to the hotel. I woke up super early the next morning ready to finish editing my book. Only my computer didn’t start. 

When I opened my laptop, the blue screen of death greeted me and would not go away! I poked a few buttons, fully expecting it to turn on and come to life, but nothing seemed to work. The heart started beating faster, and the realization hit that it wasn’t coming back on. 

If you have ever been there, where you realize several hours of work may be gone, then you know this feeling. Your pulse has quickened, and quiet dread starts to seep through your entire body. I tried for over an hour, and I finally realized I couldn’t do anything about this anymore and would need to wait until the Apple store opens in a few hours.

So, what do you do when life throws you a curveball? You transition your mindset and you say, “You know, this is an opportunity to live in the moment, to thrive and enjoy New York.” So, I walked down to the High Line, which is a long old railroad track transformed into a beautiful walking path. As I walked along, I stopped several times to get a hot cup of tea, stare at the art and even sit and watched people meander by. I then had breakfast at the Chelsea markets and finally went to the Apple store, where they announced that my laptop was dead on arrival and sold me a new one.

(A little hidden message here, backup, backup, backup. I always back up my materials at least three ways: in the cloud, on a backup server, and sync it to your phone, if you are mobile. Just do whatever you need to do so you always have that backup. Then you don’t have to stress when computers fail because let’s be clear, “it’s not if, it’s when”.) 

The point is when life throws you a curveball, choose to find the positive. Choose to “Thrive In The Moment.” Take those setbacks and transition to an alternate plan. Don’t be a victim. Don’t get angry. Don’t waste that emotional energy. Instead, learn to transition as quickly as possible to make the best of it. For me, I needed to get out and breathe that day, and that made me more productive in the afternoon.

#2: Professional Transitions

Have you ever worked with a colleague or had some situation come up at work where suddenly your workplace is no longer a good dynamic for you? Have you tried to address the situation and ultimately realized it was time to move on? Many of us have been there. 

While at the moment, it can be frustrating, those situations can prove to be the biggest blessings. It often jettisons us from what we know and what we are comfortable doing, into doing something new. That propulsion can be moving over and working with a new team, starting a new job, or even pushing you to get out and start your own unique business. Life has a funny way of causing us to PIVOT when we need it most. So even when professionally, life isn’t quite going the way you want, realize that each pivot can move you forward into the next part of your journey, which is even better than the last. 

#3: Financial Woes to Wonders

Sorry to say it, but for most business owners, cash flow is king. That is because cash flow is what gives us opportunities to help more people and create a more significant impact. Despite the best of plans, however, now and then we all face a little cash crunch. You know, that moment when you see how much money you need and you don’t have that much in our bank account, and you panic a little! Yep, that’s the moment where that setback can transition into a quantum leap if you let it propel you. 

I once dealt with a situation where I had been expecting a big check to come in, and I got a call that the check didn’t get cut in time and it would take two weeks. Yikes! That was a $60,000 deposit I was counting on!! In the meantime, I had payroll expenses and overhead that needed to be paid! Those are the moments you have to get your hustle on. In my case. I started calling and checking in with everyone I knew. I was able to pick up 4-5 new clients that needed help with a legal problem that our law firm could help them with, and I was also able to act as a consultant for a couple of attorneys who had an upcoming trial. Over ten days, I was able to bring in that $60k that I needed. It wasn’t easy, but you do what needs to be done! 

When you’ve got to get your hustle on… Pick up the phone and call a hundred people. Just ask how they’re doing and if there is anything you can do to help them move forward in their own lives. Sometimes your greatest gift is in giving them a suggestion for their next steps. In those moments, you will find so many opportunities that are there for you. It will often bring an extra $10,000 or $20,000 into your pocket, because when you help another individual, that makes you memorable and opens up even more opportunities. So, it might have been a setback that you didn’t get the money you were waiting for, but that’s just an opportunity to find more people to help. If you see it from that perspective, it is a much more empowering way of life.

So, next time “life sends a curveball”, take a moment to pause. 

  • Personally, find those opportunities to Thrive In The Moment! Go for a walk, enjoy the flowers. Just enjoy being.
  • Professionally, when things aren’t going quite where you want them to go, PIVOT and find new opportunities to move forward.
  • Financially, when cash flow is necessary, find more ways to help other people. Reach out. Give somebody else the art of a suggestion for their next step. It can mean all the difference and make you very memorable.

Take every opportunity to turn setbacks into wonderful opportunities.

1 thought on “Setbacks Into Opportunities: Three Ways to Transition Your Thinking”

  1. Love this! Thank you! The “BACK IT UP!” really resonates with me!
    Years back, I lived in a small Missouri town where every third day, at least, the power would suddenly go out! Never when I was just surfing or doing my OWN work! NO! It always happened during client tasks!
    I finally got so paranoid that I’d make a copy, save to my PC, burn it onto a CD & upload to Dropbox every 10 minutes or so,
    Now, it’s second nature: save! Even with Word’s autosave, I double save. Make a copy on my desktop AND client’s folder. Add it to Cloud, my Chrome drive, and a small USB, email it to myself AND finally do it all again with the finished files.
    Then I put it all on my huge USB Passport.
    I feel you just can’t be too careful!

    Thank you for the positive spins & encouragement!
    Your fan,

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