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How to Deal with Setbacks

Moving up in a career may not follow a straight line. Sometimes you may feel like you are going backwards or standing still. Learn how to deal with setbacks and keep moving forward.

Everyone faces problems in their lives and careers. People who move up in their careers do not let these problems stop them.

Here are some personal strengths and attitudes to remember when you face setbacks.

Expect Discomfort

Like playing a new sport or a musical instrument, it takes practice to do something new. This includes going to school or getting a new job. You will feel uncomfortable for a while. That's normal.

Many people do not feel confident in new situations. But act "as if" you are capable and that you fit in. Don't give up or go back to old ways of behaving. In time, you will feel more confident and comfortable.

Have a Positive Attitude

In all of your jobs, believe in yourself. Expect that you will do well at your job. Employers and coworkers enjoy working with people with a "can-do" attitude.

Try new skills and experiences. You will fail sometimes. You will also succeed a lot.

Think about what you learned or gained from each new situation. Apply what you learned to improve your work. A positive attitude will help you recover from setbacks.

Watch and Learn

Speak and act in a professional manner. Find people at work who you see are doing well. Observe them.

  • How do they dress?
  • How do they communicate with coworkers?
  • How do they interact with bosses?
  • What are their work behaviors?
  • What skills do they use?

For example, many employers expect workers to keep personal issues outside of work. Notice how coworkers limit personal phone calls or do them on their breaks. Start to mirror these professional behaviors. You'll gain recognition and rewards for being a good worker.

When you see coworkers not following the rules, don't join them. Instead, hang around with workers who have positive attitudes and do their jobs well.

Be Responsible

It's easy to blame others if things aren't working out. However, you cannot improve a situation if you can't see your part in it. If you make a mistake, admit it. Then find out how to fix it.

Sometimes decisions are made at work or you will be put into work situations you cannot control. You can be objective. Don't take it personally. You can control your reactions to negative situations.

Accept Constructive Criticism

It's normal for a supervisor or coworker with more experience to give you feedback. This can help you improve the way you do your job. It does not mean the speaker thinks badly of you as a person.

Stay calm, pay attention to what is said, and think about how their advice can help you to do your job better.

Ask Questions and Connect with Others

When you are new to a situation, find out who can answer your questions. Then you'll learn the rules and behaviors of your job. For example, coworkers can teach you job duties. Your boss can explain policies.

Also, find people at work who you like. Share knowledge and answer each other's questions. Help each other with professional goals. Talk with them about work situations that affect both of you. Do not complain or be negative.

Connecting with others will give you perspective. You'll be more valuable to your work place.

Take Good Care of Yourself

How serious are you about being successful? Successful people know the importance of taking care of themselves.

  • Manage your personal life outside of work.
  • Get enough exercise and sleep.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Belong to a social or spiritual group.
  • Spend time with your family.
  • Set a regular schedule.
  • Get regular checkups.

Self-care means being prepared to work. Have a plan for your transportation, child care, housing, and health care. Know where to go for help with hurdles and obstacles.

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