How to Recover from a Setback


Have you ever worked really hard on something with hours of time and energy invested, only to have it not work out?

It feels like a huge step forward and then 2 or 3 steps back, and it feels defeating.

This happened to me this week and I found myself frustrated that I had ‘wasted’ my time, and ready to give up on the whole idea. It felt pointless!

The next morning I had planned to ski with a friend. Still feeling frustrated with the negative outcome of my work from the day before, I felt like giving up on skiing too. My setback was affecting my mood and motivation beyond work.

I realized that I had forgotten the teaching of equanimity.

There’s a passage from the Bhagavad Gita:

“Self-possessed, resolute, act without any thought of results, open to success or failure. This equanimity is yoga.”

In other words, do the work for the work itself, not for the outcome. This is wise, because when you let go of outcome you’re less likely to be on the roller coaster of emotional ups and downs based on ‘success’ or ‘failure.’ When you’re not on the roller coaster, you experience equanimity.

The truth is that I learned a lot from the work that I did that will help me move forward with a slightly different project. It didn’t ended up being what I thought, but the journey was valuable test run.

So, if you’re feeling frustrated and defeated from a setback in your life, remember to focus on the journey, not the outcome. Find the actions that bring you joy, motivate you and ignite your spark – do that consistently over time. Both success and failure are learning opportunities and they don’t last long 🙂 The journey is where the juice is.

And, remember that taking care of your mental and emotional health is crucial. In Ayurveda the idea is to incorporate opposite action to bring yourself back into balance. Going skiing was that for me. Recognizing when you are on the roller coaster heading down, and then choosing something that will lift you up, can be good medicine to bring you back toward equanimity. The key is to not be attached to any of it, but be present in the moment to what you are experiencing and learning.

Here’s a short video of how I felt in the ski hill parking lot after my skiing:

If you want more strategies and coaching on how to cultivate equanimity in your life, Click Here to Email Me. Ask me your questions. I look forward to hearing from you!