“Last night took an L, but tonight I bounce back.”
~ Big Sean
When’s the last time you took a loss, hit a setback, or had an off day?
It happens to all of us. But as an ambitious leader with high expectations, these missteps feel more painful. You feel the pain of the setback itself, and the added suffering of seeing the gap between how you could have shown up and how you did.
But this suffering isn’t helpful. It pulls you out of your peak-state. And it makes life less enjoyable.
At the end of the day, losses, setbacks, and failures are a part of life. Even the best athletes in the world lose games.
But what separates the champions from the wannabes is how they RESPOND to those off-days, mistakes, and failures.
No matter what happens, champions CHOOSE a powerful path forward. They do what’s needed to bounce back and regain equanimity. (While wannabes just feel sorry for themselves and dig themselves into a deeper hole.)
6 Practices to Build Crazy-Good Resilience
To create anything great in the world, you need resilience. You need to get great at bouncing back from the inevitable setbacks of life.
When you can bounce back at the drop of a hat, you become what Nicholas Nassim Taleb calls “antifragile”. Setbacks don’t bring you down, they make you STRONGER!
I think of this visually. If it’s inevitable that you’ll fall down…How can you make it so you fall down onto a trampoline instead of hitting the pavement?
There are 6 key pieces to developing trampoline-like bounce-back-ability. Put these into practice, and your resilience will go through the roof!
1: Embrace the fall and its temporary nature
The first step in bouncing back from a setback is to embrace that you’ve fallen down.
If you never accept that you’re on the ground, it’s a lot harder to stand back up.
There’s an irrational, hidden fear voice in every setback that says: “What if this setback lasts forever?!”
But by acknowledging that all things are temporary, you arrive where you are, ready to stand up and blaze a powerful path forward.
2: Make the connection
Failures, setbacks, and missteps are incredible learning opportunities.
When you have an off day or experience a loss, slow down to consider: “What is it that knocked me down? And what was my role in creating this?”
Identifying what caused your “fall”, and your role in the situation, gives you an opportunity to improve next time.
The gift of failure is that it shines a spotlight on your biggest opportunities for growth!
3: Celebrate the missteps
When you’re used to things going well, it’s easy to get upset when they don’t.
But there’s another way to RESPOND that’s a lot more effective. (Though it is a bit counterintuitive.)
When something unexpected goes wrong…CELEBRATE IT!
Celebrate the fact that things not going as planned is the exception to the norm.
Celebrate how rare it is that you wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
Celebrate how rarely the wifi cuts out, or you spill your coffee, or you get injured in the gym.
In these moments, the mind wants to focus on what’s “wrong”. Don’t fall for that trap. Exercise the self-mastery to zoom-out and see the full picture instead.
4: Practice patience, and set the stage for what comes next
When you fall, the natural response is to scramble to try and make up for lost ground.
You think rushing will help you close the gap. But just as often, it has the opposite effect. Rushing to catch up can compound your setbacks instead of closing the gap.
D.H. Groberg brings this to life in his poem, “The Race”. The young protagonist, a track athlete, slips and falls during a race. In his haste to recover, he slips and falls again…and again…and again…
“He quickly rose, no damage done, behind a bit that’s all,
and ran with all his mind and might to make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself, to catch up and to win,
his mind went faster than his legs. He slipped and fell again.”
Don’t be impatient like that young runner. Instead, exercise patience, and focus on making what comes NEXT as good as possible. Set the stage for your next move to be amazing.
- Got a bad night of sleep? Cool, let’s see how you can rock your sleep tonight.
- Had a bad day at work? Cool, let’s see how you can make tomorrow amazing.
- Didn’t win the client/new business you were hoping for? Cool, let’s see how you can make the next proposal even better!
If you’ve ever gotten your car stuck in mud or snow, you know that jamming the accelerator and spinning your wheels doesn’t get you anywhere.
You need to slow down and intentionally create better conditions for yourself moving forward. In the car, this means getting out and shoveling. And in the rest of life, this often means doing less so you can get re-grounded.
5: Reconnect with your vision
When you make a mistake, the mind zooms into it and gets trapped in the details. You drop down on the Ladder of Consciousness.
To prevent this small-minded thinking, take a moment (or two or three) to reconnect with the big picture.
- What do you really want here? (Or, in your life in general?)
- Why are you doing this?
- How do you want to travel this path?
The more you stay connected with your high-level vision, the more effectively your moment-to-moment actions will be aligned with what you care about most.
6: Take the next step from a connected place
To move forward from a setback, you need to take action. But you want to move forward in the most powerful way you can.
Start by considering: “If I were at my absolute best here…how would I proceed?”
Identify WHAT is important now, and HOW that best version of you would approach it.
Then, get in action.
Champions Bounce Back
It’s a given that you’ll fall down in life. And with every fall comes a choice:
- Am I going to stay down and mope?
- Or will I bounce back like a champion?
Like everything, it takes practice. But I know you’re a champion. So it’s clear to me how you’re going to approach it moving forward
Put the 6 practices above into action, and you’ll be bouncing back faster than ever before. #thatslikeyou