Setbacks. I don’t know any goal-oriented person that loves them. They delay us. They frustrate us. They can derail us. Or, they could become an opportunity to shift into something far better than we could have imagined.
I used to love the challenge of running marathons. I trained for years in high school and college as a sprinter in swimming so the challenge of endurance racing on land was something completely new and exhilarating to me. Plus, running gave me the chance to get outside and see more than lane lines, walls, and lap clocks.
One day, after getting only a couple of miles into a long training run, I developed an iliotibial band (IT band) issue that made it impossible to run beyond a mile without debilitating pain in my knee. I tried everything I could to keep pursuing my passion for marathons but it quickly became apparent that my body just wasn’t going to cooperate any further – at least without some much-needed healing and a course correction.
1. When a setback comes and muscling through the pain doesn’t work, it’s time for a change.
My wife could sense my growing frustration and ensuing crabby disposition so she encouraged me to join her for a spinning class at the Y one Saturday morning. In my arrogance, I thought sitting on a stationary bike in a room full of women was well beneath me. But, since I couldn’t run, I acquiesced. Boy, was I an idiot. That spinning class kicked my butt. (The instructor was aptly nicknamed, “The Machine.”) After 45 minutes, I was humbled. In the middle of an embarrassingly sizeable pool of sweat covering the floor, my legs that were used to hours of pounding the pavement felt like Jell-O. These women led by “The Machine” schooled me. However, I had NO knee pain! I had to go back for more. A new challenge captured my imagination.
2. Humbly embracing wise outside counsel might set you free.
Little did I know that heeding my wife’s suggestion would become the springboard to my next fitness passion – cycling and ultimately, triathlons. Had I not listened to a trusted coach (my wife) who could objectively suggest new options that I had missed (or ones I was simply too proud to consider), I could have settled for likely path of lethargy, greater frustration, pity, greater injury, etc. Instead, she popped me out of my mind-rut and launched me into a new season of fitness goals, challenges, friendships, and really rewarding experiences.
3. Lessons learned from one setback can help you conquer the next one. (And yes, as long as you are alive, there will be more.)
The lessons I learned from my “coach-for-life’s” loving course correction has helped me weather far more challenging and consequential business challenges that eventually came my way in my business career. When I have had my dreams or goals repeated sidelined by my own mistakes, the actions of others, or the simple misfortunes of life, I’ve had to aggressively seek new potential opportunities beyond the setback. Having outside trusted counsel has certainly helped propel me into new possibilities I simply wouldn’t have considered on my own.
What setbacks are you currently facing in your personal life or business? How have you been able to lead your teams beyond disappointing performance and spring into something that has been surprisingly positive? How is your business coach helping your team unlock new possibilities that could be even more rewarding than your previous direction?