3 Ways to Turn a Setback at Work Into an Opportunity

We all like the idea of our career path moving upward at a steady (or better yet) rapid rate, but sometimes things don’t work out that way. Sometimes unforeseen obstacles derail our best-laid plans.

Maybe you got into trouble at work? Maybe you were passed over for a promotion? Or, maybe you lost your job? Even though any of these events can be extremely discouraging, they don’t have to be career-ending. Here’s how you can turn a negative into a positive.

Look at What You’ve Gained Not at What You’ve Lost

When we hit a roadblock, it’s human nature to focus only on the problem. However, roadblocks also have the potential to send us in a better direction. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tells how he had his “dreams shattered” when he was 22 years old. As a college football star at the University of Miami, Johnson’s lifelong goal was to play in the NFL, but he got cut after playing one game in the Canadian Football League. Johnson recounts, “… playing in the NFL was the best thing that never happened because it got me here.” Today, Johnson is an actor, producer and semi-retired professional wrestler. He continues to be a box office favorite as well as one of the world’s most popular movie stars.

Don’t Let Failure Scare You

No one wants to fail, or worse yet hit rock bottom, but often failure allows us to see the world in a new light. As an unemployed single parent, J.K. Rowling claims that having all her fears come to pass was, in a way, liberating. “By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew… failure meant a stripping away of the inessential… I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.” Rowling’s first story was rejected by 12 major publishing houses before Harry Potter finally appeared on bookstore shelves in 1997. Rowling’s magical world quickly became an international phenomenon, and to date, Harry Potter merchandise has brought in over $25 billion in sales.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Although a misstep can make us feel like a loser, mistakes don’t have to be the end of the line. In fact, many smart and successful people view setbacks merely as a learning opportunity. After becoming a millionaire at the age of 26, Dave Ramsey lost everything he had in less than three years. So, he decided to go on “on a quest to find out how money really works…”  He formed a company, authored a book (which he sold out of the back of his car) and started a local radio call-in show. These efforts eventually turned into Ramsey Solutions; a multimillion-dollar company focused on counseling people who are struggling with financial stress.

Are You Hoping to Put a Setback Behind You?

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