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BK Blog Post
Posted by Bill Treasurer, Chief Encouragement Officer, Giant Leap Consulting, Inc..
Bill Treasurer is founder and Chief Encourager at Giant Leap Consulting (GLC), a Courage Building company that helps people and organizations live more courageously. Bill is the author of numerous books on leadership and courage.
Over the course of your career, you’re bound to have a few startling setbacks. In my new book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass, I explain why setbacks and failures often provide valuable lessons that can actually enhance your career. Career butt-kicks share a four common stages, each of which is described below.
The next time you suffer a career setback, consider these tips:
Focus on the long game. A setback is just a momentary speed bump on your longer leadership career. The spike in pain will eventually yield to worthwhile lessons and changes. Focus on where you ultimately want your career to end up, not the detour it may have taken.
Remember, discomfort = growth. Comfort may be comfortable, but it’s also stagnant. You don’t grow in a zone of comfort. You grow, progress, and evolve in a zone of discomfort. The more uncomfortable the setback feels, the more growth can result.
Don’t be oblivious to yourself. How much might it be costing you to remain loyal to your ignorance? Self- exploration and discovery can be painful, but what is more painful in the long run is being a stunted human being, incapable of acknowledging, assimilating, or shoring up your shortcomings.
Be your own project. Lots of people lead projects better than they lead themselves. Think about what it takes to lead a great project. You start by identifying your desired outcomes, you put together a timeline and pinpoint critical milestones, you marshal the resources the project will need to be successful, and you identify metrics to track progress. Guess what? You can manage your career recovery the exact same way.
Stay present. Rather than try to avoid all that surfaces for you during and immediately after the humiliating event, fully immerse yourself in the experience. What feelings come up for you? What fears are at work? How might your feelings and fears serve you once the entire experience plays out? What are you learning and how can you put those lessons to good use?
Ultimately, if you let it, a humiliating career setback can be the entry point for a richer, fuller, and more complete understanding of yourself, as a professional and as a human being. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll be better able to use your strengths— and actively mitigate the shadows your strengths sometimes cause—so they better serve you and others. Abraham Maslow sums it well: “What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.”
Bill Treasurer is the Chief Encouragement Officer at Giant Leap Consulting. He is the author of the bestselling books Courage Goes To Work and Leaders Open Doors. His newest book, A Leadership Kick in the Ass, focuses on the crucial importance of leadership humility and is now available on Amazon. » Learn More.