top of page

From Setbacks to Success: Bouncing Back and Building Resilience in Your Career

In the journey of pursuing our career goals, setbacks are inevitable.

I know that I’ve experienced them.

Whether it's a missed promotion, a failed project, or a job loss, these challenges can leave us feeling demotivated and uncertain about our professional future.

HOWEVER, it is through these setbacks that we have the opportunity to build resilience and transform adversity into success.

Are you ready to bring more resilience to your life? Do you want to develop practical strategies to bounce back from setbacks? Do you want to cultivate a resilient mindset that will help you achieve your goals? Then let’s dig into…Resilience.

Understanding the Power of Resilience

Resilience is the ability to adapt, recover, and grow in the face of adversity.

I love this definition - because of the three verbs attached to it - adapt, recover, and grow.

Those three verbs are truly the workhorses of building resilience.

Because resilience is a crucial skill that allows us to navigate through challenges, setbacks, and unexpected changes. And in the realm of career development, resilience serves as a valuable asset, enabling us to persevere, learn from failures, and come back stronger.

Embracing a Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is the foundation of resilience. It is the belief that intelligence, skills, and abilities can be developed through dedication, hard work, and a willingness to learn.

Without a growth mindset, you can find yourself struggling in the face of setbacks.

Cultivating a growth mindset allows you to see setbacks as opportunities for growth rather than personal failures. By reframing setbacks as learning experiences, you can maintain a positive outlook and fuel your motivation to overcome obstacles.

Facing a setback can be challenging, but asking yourself the right questions can help cultivate a growth mindset and approach the situation with resilience and determination. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

1. What can I learn from this setback?

2. How can I view this setback as an opportunity for growth?

3. What strategies or approaches can I try differently next time?

4. What skills or knowledge do I need to develop to overcome this setback?

5. What resources or support can I seek to help me navigate this setback?

6. How can I reframe this setback as a temporary obstacle rather than a permanent failure?

7. What small steps can I take right now to move forward from this setback?

8. How can I use this setback to strengthen my perseverance and resilience?

9. What past experiences have I had where setbacks eventually led to success?

10. How can I maintain a positive and optimistic mindset despite this setback?

Remember, the key is to approach setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning, focusing on the lessons you can glean and the actions you can take to move forward.

Processing and Learning from Setbacks

Can I tell you a secret? In the past, when I faced a setback, I tried to move on from the setback as quickly as possible. I tried to ignore it and act like nothing was wrong.

But that wasn’t the way to learn from it. I wasn’t actually processing my feelings and figuring out my next steps. I was just pretending like everything was fine.

Even if it wasn’t.

When facing a setback, it's essential to take the time to process your emotions and reflect on the situation. Acknowledge your feelings of disappointment or frustration, but avoid dwelling on them excessively. Instead, shift your focus towards extracting valuable lessons from the experience.

Building a Support Network

Who is supporting you?

I can’t say this enough - but having a strong support network can significantly contribute to your resilience. Surround yourself with mentors, colleagues, friends, and family members who can provide guidance, encouragement, and constructive feedback. Seek out mentors who have faced similar challenges and successfully overcome them. Their insights and advice can be invaluable in helping you navigate your career path with resilience.

Setting Realistic Goals

I’m a HUGE fan of goals. Love them! I set them for myself all the time - and I adjust them as needed.

But one thing I always caution women about is making sure your goals are realistic.

Yes, I want you to set big, audacious goals - but I also want them to be achievable.

Setting realistic and achievable goals is crucial for building resilience. When goals are unrealistic or unattainable, setbacks can be even more devastating. Break down your long-term goals into smaller, manageable milestones. Celebrate each achievement along the way, as it will boost your confidence and motivation to keep going. By setting realistic goals, you create a sense of progress and maintain momentum, even in the face of setbacks.

Developing Adaptability

Are you adaptable? Do you embrace change?

Adaptability is a key trait of resilient individuals. In today's fast-paced and ever-changing professional landscape, the ability to adapt to new circumstances, technologies, and industry trends is essential. You need to be able to embrace change and proactively seek opportunities to learn and develop new skills. By being adaptable, you can turn setbacks into opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Practicing Self-Care

I’m a huge proponent of self-care. Pilates is my go-to for taking care of myself physically and mentally - and you can not underestimate the power of taking care of your physical and mental well-being. It is crucial for building resilience.

During challenging times, it's easy to neglect self-care, but doing so can hinder your ability to bounce back. Make time for activities that nourish your mind, body, and soul. Engage in regular exercise, prioritize sleep, practice mindfulness or meditation, and maintain a healthy work-life balance. By taking care of yourself, you'll have the energy and resilience to overcome setbacks.

Cultivating a Positive Mindset

When I talk about having a positive mindset, I’m not saying that you need to be a positive person 24/7/365 - that’s just not realistic.

But, I am saying that you have to process the negative feelings you may experience - and then make a conscious decision on how you are going to move on from there.

Because maintaining a positive mindset is essential for resilience.

Focus on your strengths, celebrate small wins, and practice gratitude for the opportunities you have. Surround yourself with positivity, whether through inspiring books, podcasts, or uplifting communities. By cultivating a positive mindset, you'll be better equipped to handle setbacks and view them as stepping stones on your path to success.

Seeking Continuous Learning

I consider myself a life-long learner.

And one thing I am sure of is that resilient individuals have a thirst for knowledge and a commitment to continuous learning.

Seek out opportunities for professional development. Attend conferences, workshops, and webinars, enroll in online courses, or join industry-related forums. Read books that can help you. By expanding your knowledge and skills, you increase your adaptability and become better equipped to face future challenges.

In your career journey, setbacks are not the end but rather an opportunity for growth and resilience. By embracing setbacks as learning experiences, cultivating a growth mindset, and implementing practical strategies, you can bounce back from adversity and achieve success.

Remember, resilience is not something you are born with; it is a skill that can be developed and strengthened over time. So, the next time you face a setback, take a deep breath, reflect on the lessons learned, and let resilience be your guiding force on the path to achieving your professional goals.

If you need help developing your resilience, reach out to me, and let’s talk. I’d love to learn more about you, your goals and see if we’re a fit to work together.

Related Posts

See All


bottom of page