Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right. -Henry Ford
It’s 9:25 PM on a Friday night and I’m currently sitting in the Seattle Tacoma airport due to my flight being delayed.
Latest estimates have me arriving home in Dallas Fort Worth at around 2:00 AM.
So, aside from being able to catch up on some email my Friday evening has been less than optimal!
At this point, I really have two choices. I can let this negative situation ruin my night, and potentially weekend (due to the lack of sleep I’ll be dealing when my kids jump on my head at around 7:00 AM), or I can roll with the punches.
In the end, the ability to deal with setbacks – or outright failures – is really at the heart of a successful, and happy, person.
So, in this article, I’d like to share 5 techniques that have helped me deal with situations such as the one I find myself in as I sit in this lovely airport.
1. Expect it
The first technique, for lack of a better word, I use to cope with setbacks, or failure, is to expect it!
Now, I’m not saying we should have a negative, or bad, attitude and walk around with sad faces.
Instead what I mean is this… anyone that travels needs to understand that delays are inevitable.
Anyone that runs a company or business needs to understand that there will be bad months.
Anyone in a relationship needs to understand that you will have disagreements.
In other words… stuff happens! Expect it so when it happens you’re not devastated.
Next, perhaps the most significant – and no doubt hardest – thing I have learned to do when faced with setbacks, or failure, is to persevere.
In other words, if I’m having a bad day at the office the most important thing I can do is focus on adding value to my customer by creating a new video or article or podcast… or perhaps I’ll focus on enhancing some other aspect of the service we provide. The key is I will do something that will hopefully add value to my customers.
The absolute worst thing anyone can do, when faced with challenges, is panic or bury their head in the sand in an attempt to hide from the issues.
3. Maintain Perspective
The third thing I think we should all do when faced with challenges or failure is maintain perspective.
Sure, sitting in this airport stinks even though I knew, or even expected, something like this could happen. I’m also making the most of it by writing this article.
But, really, in the end, I also need to maintain perspective. Is a plane delay REALLY that big of a deal?
Not really. And even when more serious things like failures in business, or even setbacks in our personal lives occur, I really believe it’s important to keep things in perspective.
I was always taught to count my blessings… which I have been blessed with many… and something tells me most of the people reading this are also in the same position.
So, the next time you’re faced with what you feel to be a bad situation take a step back and ask yourself if it’s really as bad as you’re making it out to be.
4. Realize Failures or Setbacks are Opportunities
My business partner, Kevin, is fond of saying that when life gives you lemons do your best to make lemonade.
Man, is this hard. But it’s so important.
Recently, we had a setback at Gemba Academy that really had me down in the dumps. But Kevin, being the excellent colleague that he is, challenged me to learn from the situation and press on.
I did… and you know what happened? Within 24 hours that negative situation was more than made up for since we were able to find another solution to the problem. And this “new” solution was actually far better than the original situation that didn’t work out.
In other words, we made some awesome lemonade!
5. Quiet Your Mind and Focus
Lastly, I personally find great solace is finding some quiet time to pray as I seek wisdom and guidance for my professional and personal life.
For others, they find great solace in meditating for a few minutes each day.
And even if praying or meditating isn’t something you personally do I’d encourage you to find some way to quiet your mind and focus on what’s truly important in your life.
I’ll once again point to my business partner, Kevin… I know he does his best to meditate every morning and take quiet walks on the beach near his house. This really seems to center and refocus him.
What do you think?
What do you think of these techniques? Have you tried to do any of them before? What other tips or techniques do you personally use to deal with the challenges and failures we all, inevitably, encounter?