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How to Bounce Back from a Setback

How to Bounce Back from a Setback

Terry L. Brock

June 23, 2009

I’m back in this enchanting city known for lots of bicycles, beautiful canals, charming people and yes the traditional windmills, wooden shoes and tulips. While there are not many windmills, the people really don’t wear wooden shoes and the tulips are gorgeous, this city reminds me of the importance of bouncing back from setbacks.

It all started for me a few years ago when I first visited Amsterdam. Being a naive tourist who was mesmerized with this delightfully Dutch city, I was sitting on a park bench enjoying a lovely afternoon. I was on my first trip around the world and planned to collect several pictures and video as I went to ultimately share them at a conference in Hong Kong where I was scheduled to present to a group of senior executives from around the world.

As I was enjoying the moment on the park bench, I was approached by a man who distracted me asking a question. At least I thought it was a question as he repeated something in a language I didn’t understand. Being the na├»ve tourist that I was, I jokingly tried to explain that I didn’t understand and only spoke English. Suddenly the man turned to walk away abruptly. It was at that moment that I turned to my left and noticed that my bag with my camera and video camcorder – along with other valuable notes and items – was gone! I had fallen for the oldest trick in the book. One distracts you to look to the right while his accomplice steals your bag on your left.

I quickly jumped up to watch for a fleeing thief, but these thieves were fast and knew their craft. My bag was gone, never to be seen again. I went instantly from blissful enjoyment to shock and outrage. What could I do? I needed that equipment for my programs. What about all the pictures and video I had already captured for the event? What can I do now? These and a thousand other desperate questions raced through my mind in those first few moments.

When a setback or even a tragedy hits, there is an initial moment of being stunned. That quickly turns into outrage and anger. This is natural. The critical difference is what you do about it to bounce back from that set back. How you react at that pivotal moment in time will determine your future.

Next page: Steps to help you bounce back from a setback.