Steps to overcome a setback
Tere Zacher

Giving up on your goal because of one set back is like slashing your other three tires because one got a flat.  And while getting a flat and not being able to get to our destination when we want to is frustrating, it doesn't mean we will never get there or this will be the end of the road.

I remember one Summer day in Arizona (keep in mind a summer Arizona day is more like being in hell). I was in Flagstaff with my daughter Kori and her friend Petra (they were about 8 and 6 at the time). I had to be in Phoenix at 3pm for a very important meeting. We left Flagstaff at around 11:30 am which will leave us enough time to get home and to stop at a cupcake place on the way (we love sweet stuff). About 60 miles from Phoenix I got a bad, flat tire. It was 115F outside and we had one bottle of water left. I called 911 and they said someone would come and help us. Then it was time to assess options, Should I call the person I was going to see to let them know I would more likely be late? Should I attempt to change the tire? Should I get frustrated and cry and set a bad example for the little girls? Should I curse and get desperate and blame my luck?... funny thing is that out of all of these options I never thought about slaying my other three tires and just give up on getting to Phoenix. I knew I was going to get there, I just didn't know at what time. 

So, even though this is a silly example, we all experience moments when we have setbacks on the way to our goals. This is normal. There are going to be difficult moments along the way because nothing worth having in life is easy. I have learned that happiness is accepting things the way they are instead of wanting them to be different. This is called "living in the now". But that doesn't mean that because you accept things how they are now they will always be this way or you can't do anything to change them.  So, if you have a setback, think of embrace the challenge instead of giving up. Going back to my example, I had two little girls inside of the car. The decision to make was: Should I give up on my meeting and get frustrated or should I show them that when a setback happens you can still be in control and make the most out of it?. I called the person I was meeting and we agreed to change the time for later. I told them we would still get cupcakes even if that meant getting them the next day  ("perhaps this way we will get the fresh, just baked ones"), and I made sure they understood (as well as I) that we were lucky we got a flat and nothing more serious happened and that this was going to be a good memory of our trip. 

I have had many setbacks in my life. Just in my running career I have had several injuries, asthma and what not. But, instead of giving up i have learned to embrace the challenge and learn from it. And, in turn, this has made me a better, mentally stronger runner.

Now, How can we embrace the challenges of a setback when we are facing them? These steps have helped me and I ope they can help you if you are going through something similar:

1. Acknowledge it.

No one is immune to setbacks. If you have one, recognize the problem. By doing this you can start the process of transformation, for it is on the other side of the setback that we realize we are not going to be the same person we were before. We are going to be wiser, stronger, and better for it.
Like nature and the seasons, the caterpillar and the butterfly, the tadpole and the frog, there’s no turning back, there’s no putting our head in the sand to pretend it isn’t happening. Acknowledge that through the tough times, the miracles of transformation happen, and we can flourish on the other side. My favorite phrase says "just when the caterpillar thought the world was over it became a butterfly"
We are capable of doing amazing things—and even more if we can grow through our challenges.

2. Eliminate blame.

Things happen for no obvious reason sometimes. Exploring the way forward is much healthier than trying to blame someone or something for a setback that is irreversible.

3. Access your spirituality.

Spirituality can sustain us in times of uncertainty and difficulty. When we feel like we don’t have the physical, mental, or emotional strength to pull through, our faith in something more—whatever that may be—gives us the energy we need to keep going.
Spirituality reminds us that we are a gift, and have gifts to offer the world. Our job right now is to discover these gifts and to remove the setbacks so we can give them to others in the future.
Focusing on our spirituality allows us to see beyond this setback and find a purpose for it.

4. Give yourself time.

Just as we need to allow time for wounds and broken hearts to mend, we need to allow ourselves time to overcome our setbacks. Impatience only makes them harder and longer than they need to be.
We are in such a hurry to fix our problems and move on; usually this impatience is a pattern that overflows into other areas of our life.
I am terribly guilty of impatience, and the only solution I have found is focusing on and enjoying other things while allowing a setback to be resolved in its own time. I try to remember what really matters. I think back to happy memories and keep faith that after this setback I will be where I want to be.
It serves no purpose to dwell on a problem. Allow the movement of time to push you through it. Time does heal!

5. Step out of your comfort zone.
Confronting and staring a setback in the face and sharing it honestly to say, “Hey this is where I’m at" has enormous power. We can learn so much from other people who are dealing with their own challenges, but we have to share our own to do it.

Yes we are all going to deal with setbacks in life, but we can overcome them if we see them as part of a bigger life picture, and commit to seeing them through from start to finish. Remember that this setback won’t stop you from being who you want to be and doing what you want to do.

Embrace the challenges, and don’t give up!

Follow me on instagram (TereZacher) and twitter (@terezacher) for daily mental tune ups

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