If I could pick between winning everything and getting knocked down to only get back up, I would choose the latter every single time.
There’s a lie people tell themselves that if you fail or have a setback, that you should just throw in the towel and do something else. I can think of a handful of times where what I wanted to do didn’t pan out exactly the way I thought it would.
But that didn’t change anything for me besides my strategy. It was an opportunity to show myself who I truly am — to dig deep into my roots and have that woman show up.
The reason there are so many comeback stories in books and movies is because we love a good redemption story. We love to cheer people on when they’re in the depths of despair and come out on the other side.
Every setback is a setup for a comeback.
And there are a few things that getting knocked down allows you to do.
Trust Yourself Again
I don’t know why, but over time, we start to let other people cloud our judgements about what we should or shouldn’t be doing.
We let fear creep in and dictate what we should be doing. And sometimes, fear comes in the form of other people.
When I moved back from L.A. (the first time) after I believed I would be there forever, people would ask me what I was going to do now that that didn’t work out.
Those questions felt like shards of glass being stabbed into my heart and every time I would try and answer, my heart was breaking all over again.
They just didn’t get it.
There’s a reason why people talk about Michael Jordan not making the varsity team at first or how J.K. Rowling was turned down by 12 publishers before getting Harry Potter published.
Comebacks give us hope. They remind us that sometimes, people or life will say no to you, but you don’t have to take that response as your final answer.
Unless you’re completely unaware, at your core, you know why something didn’t work out or where you could improve. And you know what you really want and why. Other people will decide for you what would be best, but even the ones who know you well don’t always know what’s burning below the surface.
Get Out the Red Correction Pen and Fix What’s Not Working
If we’re being honest, deep down, we know why something didn’t work out. It could be the amount of effort, lack of resources or even that we weren’t ready for the next step.
Very rarely is failure a complete surprise.
For instance, if you watch Shark Tank, you’ll see eager business owners who want to bring on an investor to grow their business to scale, increase production and expand their marketing efforts.
Even the most seemingly successful business owner has things they could correct, and the truth normally comes out when the sharks start asking questions. Very quickly, the sharks find out that a founder has given away a significant portion of their equity, has a tremendous amount of debt or hasn’t made the sales they should over the last year.
There is always a reason why something doesn’t work.
It could be timing, resources or a million other things, but the good news is that if you’re really honest with yourself, you’ll know why.
The real trouble comes when you allow yourself to believe that there’s nothing you could do better. Sometimes, you really do give your all, and it’s not enough. That would be a timing issue, so you know why and you keep going.
Knowing why something isn’t working is the only way you’ll be able to get back and try again. Repeating the same things over and over and just hoping that something will drastically change is the sure fire way to fail.
Focus on What You Can Change
Once you know where you went wrong, adjust.
Pick one or two tangible things you can change and focus on them every day.
Maybe, it’s that you want to save more, so you set up automatic transfers to your savings and work on cutting back on impulse purchases. Or if you want to get your health back on track, you might hire a trainer three days a week who also can help you with your nutrition.
Even if you can’t control how things turn out, you can control what you bring to the table every day. There are things that you can do to make sure that you’re in a better place than where you started.
Write Your Own Story
No matter what happens, you are the creator of your life. Your comeback might look like a complete course correction or even a detour to something else.
But regardless of what happens, you are responsible for how you respond. There is no rulebook for how your life should be, so make sure that you’re showing up in a way that makes you proud, and the rest will work itself out.