5 R’S to recovering from a career setback

Have you recently experienced a career setback? You are in good company. I sincerely believe setbacks are proof that you are alive and working at achieving your goals. Think about it, if you had no goals, no end in sight, how could you suffer a setback?

Everyone has suffered a setback(s) at some point in their lives, but the ability to move on positively, is what differentiates one person from the other. I have suffered a number of setbacks as a professional (which I have bounced back from) and I would like to share with you my five practical R’s to recovering from a career setback.


Relax emotionally and physically. Cut yourself some slack by relaxing mentally and emotionally. We are often our own worst critic. You might have made a wrong decision, but you still have all the skills, talents and strengths you possessed before the career setback.

Relax physically. Do something you love or something that gets you excited. Read a book, watch a movie or go for a leisurely walk.oprah-bath

Pamper yourself. Go for a pedicure in a nail salon that is equipped with a massage chair. Tres relaxing! While you are at it, get your nails painted. I am pretty sure you will leave the salon relaxed and in a better emotional state.

Reach out

You may also need to draw strength and encouragement from your support team, which typically consists of family, peers, friends, mentors and coaches. So my question for you is: what kinds of support do you need right now?

bande_des_fillesAre you at a point where you feel all hope is lost? Reach out to someone that can lend a shoulder to cry on, but still encourage you to move on. A little comic relief won’t hurt either.

Are you confused and uncertain about how to proceed? Reach out to someone that has an analytical mind and can offer suggestions on how you can bounce back.


You also need to take time to reflect on and learn from the setback. Could you have done things differently? What can you do to prevent or reduce the chances of a reoccurrence? Do you need to improve your skills or take a course?

maya-rudolph-thinkingTry listening to or watching a TedTalk or Tedx Talk for inspiration or seeking advice from a mentor or coach, if you are drawing a blank.


Resolve to do all within your power and reach to bounce back. I am in love with the rubber band person concept by John Maxwell. According to him, a rubber band person is someone who no matter what happens to them, always seems to bounce back. They are resilient people.

kelly-rowlandDeciding to move on from a setback is a conscious decision or a series of conscious decisions. Resolve to be a rubber band woman, a resilient woman!


Re-imagine your future, positively.  Imagine sharing your story, after you have successfully bounced back, with start-ups, mentees or junior professionals in your community and inspiring them. Imagine giving a Tedx talk. Try to paint a positive mental picture of your desired future; it will inspire and strengthen you.

zendaya dusting off shoulderFinally, remember, a setback is exactly what the term suggests; a temporary interruption or delay in progress. Don’t let a career setback define you, learn from it and move on stronger and wiser.

Best of luck!