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Progress In Disguise

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Whether it is a long-awaited promotion you weren’t awarded or a project you messed up, setbacks at work are disheartening, but they can also help you on the path to success. Gurjyot Kaur tells you how to deal with a setback at work gracefully

Setbacks at work are common but you should know that they are just stepping stones to success. Even though it can be difficult to accept failure or a professional setback initially, we have to move on and learn from such experiences. Professional setbacks come in many forms such as not getting a well deserved promotion, drawing criticism from your boss or encountering failure with a project. However, regardless of the setback, getting back on your feet and coping with the struggle in a positive manner can help overcome the challenging situation.

Sometimes, setbacks seem to block or hamper our progress, but maintaining a positive approach and getting different perspectives will make a big difference when dealing with it. It’s natural to be upset about obstacles at work, but instead of crumbling, focus on dealing with it the right way. Here are  a few things that can help you deal with professional setbacks gracefully.


Instead of cribbing about it, think about how you can turn the situation to your benefit. Remind yourself that just because things didn’t work out this time, that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t work out the next time. Put what happened out of your mind and shift your focus to new projects. This will help you recover faster and you’ll be ready for the next big project. Remember that setbacks are temporary and your attitude towards them can change your struggle. Don’t let the situation play on your mind and let go of any regrets. Instead, focus on how things can be changed and work to make that change happen.


Pretending or faking emotions won’t help you. If you’ve lost an important project or faced any other setback, it’s completely okay to feel bad about it for a while. Acknowledge what has happened, but don’t let it hamper your growth. Take your time to recover from the tough phase, but don’t blame yourself. And, never make hasty decisions. View the setback as an opportunity to grow in your career, rather than a failure. Accept the fact that in a professional atmosphere, setbacks are inevitable and you cannot do anything but learn and grow from them.


During a crisis, loved ones can be the best support system to reach out to, as they can help you cope with what you’re going through. Instead of withdrawing or cutting off human contact, talk about your problems as this could help you recover faster. Don’t isolate yourself; openly address the issue. This may help you find a solution. Reach out to a friend or a trusted colleague. The simple act of them lending a sympathetic ear could help you cope with the situation. They may also share related issues and give you fresh perspective.


Success isn’t just about promotions and appreciations. Sometimes setbacks can also help you learn and gain experience which helps you progress further in life. If you’ve been going through a career setback, try making new goals and visualise achieving them. Turn your career setback into a blessing and look forward to new possibilities. When you get work-related feedback, use it to your benefit. Know your skills and if you are lacking in something, try and find a way by which you can improve it or get better at it.


Discover the reason

Whether it is simple criticism or a major failure at work, knowing the reason is essential. Nothing is more ungraceful than living in denial or not accepting the reality. Ask your seniors or question the setback to gain clarity, but learn to accept it.

Analyse your progress

Before anyone else, you must know your worth. If you see even a tiny dip in your performance, analyse why that is happening.

Handle the pressure

Don’t lose your morale because of a failure. Instead, try talking to your seniors about what went wrong and learn how to handle the pressure positively.

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