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How to Cope With Setbacks

Setbacks are inevitable; it's how you deal with them that determines your ultimate success.

It's easy to stay motivated when you're winning; what's challenging is staying motivated when things are going badly. Ultimately, success depends upon your ability to handle inevitable setbacks, according to Jeff Keller, author of the Attitude is Everything. Here's how:

1. Realize they're temporary.

Every successful person has encountered setbacks, learning what doesn't work is an essential part of learning what does! Setbacks are a sign that you're making progress. Remember: God's delays are not God's denial.

2. Recommit to your goals.

If you truly want to succeed, banish all thoughts of giving up before you accomplish your objective. Be willing to do whatever it takes to succeed, within legal and ethical bounds. You will get there eventually.

3. Contact some positive colleagues.

Positive emotions are contagious, so this is a great time to reconnect with people who believe in themselves and believe in you. Give positive encouragement to others and they'll return the favor. Get energized together!

4. Reset your timetable.

You may not be achieving success as quickly as you'd hoped, but success generally comes one small step at a time. This is a great time to "retrench" and think through what you might do differently to achieve your goals.

5. Take action today.

Pursuing success is like riding a horse; if you get thrown off, you've got to get right back on it. Rather than dwell on the setback, take some action--right now--that will continue your momentum.

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Last updated: Jun 7, 2013


Geoffrey James, a contributing editor for, is an author, speaker, and award-winning blogger. Originally a system architect, brand manager, and industry analyst inside two Fortune 100 companies, he's interviewed more than a thousand successful executives, managers, entrepreneurs, and gurus to discover how business really works. His most recent book is Business Without the Bullsh*t: 49 Secrets and Shortcuts You Need to Know. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for the free weekly Sales Source newsletter.

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