Don’t be Discouraged – Take Every Setback as a Learning Opportunity

setback

After working full time with the same employer for over five years, I felt the impact of austerity in the educational domain this year when for the first time in my career, my contract shrivelled from 100% to 50%. Contract work is not easy due to its unpredictability and inconsistency and evidently, permanency and job stability are what most people in the workforce strive for in the long run. We will all face various setbacks in our personal lives, education and work lives, but I cannot stress enough the importance of learning to take away something positive from these challenges and use them to your advantage instead. I will explain how through my own journey, I learned to look at setbacks as a learning opportunity instead of an obstacle.

During my latest career setback, I must say that I was heavily discouraged to the point where I began doubting myself and constantly questioning what this would mean in terms of my future within the educational domain. So many feelings and ideas run though your head when something like this happens, such as “What if I were paying a mortgage? What if I had kids to support? What if a major financial issue were to spring up? What if this happens again?” These are all important questions to ask. That is why it is crucial that you factor in budgeting for future setbacks. No one wants to think about their hours downsizing or even losing their jobs, but in life you must be prepared for all trials…so make sure to have a back-up plan all the time. Stability in the workforce unfortunately isn’t what it used to be and this can be very discouraging for recent graduates at the beginning of their careers.due to its unpredictability and inconsistency and evidently, permanency and job stability are what most people in the workforce strive for in the long run. We will all face various setbacks in our personal lives, education and work lives, but I cannot stress enough the importance of learning to take away something positive from these challenges and use them to your advantage instead. I will explain how through my own journey, I learned to look at setbacks as a learning opportunity instead of an obstacle.

On the other hand, I did take away some positive aspects from this experience. I learned that contract work (even if it isn’t a 100% contract, does have its perks). I am currently a graduate student at McGill and because I was working less than usual, I ended up taking more classes because I had free time. This occurrence has actually granted me the chance to graduate earlier than I expected. Additionally, two months into my contract, I ended up replacing another teacher and regained my 100% contract. Moral: anything can happen, you just have to be willing to be patient and accept what comes your way sometimes.

I believe that positive individuals and leaders must always maintain a resilient outlook and optimistic vision for the future…even if the future is looking bleak at the time being. If you can imagine yourself succeeding and accomplishing your goals, are willing to work hard and put in the time and energy you will undeniably get where you want to be. How we view adversity strongly affects how we view our own success and how we plan to build it. It is only normal that from time to time, we will stumble and fail in certain areas of our life. Instead of remaining face down, we have to realize that we got there for a reason – maybe we took a risk and are now taking the time to look at this as an opportunity of temporary self-reflection (before planning out our next game plan). Effectively, the times that we consider ‘setbacks’ should be spent planning our next victory instead of looking at ourselves as victims.

It is so easy to focus on the negative sides, but if you do that only negativity will be gravitating in your direction, thus, nothing will be resolved. Try to use these three rules of thumb next time you feel discouraged or delayed in your goal:

  1. Embrace your setbacks and take this time to reflect
  2. Never become distracted from your ultimate goals
  3. Take each setback as a learning opportunity

I wish everyone the best in the attainment of your goals. There is less than one month left of semester and these rules definitely apply to school, as well as work. Rethink failure, setbacks and obstacles and realize that these encounters can only make you wiser, stronger and more experienced in your field.

“Failure and setbacks are necessary components to life-shattering success.” – Unknown

Best,

Lisa

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