Sometimes life can knock you back a step. In fact, if it doesn’t, it probably means you either don’t know which direction your moving in, or you’re not moving at all. If you want to make progress, then it seems necessary to accept that once in a while you won’t achieve everything that you set out to (it also means that you are probably setting your goals at an appropriately challenging level, such that they are mostly just achievable).
Actually, such moments are to be savored, because it is at these moments (and perhaps only during these moments) that you can become acutely aware of (i) your priorities, (ii) your development opportunities, and (iii) the things you should be grateful for:
- Priorities: Because everyone is different I won’t list these in order of ‘importance’ (rather, here alphabetically), but these might include family, friends, oneself, ‘other’, work colleagues/subordinates, your work, etc.
- Development opportunities: Principally here I mean self-development, but there’s no reason not to see this also as team development opportunities; in any case, while one can reflect at any time, I usually find that a knockback helps focus the mind on where one can improve, and thoughts about what one can do to improve. The key is to capture these thoughts and note them down, because very soon afterwards natural human instincts to relax/accept kick in and the moment, and thoughts, will be diluted.
- Things to be grateful for: At the end of the day, unless your knockback relates to the loss of a basic ‘human need’ (eg, from Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs) then you probably shouldn’t worry too much. In fact, you are probably much better off than many other people in this world. I recently came across this blog, “The grateful project“, where the author takes time each day to reflect and be grateful for something. I like that idea; the concept takes on even greater meaning if you can still be grateful for something on those days when you feel knocked down. Today I am grateful for being able to see the opportunities that lie ahead.
And on to tomorrow. The sun rises, and it’s the first day of the rest of your life. Pick up the baton, and run with it with fresh legs and the goal in clear sight. You will soon forget the pain of being knocked back – hopefully you’ve managed to capture the development points and the knockback has made you stronger. And if you incur further knockbacks, remember each time, you’ve still got your priorities (with the prerogative to adjust these), the chance to learn/develop from the knockback, and the multitude of other things in life to be grateful for.
Do you have any hints or tips to overcome a knockback?