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How to Rebound From Setbacks at Work


Life is not linear, and as we work toward goals, we seldom move forward in a straight line. Sometimes, we end up making a choice or taking a path we did not expect, and sometimes, we make mistakes. Here’s how to learn from those mistakes and rebound at work.

(Photo Credit: Omar_Gurnah/Flickr)

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Don’t Let the Setbacks Get You down

Expect setbacks; they are a part of life. If you believe you won’t have any challengeks, you may be blindsided when you do. The dieter who eats one thing he meant to avoid may either accept he isn’t perfect and get back to eating healthier food, or give up and binge on donuts because he already ate one. At work, don’t throw in the towel and assume all is lost because of one mistake. Instead, accept that life is imperfect and go from there.

Nose to the Grindstone

After a reversal, keep focusing on your work. Sometimes our behavior after a setback says volumes about who we are and how we work. Continued dedication and focus show emotional maturity and, in the end, reflect on you in a positive way. It shows your boss that you are reliable and strong, even after making a mistake or suffering a loss.

Being willing to come to work and do your best also shows that you don’t give up, which is a quality that may take you further than those whose best work is done when there is no pressure.


Don’t forget to take care of yourself! Self-care comes in many forms. Be willing to try new things and see if they appeal or help you grow. Keeping a journal or taking a yoga class may help keep you focused and strong in the face of setbacks.

Self-care goes beyond getting enough sleep and eating breakfast. Talking to friends, cuddling with pets, or exercising outdoors are all self-care activities that rejuvenate and refresh people on their own time, which makes people better able to go back to work after a setback, stay focused and strong, and rebound by doing the best they can.

Learn From Your Mistakes

Finally, remember that every error is an opportunity for improvement. Instead of trying to hide your mistakes, embrace them and try to learn from them. You might learn more about your abilities and potential from choosing the wrong path than choosing the right one. Be willing to accept responsibility, without self-flagellating, and you’ll be a better, more successful worker.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you rebound after a setback at work? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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