Dealing with Obstacles: How to cope with setbacks

Man-light-bulbIn sales, setbacks and adversity are inevitable. Regardless where you are in your career development, I can promise you one thing: we all will be faced with challenges. From a lost sale or contract, to a missed deadline we will consistently be faced with adversity and obstacles along our way. This is life.

It’s easy to stay motivated when you’re winning; what’s challenging is staying motivated when things aren’t going so well. Instead of beating yourself up over a lost sale or missed deadline it is critical for us to develop the ability to learn from setbacks. This may be easier said than done but attitude is key. You can make a choice: You can reassess your strategy and chart a new course or you can feel sorry for yourself and implode with the new challenges ahead.

With over 22 years of sales/sales management at Danfoss, I have had my share of “wins and losses.” Although winning is much more fun than losing, I remind myself (sometimes with some delay) that my attitude and aptitude in dealing with the loss and obstacles is as much of a skill set as knowing how to close a deal. The ability to move ahead is a critical success factor for successful business person. You must overcome the challenge, don’t complain and spend your time solving the problem/issue at hand and create outcome based solutions.

Ultimately, success depends on your ability to handle the inevitable setback. In my MBA studies at Henley we studied setbacks in our Strategic Management class. I frequently look at my old text book by Jeff Keller, author of “Attitude is Everything”. Here’s his take on setbacks:

1. Realize they’re temporary
Setbacks are a sign that you are making progress!

2. Recommit to your goals
If you want to succeed, don’t give up! Be willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. You will get there eventually.

3. Contact a positive colleague
Positive emotions can be contagious! Connect with people who are positive and give off good vibes. Give positive encouragement to others and they’ll return the favour!

4. Reset your timetable
Your timetable may have been too ambitious. Success generally comes in small steps. This is the time to re-evaluate your strategy and think through what you can do differently to achieve your goal.

5. Take action today
Don’t dwell on the past setback! Take action –immediately – that will continue your momentum and success!

Finally, don’t let setbacks seriously damage your confidence, performance and ultimately your reputation. You must deal with difficulties head on and leverage your experience to enhance your confidence. Use setbacks and obstacles as an opportunity to enhance your skills. View a setback as a challenge to overcome rather than an issue or problem!

How do you handle setbacks? I’m interested in knowing!

Article by: Richard Hamilton Mantz

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