How to Turn a Setback Into a Comeback - Christine Kane

How do you rebuild confidence after you fail? How do you turn a setback into your biggest comeback ever?

These are questions that were posed to me recently by Gina.

Gina is ready for a comeback.

All year long, she has watched the proverbial wrecking ball have its way with her life. No need to dish out the details. A few words will do the trick:

Business partner. Betrayal. Theft. Lawsuit. Loss. Disillusionment.

Gina said, “Okay, so it’s all over. I’m on my own. I want to get back on track. I want momentum again. But I can’t seem to get going.”

Anyone who has faced a major setback knows this feeling well. On one level, there’s the desire to get moving again. But on the other level, there’s a deeper craving:

“I want to stop questioning myself. I want to forget this happened. I want my heart to stop hurting.”

It’s tender territory. You know you’re ready for a comeback. But you’re still drained and haunted by emotions, anxiety, shame and blame.

So let’s talk about what you do as you navigate your very soul and rebuild your confidence and your business…

5 Ways to Rebuild your Confidence after a Setback

1 – Release Drama.

If you live in the daytime television world-view, then you see Gina as the victim. (“Good person.”) You see her ex-business-partner as the perpetrator. (“Asshole”)

While this world-view might land Gina a guest spot on Jerry Springer, it won’t help her regain her confidence after this setback. That’s because labels and judgments keep us trapped in our reactions and egos.

The truth is that in this situation, people behaved unconsciously – and most likely, the unconscious behavior began years before the actual fall out.

This doesn’t mean that Gina won’t feel like a victim at times. Or that you “shouldn’t” get resentful, or jealous, or angry.

Your Upleveling, however, will come when you can translate all circumstances from the view of your SOUL.

This means that beyond the Drama Triangle (victim, perpetrator, rescuer) there’s a deeper expansion going on, and that you actively played a creative role in this situation.

When you can accept that (without self-judgment), you can begin to heal, let go, and experience transformation.

Feeling better is temporary. Transformation takes you to new levels. (Which is why we’re in business at all, right?)

2 – Forget “Old Self.” 

Sometimes during set backs, we just want things to be the way they used to be. We want our Old Self back.

But think about it. Your Old Self was the self that was living so unconsciously that this situation was created in order to wake her up!

You don’t want “Old Self.”

You want EXACTLY who you are now. Bruises, disillusionment, and all. These things – when translated properly – transmute into wisdom.

A New Self. A Wiser Self.

3 – Choose your Own Time.

“Time heals all wounds.”

Really? Does it?

Cuz most of us know at least a few people for whom time has only deepened their resentment. And we also know some people who healed so quickly and moved on with such velocity that it seemed almost like denial.

The playing field is not “time.”

The playing field is you.

You can heal in an instant. Or you can take some time. But the truth is that YOU choose how much time. Don’t be a victim of time.

4 – Detox from Reactivity.

Gina said, “I want to get back on track, but all I seem to do now is spend my time putting out fires.”

That’s because when we spend any prolonged amount of time in reactivity, we can easily get addicted to it.

And we lose our connection to our creativity.

Reactivity is the opposite of Creativity. Often, when a set-back seems to destroy someone, it wasn’t because of the set-back itself. It was because the person never consciously moved back into her Creative space. She stayed stuck in the energy of Reacting to her life. (Reaction is like a drug. You must detox.)

If you want to rebuild your confidence after a setback, reintroduce creativity and proactivity back into your being – little by little.

5 – Predict WHY in Advance.

“Wisdom comes from experience, either the experience of others or of oneself. And to let experience do its work, a person has to be open to receiving the lessons that it has to teach.”   – Dr. Henry Cloud

Until some wisdom or new direction has come from a hard circumstance, we entrepreneurs tend to steep ourselves in the “how.” HOW could this have happened? HOW did I let this go on for so long? HOW did I mess up?

However, after time goes on and a new expansion opens us up and reveals new gifts (if we let it), we discover and begin to tell the WHY of this circumstance. “Oh! It HAD to happen! It led me to this amazing new direction!” We may even feel grateful for the challenging event or horrible person.

So, start creating this translation now. Step out five years from now and tell yourself WHY this happened from the perspective of all the new beginnings and amazing outcomes that could not have happened if not for this circumstance… 🙂


Share with me! Is there any setback you’ve experienced that is still haunting you? Or is there any setback that you’ve experienced that you are now GRATEFUL for because of who you became because of it?


  • KB

    Hi I have exerperience a hard set back I went to nursing school did something studied, nothing like failing or plagiarism , I got kick out my program , and now I am force to get a health studies degree , I paid so much to go to this school and now I stuck with a expensive education bill , I work at a back breaking cna job , that leaves me sore every night, I love the health field but after this blow… I am tired of finding job that help people , right now I just want to be able to find a job that makes me money , so I can have a lifestyle that I deserve, I feel line I been stuggling all my life I don’t want to anymore . Please any advice on how to reinvent myself

  • Carolynne

    Thank you for this and it could not have come at a better time! I was gung ho about my new biz, then reality hit along with a separation, debt and being a single mom. Needless to say the biz took the back seat to food and a roof over our heads. Desperate to get rid of the gunk and old feelings of lack of confidence, I want to reboot and get back in the saddle. It is painful, but for me to realize that it is truly a mindset has been a huge leap in the right direction! Thank you!

  • Laura

    My set back: 2 years ago I took what I thought was a great job. I was on the ground floor of starting a research and development facility for a major company (I took a 10K pay cut for this job). I had a coworker who was hired internally 6 month previously and we were to do it together. I immediately was a successful major contributor helping my coworker succeed on a project he was not going to be able to pull off on his own. Two months later, the department we were in was combined and the hiring manager resigned over conflict with the new manager. Apparently I got hired right in the middle of the drama. Then came all the disillusionment; new manager couldn’t or wouldn’t make decisions, budget issues, a hostile coworker who got all the credit for our work and did his best to undercut me, 1.5 years being a remote employee with a team I barely knew and which acted like a click from high school. My boss was ineffectual and actually gave my coworker a project I was leading because he had been working it without me and I was remote (remote because the facility still hadn’t been staffed). So my boss put me on a dead end proposal that we had no chance of winning and I had to do primarily on my own without some major resources. The problems seemed endless. To top it all off I was traveling 25% of the year, working crazy hours and my health started to degrade severely due to the job. I developed a herniated disk for sitting too much (according to the spine Dr.) and gained 30 lbs; at times I could barely move and I still am not able to sit. I was also so negative that I didn’t even recognize myself!

    I got a mentor! She helped me to understand ways I could change my behavior and implement strategies to solve some of these problems. Unfortunately, you can only change yourself and my mentor and I decided I should cut my losses. When my boss finally made a decision and visited the site he told me they were moving the labs and that I didn’t have to move with them. Essentially my job didn’t exist. Of course I was the last to know about it in the department except that I saw it coming a year prior and had been looking for a new job. At least they didn’t lay me off, but I didn’t get any support either to figure out what I was going to be doing now. My coworker would be doing all the work at the corporate headquarters.

    I failed in many ways, some of it was me and some I had no control over. So who is the new me, I am still striving to recover as I am still in this environment looking for a new job. I have learned a lot about conflict management, how to be more proactive and not be too open and trusting (my coworker totally took advantage of my team mentality). I have maintained my integrity and I am doing my best not to let the drama and actions of others rule me. I am learning a lot about team building and remote teaming. I am trying to get back my creativity. This is a challenge as I feel very isolated and am on my own. I have learned to compartmentalize so I don’t bring the stress home. Sometimes I am successful at this. The one thing in my life that is awesome is my husband! So I focus on this, getting my health back, and don’t let work bother me. It at the moment is just a job. Oh, and you know that dead end proposal we had no chance in winning… I won it! Let the successful me continue!

  • Alle L’Eveille

    Great advice. I find it easy to get pulled into drama. I know better, but my evil twin gets sucked into it :-). I am working on training myself not to do that—my reminder is “step back, don’t react” so can get outside of the emotion of the moment and view the issue objectively. It’s an on-going effort. One tool I loved and continue to use in business before a challenging meeting or call is the Situation Upleveler. Really helps, thanks!

  • Alle L’Eveille

    Great advice. I find it easy to get pulled into drama. I know better, but my evil twin gets sucked into it :-). I am working on training myself not to do that—my reminder is “step back, don’t react” so can get outside of the emotion of the moment and view the issue objectively. It’s an on-going effort. One tool I loved and continue to use in business before a challenging meeting or call is the Situation Upleveler. Really helps, thanks!

    • Christine Kane

      Thanks Alle! Glad you still use the Situation Upleveler Tool!

  • Laura

    Perfect timing for this! I was just laid off a week ago from my day job of 16 years. I am determined to fall forward and not backward into my old ways. For the first time in my life I feel like I can rediscover myself And really create my own future. I did UYL and UYB this past year so I know I’ve got the tools to help me make it happen.

    • Christine Kane

      Laura – the question i would ask you (after you’ve done both UYL and UYB) is this: what have you been dreaming of, intending, praying for? Maybe this is the answer to that prayer and you are THAT powerful that you manifested the perfect circumstance!

  • Karen Pierce

    So wise Christine! Too, these 5 principles are sage advice for navigating learning how to be different with your spouse or partner, and love someone over time. It’s easy to forget the “why” in a relationship, easy to stay stuck in the drama of what’s not working and blame instead of looking to the now of “being the change”, and easy to lose track of being creative with loving when stuck this way. Thank you for a post that applies to many facets of life! So appreciative of you.

    • Christine Kane

      Karen – yes indeed! It’s all about where you choose to place your precious attention!

  • Juaquisha truesdale

    The setback that I have encountered is having more bills than money no savings and Wondering why I am Here what is my purpose in life. Student loan people calling me. The lesson I am learning from all of this I been spending like a crazy woman and needed to stop. I am learning that my financial situation can change for better and I am learning day by day that I am here to make a difference. I need to get out of my house and show and tell people what I do which is Show women how to have an unlimited supply even though they feel like they don’t deserve it.

  • Noelle

    I’ve had my divorce which makes War of The Roses look like a tea party , where I was beyond lost and unconscious catch up with the new me that has been on a journey of Eat, Pray, Love in the city, being a mom and working.
    I have lost everything but found myself along the way & never happier…. Now how to make something of this…

    • Christine Kane

      Noelle – I love that you wrote: “i found myself happy along the way & never happier”.. that speaks volumes. 🙂