over 3 years ago -

How to Move Past Setbacks at Work


After a setback or mistake at work, at one time or another, we have all questioned our abilities or if we were in the right role.

But it’s important to consider the big picture and get stronger from setbacks. Here are questions to ask, ways to learn from your mistakes and come back stronger. 

Determine your core strengths

Do you feel like your work is an effective use of your talents – or are you lacking in a key skill? This may seem overly basic, but for a variety of reasons sometimes your skills aren’t where you can best align them in your role. You may have missed the mark if you didn’t have the proper training, support or understanding of your role. Talk with your supervisor to learn exactly what you need to succeed, and where you can grow. 

Take pride in your work

Every job has elements that can feel like chores. But take a deeper look if this is a temporary unpleasantness or a systematic problem. Many successful projects will have trial and error or even failure built in on the path toward meaningful changes. Ask yourself at the end of the day, where can you reflect on your work and have a sense of pride in your accomplishments and what you’ve produced for the world?

Find support from mentors

Everyone has their own examples of coming up short, and often that’s people on your own team who can relate most to the same type of mistakes. Lean into these relationships when you need them and ask for support. A robust support system can help you get through frustrations and setbacks, and one of the best indicators of job satisfaction is the relationships you build with colleagues, bosses and others at your work.

Focus on what you can control

With setbacks, there can be factors outside of your control. But you will be more resilient if you focus on what you can control, such as upskilling, growing and improving. 

Learnability is the desire and ability to continually learn and grow throughout our careers. To keep that skill sharp, ask yourself what a setback can teach you, and what you can learn. 

After a setback, the key is to continue to understand what happened and adapt. Look to the future, understand that mistakes will happen, and make the experience a catalyst for becoming better.