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6 Strategies to Navigate Career Setbacks

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We've all experienced it at some point in our lives - the feeling of disappointment and frustration. When our career doesn't go according to plan. Despite putting in countless hours of hard work and dedication, it can be disheartening when we don't achieve the desired outcomes. However, it's important to remember that these feelings are completely normal. In fact, it's becoming increasingly common in the current climate. With the added anxiety that the last years brought us. If you're feeling like you're getting nowhere in your career, here are six strategies you can employ to cope with setbacks and get back on track.

1. Seek help from your supporting circle

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When faced with career setbacks, it's crucial to reach out to those closest to you. Sharing your thoughts and doubts with family and friends can provide instant stress relief. They may offer valuable insights and advice that you may not have considered. Opening up to your loved ones not only strengthens your relationships but also allows you to learn from their experiences and discover how they overcame similar challenges. If you don’t have anyone to share, you can find your circle of support within groups of the same interest like networking, or meet-ups.

2. Embrace frustration as a normal emotion

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Allow yourself to feel frustrated when things don't go as planned. It's a natural and valid emotion that shouldn't be suppressed. Take a moment to reflect on why you're feeling frustrated. Consider jotting down a list of challenges and struggles you're facing on paper. This exercise serves as a release, transferring your thoughts and concerns from your mind onto the page. You can revisit this list later and develop strategies to overcome each obstacle when you're in a better state of mind.

Observing your own emotions, and how every situation affects your mood, behaviour and thoughts can be also helpful.

3. Take a mental break

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Give yourself permission to step away from your problems for a few days and shift your focus elsewhere. Sometimes, taking a break and approaching the issue with a fresh perspective can make a world of difference. Overthinking can be mentally exhausting and counterproductive. Engage in activities that help you unwind and divert your attention, whether it's reading a book, going for a walk, or watching a film. Taking care of your mental well-being is essential, and it's important not to overwork your mind.

4. Adjust your strategy

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After giving yourself time to rest and rejuvenate, reassess your approach with a clear mind. Often, the problem lies not with you, but with your strategy, or a situation in the employment market. Sometimes, you may need to allow more time for desired results to materialize. Ask yourself three important questions:

- What haven't I tried yet in my strategy?

- Who can assist me when I'm stuck or in need of support?

- How can I re-evaluate my action plan?

By linking these questions to the frustrations, you identified earlier, you can create a new method. That motivates and empowers you to overcome the challenges ahead. Map out your revised approach. And incorporate contingency plans for potential hurdles that may arise.

5. Revisit your goals

Now that you've examined your strategy and identified areas of struggle, it's time to reevaluate your goals. Consider how your new strategy aligns with your objectives and determine if any adjustments are necessary. Ask yourself:

- Are my goals still relevant to my revised strategy?
- Do I need to have a broader look?

Consider horizontal moves and career change. Should I take new roles into account (with the growth of AI, for example)?

By delving deeper into your goals and making slight adjustments to accommodate your new strategy, you increase their attainability. This, in turn, propels your career forward and alters your approach to work.

6. Celebrate your accomplishments

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It's crucial to acknowledge and celebrate your achievements at the end of each week. This step is vital for maintaining motivation and self-appreciation. Tracking the small wins, you've achieved along the way helps you recognize your progress and boosts your mental well-being. Failing to acknowledge how far you've come can lead to discouragement and hinder your career progression.

The effort you've invested in your career is never wasted. By implementing these strategies, you can navigate setbacks and work towards achieving your desired goals. Keep in mind that you are remarkable, and with the right mindset and strategies in place, you will achieve the success you're aiming for. If you ever need career advice or support, don't hesitate to reach out.


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