MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION
By Deion Sanders with Tejado W. Hanchell, Ph. D
One of the most difficult things to deal with in life, business, sports, or relationships is a setback. A setback is when life throws you a curveball when you were expecting a fastball down the middle of the plate. Setbacks are unexpected bumps on the freshly paved road of life. No one I know has traveled the road to success without facing a few setbacks. In fact, setbacks are often necessary for success. The problem is that setbacks always seem to come at the most inopportune time. Just when you start to make some progress. Just when you start to come up, get over, get through and get by – BOOM – here comes an unexpected setback!
You can call setbacks “Murphy moments” because they seem to subscribe to “Murphy’s Law” that whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. Every time you try to get ahead, something comes to set you back. It’s like you’re always playing from behind. It’s like when you walked in the gym or on the field, the scoreboard is already saying that you’re down by 10. But can I tell you, some of the sweetest victories I reminisce about are the “come-from-behind” victories. You may be behind right now, but you’re about to pick that thing off, high step, and do your dance! (That word was for somebody!)
Setbacks cannot stop your SUCCESS. In the SENTENCE of life, a setback is a COMMA – not a PERIOD. Setbacks are temporary. They’re never permanent. A setback is different from a failure. Failure is like a fracture. A setback is more like a sprain. A fracture is a complete break. A sprain just means you got something twisted. Too many of us have allowed setbacks to have us all twisted up in the game, not knowing which way we’re supposed to go. In some ways sometimes it’s harder to survive a setback than it is to function in failure. Anyone who has played any type of sport knows that, while a fracture is more devastating initially, it normally heals completely over time. A sprain, however, is different. Sprains linger, and in some cases it seems like they never go away. Matter of fact, I was just walking down the field today in TRUTH camp and sprained my ankle today! They are constant reminders of the setbacks of my past.
A SETBACK literally means to be SENT BACK. (Pastors, you can use that this Sunday!) It is your past reaching up from behind you and trying to pull you back to where you’ve been. (Shout, “I ain’t going back!) No matter how devastating the setback, your setback cannot stop your success. The question is: How do we overcome our setbacks and not allow them to stop our progress – which leads to success? (I’m glad you asked.) Setbacks provide stepping stones, and here are 4 steps to success after a setback.
1. Step Back (Reflection)
A SETBACK should always cause us to STEP BACK and evaluate our lives and situations. A setback is a great time for reflection. There can be no ELEVATION without EVALUATION. When we realize that things aren’t working out the way we had hoped or planned it gives us a great opportunity to ask the all-important question, “Why?” Why does it seem like every time I take a step forward I get knocked two steps back? Why can’t I maintain momentum in my life? Why do I always end up right back here, or with this same joker? Why me?!
When we begin to step back and reflect we are able to see our situations from a broader perspective. When we’re in the moment, in the heat of battle, it’s hard to see our lives from a 360-degree angle, but a setback provides a great space for evaluation. We need to ask ourselves the hard questions, and be prepared for the hard answers. A real mirror won’t lie. While it’s easy to blame our setbacks on everyone else, we have to be willing to acknowledge the role we have played. There has never been an ignorant situation that I was involved in that I wasn’t behind the steering wheel driving myself there. That leads to the second step to success after a setback.
2. Step Up (Responsibility)
A setback is a great time to STEP UP and take responsibility for our actions and our lives. We cannot go through life constantly blaming our problems on everyone else. Here’s the thing, if we always blame other people for our problems, we will always need other people to solve them! (PREACH, Prime – OK, I will!) There is power in personal responsibility. When we take responsibility for our setbacks it means that we have the power to turn that setback into a success.
In sports when a star player or starter is injured, the team can’t just fold up and accept defeat. It’s a setback, but it’s also an opportunity for someone else to step up and show what they’ve got. This is how Tom Brady became a star. You’ve had a setback, and you’re still living. Now is the time to step up and show what you’re made of. You learn more about yourself in adversity. This is the time to show who you, what when, and how you really are. Step up and take the third step to success after a setback.
3. Step Forward (Resume)
After you STEP BACK and STEP UP, it’s time to STEP FORWARD. Reflection and responsibility mean nothing if we don’t resume our journey. A setback doesn’t mean you take a back seat. This is not the time to stop working on your dream just because your dream has been delayed. Matter of fact, there’s something wrong anyway if the only time you dream is when you’re asleep. There is no better time to change your life than right now! There’s no better time to pursue your dream than right now! Now is the time to resume pursuit of your passion. The setback shouldn’t stop you. Step up and step forward!
Stepping forward is scary because it often means stepping into uncharted and unfamiliar territory. It means leaving the hurt of the past behind and making a conscious decision to move forward without looking back over your shoulder. The worst thing you can do after a setback is to get stuck in the now. Don’t get stuck where you are. Step forward to where you’re supposed to be. When you step forward, it also means you have to take the fourth step to success after a setback.
4. Step Out (Risk)
In order to have success after a setback, you have to be willing to STEP OUT and take a risk! (If you’re scared, just say you’re scared and stop reading right now.) No one succeeds playing it safe all the time. I did play Major League Baseball, and I never stole second base with my hand on first. If you want to reap the reward, you have to be willing to take the risk. Step out of your comfort zone and start that business. Step out of that emotional pain and start looking for love again. Step out of the shadows of your past and start to walk into the light of your bright future. Make sure you put on that new outfit while you’re walking because, like I always say, if you look good, you’ll feel good!
Setbacks are tough…but you are tougher! Setbacks are rough…but you are rougher! Setbacks are real…but you’re the realest! Turn every setback into a stepping stone to success. Step back and reflect. Step up and take responsibility. Step forward and resume your journey, and step out and take a risk. Sooner, rather than later, you’ll find yourself high-stepping into the land of success. One of my favorite definitions of a setback is “the interval by which a chain or tape exceeds the length being measured”. In other words, when you have more tape than you need, the overflow is called a “setback”. That means a setback is not only about what you have LOST…it’s about what you have LEFT! You have a lot left in you. I’m 45, and I feel like I just started truly living. It’s time for you to find success after the setback.