Bouncing Back from a Setback


The past weekend I’ve been married to my phone, incessantly checking my emails at every spare moment. Why? I was waiting for news that would change my life. 

Noah plays happily in the fountains


Last week, I interviewed for a job that meant, if I were successful, relocation back to my hometown of Hull This is important to me because it’s one of the first steps in the grand plan I have for my life. One day, I would love to make a living out the things I am passionate about: seeing the world, writing and being of service to people, but to start, basing myself in a place that makes me happy, less isolated and inspires me is my gut feeling next move to help me achieve my potential.

Being a single parent though, relocation is definitely not straight forward and throws up many issues. What would I do with my current house? What job could I do that will fit in with childcare hours? How do I change my son’s school? It’s very overwhelming. I chose to concentrate on one obstacle first: finding a suitable job.

I wasn’t convinced that my interview had gone one hundred percent perfect, but in my mind, I was already there. Doing my little part time job in the morning, writing my blog in the afternoons, picking Noah up from school and spending evenings with the wonderful people in my life, occasionally letting my hair down at local restaurants and live music venues, like a few of my favourites in the student friendly Avenues area: Marrakech, Bengal Lounge and The Adelphi nightclub. Then on weekends, when we weren’t visiting other places, sampling vegan food at the local market, making giant submarium The Deep our educational playground and indulging in one of the many cultural festivals Hull has to offer like Freedom Festival and Humber Street Sesh.

Noah sits on some cushions at a festival in Hull
Noah hangs out at a recent festival in Hull

It will be no surprise that my heart sank when, finally, I received my rejection email. As a glass half empty kind of girl, this type of news always sets a dispiriting tone for the coming days, or even the following weeks.

So how can I possibly rescue myself from the psychological effects of disheartening news?

Allow myself time to wallow

Strange as it sounds, sometimes I do just want to give into the disappointment and allow myself to grieve a little. Awesome couple Lisa and Tom Bilyeu of one of my favourite podcasts, Relationship Theory, have talked about how they set a date by which the self loathing attitude has to stop and an effort must be made to improve the situation. I try to make this sort of agreement with myself! Take the rest of the day to feel sorry for myself but then insist upon working hard to be positive the following day so my negativity does not spiral out of control.

Reminding myself that there is a way, I just haven’t found it yet

One of my biggest inspirations is JK Rowling. Personally, the Harry Potter series didn’t appeal to my taste but who can deny the success and impact it’s had on readers around the world, young and old. Rowling was a single mum when she wrote the series, facing financial and emotional challenges, but she was also fiercely determined. Her manuscript was rejected by several publishers when she originally wrote it, but she kept pushing on and submitting it. It only took one publisher to say yes.

My favourite motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, has talked about JK Rowlings struggles and reinforces the idea that success is not achieved in just one try. He’s often shared a great quote from Thomas Edison, about the number of prototypes he made before he invented the light bulb, that really resonated with me: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Remind myself of the ways I am already meeting my goals

My special someone, Dom Smith, editor of Soundsphere magazine and founder of disability awareness site WARO, helped me see that I am in some ways achieving my life goals during a conversation we had over ice cream. He asked me what my life goals were and pointed out how I’ve already achieved some of them, even though in my mind that’s not really the case. My most important goal in life is to be a good mum which he says I’m already doing (really? I don’t feel like it…). Secondly, to make an impact on the world. He says I’ve done this by just bringing Noah into the world and continue to make my mark through my passion project, Little Explorer Adventures. Sometimes it’s really good to get another person’s perspective on the reality of a situation. Sometimes it’s difficult to pick out the positives yourself, which leads me onto…

Practicing gratitude

It’s so easy to forget how lucky and fortunate I actually am. I have to mentally remind myself of the things I could quite easily take for granted.

“I hate how many people think “glass half-empty” when their glass is really four-fifths full.”

Gary Vaynerchuk, whose books (Crushing It and The Thank You Economy) I’ve recently read, drives home the importance of perspective.

Make plans

And finally, I have to remind myself that there is no use in stressing over things that have happened and I have no control over. The one thing I can count on is having control over is my next actions. Inertia will guarantee to get me no closer to my goals. I’ll start looking for other opportunities, seeking out ways to open new doors and keep moving forward.

I’d love to hear the ways you overcome a setback. Feel free to leave your tips in the comments below 🙂

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post! It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. I have found that having something to look forward to definitely helps. Good luck with the job hunt. Don’t give up. And just think of that job rejection as it was a practice run to brush up your interviewing skills and polish your resume.

    1. Thanks, there’s definitely a lot that can be learnt when things don’t go to plan 🙂

  2. Daniel Cross says:

    I loved this! Sometimes we do face setbacks but nothing worthwhile comes easy. You’ve hit the nail on the head, Esther. I wish you the best of luck with the job hunting and with (hopefully) the move ?

    1. Thanks! Still looking! That’s definitely true. I think the struggle is necessary! ?

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