My recent Forbes column was titled You Didn’t Get Promoted, Now What and covered how to get a promotion when you didn’t: 5 strategies to get back on track for the next promotion cycle. I just as well could have written, “you didn’t get promoted, SO WHAT” because that so-what, shrug-it-off feeling is a critical next step regardless of whether your goal is a promotion, finding a new job, or growing your business. You didn’t get hit your goal? SO WHAT. You will diagnose the issue, fix what needs fixing, and try again.
The ability to persist in the face of setbacks is crucial for aspiring executives, job seekers, and entrepreneurs.
There will be setbacks through no fault of your own: your employer isn’t doing well; the timing isn’t right to bring you on; there isn’t enough budget for the service you provide. SO WHAT. If you interpret one setback as a failure across the board, you will give up too soon.
Feel free to grieve the loss of this opportunity
I get it — you may have wanted it very badly. I am still smarting from the job that got away. Call the friend who is a fantastic supporter. Give yourself a few hours off and take in a funny movie. Take a hard-driving exercise class and work out your hard feelings.
Then get curious again.
Don’t get defensive and find reasons to blame the other side. Brainstorm on at least 5 ways you could have done better. Look at the technical – your actual presentation or interview. Look at the soft skills – your overall communication style and polish. Look at the logistics – how much you practice, how well you timed your preparation. Embrace your inner Sherlock Holmes and dig for what might be the problem.
Then move from internal to external.
Yes, you should look into yourself. But at the same time, look outward. What other companies do what you want to do – is it time to look for a job elsewhere? If your dream employer is not letting you in, what are some other places that are similar, where your efforts can be easily transferred? What other prospective clients do you have in your sales pipeline? A so-what attitude requires that you don’t need any one opportunity because you have others in the works.
Successful leaders, job seekers, and entrepreneurs know that a setback isn’t forever. Persistence is what makes the impossible possible, the possible likely, and the likely definite – Robert Half. Where can you be more persistent in your life?