How To Turn Setbacks Into Comebacks

How To Turn A Setback Into A Comeback

We all experience times in our lives when something comes along and knocks us down and at that point, we each have a choice. We can ‘stay down’ and feel sorry for ourselves, we can dwell on how sh*t life is or we can pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down, learn some lessons and simply move on.

How we use our minds is within our control and it’s important that we learn to take control of our ‘inner thoughts’ because if we don’t manage our thoughts, they will cause us mayhem! The Negative Committee In Your Head

I wrote a post last year about my daughter in law and her journey after discovering that she carried the BRCA1 gene, which increased her risk of getting Breast Cancer to  80%. Jenny certainly showed me, how to take what may be perceived by many as ‘bad news’ and turning it around into something very positive. Life Has Thrown A Gigantic Lemon.. It’s Being Thrown Right Back!!!

Finding out that she had the BRCA1 gene, was a pretty BIG setback in life, by anyone’s standards. At just 32, she did her research, weighed up her options and proceeded to have a double mastectomy, which has reduced her chances of getting Breast Cancer from 80% to less than 5% and in doing so, turned her ‘setback’ into a wonderful ‘comeback’. I never cease to be amazed at how brave and positive she is!

In observing Jenny’s amazing journey, I realised that there are some lessons we can all learn from her, about how to turn life’s ‘setbacks’ into our personal ‘comebacks’ so that we rise stronger from the adversities in life.

I also recognise that this isn’t possible in every situation. Jenny was lucky that she was able to have the BRCA test and therefore had some ‘choices’, which isn’t the case for everyone.

However, in many instances, we do have choices about how we deal with our setbacks.

8 Ways To Comeback from a Setback:

When something comes along to knock us off our feet, here are some of the ways we can take back control of the situation and turn it into a positive experience, which helps us grow stronger for the longer term:

  1. Recognise what is within your control, research options and make a list of all the things you can actually do to help the situation. This opens your mind up to alternative possibilities and solutions, which engenders a sense of ‘hope’ that things aren’t ‘impossible’ and don’t have to stay the same.
  2. It’s easy to blame others when something goes ‘wrong’. Ultimately though, you can’t control the actions of other people, only our own. If we spend time feeling sorry for ourselves because of ‘what has been done to us’, we aren’t resolving the issue.. Instead, start to look at how you can do something differently and what responsibility you can take to change things for ‘next time’.
  3. Do you dwell on past problems or mistakes and continue to beat yourself up about what you ‘should’ve done’? Instead, focus on what you can learn from what happened. Write down what you’ve learned about how ‘not’ to do something and what you’ve learned instead about ‘how to do something’ differently next time..
  4. Do you question yourself based on the views others hold about you.. does this dent your confidence and self-esteem? You need to identify your core values and live life in alignment with these regardless of what other people think of that. 4 Ways to Develop your Personal Values List and help you to Lead A Life Worth Living!
  5. Have you worked hard to achieve something and then not quite ‘hit the spot’, so you’ve given up entirely – setbacks are only permanent if you allow them to be. If you learn from the setback, you can come back stronger and more energised to try even harder!
  6. In most cases, we set our own ‘limitations’ by how we communicate with ourselves internally. We often focus on ‘what might go wrong’, when instead we could focus on ‘what could go right’. Listen to your internal voice and when you recognise the ‘negative chatter’, flip it – start to be consciously ‘kind’ to yourself instead. Encourage yourself in the same way you would encourage a child.
  7. When things go wrong and we become stressed or we feel ‘down’, this is usually reflected in our posture. Notice how your body is responding and consciously change your posture. If your shoulders and neck are hunched, imagine you have a cord tied to the top of your head that is being pulled upward. Raise your head and loosen your shoulders. Shake the tension out of your limbs. Hold your head up high and you will automatically feel more confident. Put a smile on your face and your body will automatically trigger endorphins, which helps you actually feel better.
  8. Visualise how you would like something to be or how you would like to behave in a particular situation. Focussing on what you WANT instead of what you DON’T Want, is much more likely to achieve positive results. Top athletes don’t use visualisation for nothing – it’s a VERY powerful technique and is something anyone can learn.
Life is much simpler than we often imagine and there are always opportunities to learn new ways of doing things. We always have a choice when something knocks us down, we can choose to ‘wallow in the mud’ or ‘rise like a phoenix from the flames’, stronger and wiser!





  1. September 7, 2017 / 12:44 am

    Great post Wendy, Our internal voice to ourselves has quite an impact on us., learning to turn those voices into postive thoughts is the key. You DIL is an inspiration.

    • Wendy
      September 12, 2017 / 8:23 am

      Hi Barbara – thank you so much. You’re right – our internal commentary makes such a massive difference! Jenny really is very inspirational and I’m lucky to have her in my life… xx

  2. August 18, 2017 / 4:09 am

    Jenny’s progress and determination is such an inspiration. This is a wonderful post Wendy. Lots of very practical tips here for me to mull over. xo

    • Wendy
      August 26, 2017 / 4:19 pm

      Thanks Miri – yes she really is very inspiring and a wonderful mum. We’re lucky she is in our lives I’m glad to pass on a bit of her inspiration to you too.. xx

    • Wendy
      July 12, 2017 / 11:44 am

      Haha! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and hopefully found a spark of inspiration in there! xx

  3. July 12, 2017 / 3:07 am

    I enjoyed reading your post Wendy and agree wholeheartedly with your suggestions. I’m so pleased to hear of Jenny’s progress.

    • Wendy
      July 12, 2017 / 11:43 am

      Thanks so much Debbie! Jen has done so amazingly – I’m just so proud of her!! xx

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