It’s bound to happen. We all face moments when something we set out to accomplish doesn’t work out the way we anticipated.

We all face setbacks. We all fall down from time to time.

Fall seven times, stand up eight.

Japanese Proverb

But what does it look like to stand back up? What do you do to move past a disappointing experience? How do you start again?

What I’ve found is that after a setback, people start fresh by setting big, grand goals. They immediately seek a dramatic pivotal experience. They want to dive into a BHAG.

While this type of vision is important, it can be daunting to consider. Those enormous objectives are usually long-term processes to undertake. After a setback, considering where to start to accomplish something like that is difficult. Faced with that challenge, we delay our start. We promise to begin next week, or next month, or next quarter. We prolong digging in and breaking ground because it we see the enormity of the mission.

What if instead we start smaller, faster?

Keep the big goal, but back up a bit. Don’t imagine tackling it all at once. Instead, break it down into much smaller, less intense pieces. When the goals are smaller you don’t have to wait until next week. You can start right now.

Envision each step you need to take to reach the ultimate finish line. Imagine what will be involved in preparing for success. Thinking a process through is a vital step. Planning a strategy moves your mission forward and allows you take small steps toward a bigger win.

Before you can make major changes to your routine, before you can take enormous strides to change your professional trajectory, you must start with the mental preparation. And you can start today.

That mental preparation can be the step necessary to move past the setback and begin something new. It will be your first step toward something better.

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