• How can you handle setbacks positively and even be motivated by them?

In my previous blog post I shared 5 elements for embracing a growth mindset.

In today´s blog post we´ll focus on element #2: Be motivated by setbacks. This element is the most critical for entrepreneurs to master. If you don´t have a positive way to handle setbacks, you will very soon be out of business. I will illustrate this in a personal story of how I was able to overcome my own setback successfully.

I will also explain what differentiates a true growth mindset from a false one, and share my unique 7-step process to bounce back from a setback that is partly based on social psychologist Carol Dweck´s model. If you follow these 7 steps, you will set yourself up for maximum success in your business!


  • How do you handle setbacks positively and even be motivated by them?
  • Personal Story
  • What is a false and what is a true growth mindset?
  • How to develop a true growth mindset to overcome any setback
  • ⇒ The 7-step process to bounce back from any setback
  • Summary

How do you handle setbacks positively and even be motivated by them?

Personal Story

Years ago, when I started my career as an attorney, one of my important clients suddenly informed me that he didn´t want to continue to work with me after over six months of collaboration. At first, I was shocked. Then I tried to clarify the reason why he wanted to discontinue our collaboration. Unfortunately, I never received a response. I took it very personally and felt stuck in my assumptions about the situation.

Have you ever been stuck in your assumptions? What happens next?

The mind chatter takes over and thoughts about what you could have done wrong start swirling around in your head. This is exactly what happened to me! “Did I make a mistake? What is wrong with me? Why did he discontinue being my client?” etc….

I tried to analyze and figure out what went wrong, but couldn´t. These thoughts were running and running, keeping me up all night and the next day was even worse…

From my current perspective, I was stuck in a fixed mindset perspective of the situation. These thoughts created unpleasant emotions of anger and frustration, which then created more unpleasant thoughts…a vicious cycle with no end.

At the time, I didn’t know how to deal with these thoughts and emotions constructively, but I thought jogging and swimming would help calm and relax my mind. Indeed it helped and I had some relief for an hour but then I was right back in the vicious cycle. 

My mentor´s advice

However, I knew this wasn´t a real solution. A few days later, I called my mentor and asked for his advice. He asked what I had tried and then suggested the following:

  • Observe what is going on in your head and body. When you are the observer of your thoughts and emotions, you can´t BE your thoughts and emotions. That experience will lessen their impact.
  • Embrace what you don´t like or what bothers you, and it will lose its power.
  • At the same time, be aware of what triggers the thoughts and replace them with empowering, positive thoughts.

He challenged me to be my own observer and cultivate the awareness of what is going on inside me. He suggested embracing the negative mind chatter and at the same observing my thoughts and emotions and let them float by.

This led me on a very interesting inner journey that sparked my interest to explore these concepts and methods further.

A week after this incident, I felt motivated to continue my work as a lawyer and to provide even better service. I’m still very grateful for my mentor’s help. He changed my life and helped me to emerge stronger from this defeat.

What is a false growth mindset and what is a true growth mindset?

  • Carol Dweck´s concept of a growth mindset enjoyed great popularity shortly after her mindset book – The New Psychology of Success was published in 2006[1].
  • The downside was that business professionals and employees were suddenly expected to embrace a growth mindset.
  • Most of them, who claimed to embrace a growth mindset had actually a fixed mindset masquerading as a growth mindset and therefore was false.

According to Carol Dweck, everyone has a mixture of a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. The question is which one you will choose.

How to develop a true growth mindset to overcome any setback

  • In her book, Carol Dweck delineates a 4-step model for developing a true growth mindset.
  • A few years ago, I combined her model and several other concepts into my own unique methodology.

The following process supports entrepreneurs who have experienced a setback and are stuck in their mind chatter, but want to come out of it.

The 7-step process to bounce back from any setback

⇒ Step 1: View setbacks positively

  • How do you view setbacks?
  • How could you deal with setbacks constructively?
  • What would foster a new empowering story that supports you to bounce back?

⇒ Step 2: Focus on moving forward

  • What blocks you to bounce back?
  • What is your current mindset?
  • What blocks and triggers you when you think of moving forward?

⇒ Step 3: Determine what is blocks and triggers you

  • Be the observer of your thoughts and emotions and determine what triggers you.
  • Does it happen when you take on a new challenge, are criticized, need to meet deadlines or have disagreements?
  • Now, think back and remember an experience that keeps you stuck in old patterns, wounds, behaviors, feelings, thoughts and that you long to change.
  • What are your assumptions and beliefs? Dig deep here.
  • What is the story you’re telling yourself?

⇒ Step 4: Embrace what bothers you

    • What is bothering you? Why is it bothering you?
    • It can be quite challenging to embrace anything that bothers you.
    • To face it, to look it in the eye, is not easy but highly rewarding!

⇒ Step 5: Who do you want to be?

  • What is your ideal self-concept?
  • How do you want to show up in your business?
  • What would you rather think and feel?
  • Get crystal clear! Enlist new empowering thoughts, beliefs, habits and positive emotions you would rather have.

⇒ Step 6: Cultivate a true growth mindset with these 5 elements

  • Become a conscious observer of your thoughts and emotions and use these five elements to your advantage:

    • Element 1: Be open to learn, improve, and grow
    • Element 2: Be motivated by setbacks
    • Element 3: Embrace a culture of growth and teamwork
    • Element 4: Be self-confident andinspire
    • Element 5: Embrace self-transformation

⇒ Step 7: Ask the right questions to develop a true growth mindset

  1. What are my daily opportunities for learning and growth?
  2. How can I step outside my comfort zone?
  3. What needs to happen to continue developing a true growth mindset?
  4. Am I doing my best to develop a true growth mindset?
  5. What would I like to change in my life and business right now?


  • Key Point #1: Be motivated by setbacks is the most critical element for entrepreneurs to master.
  • Key Point #2: You need to have a positive way to handle setbacks in order to be able to bounce back successfully.
  • Key Point #3: The 7-step process helps you to bounce back from any setback.

Supporting you

Are you interested in bouncing back successfully and developing a true growth mindset?

If so, contact me for a complimentary 30-minute consultation https://nextlevelcoach.as.me/schedule.php

Coming up next month…

In my next blog post, I’ll shed a light on how to master to go from a good to a great company.

Stay tuned!

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[1] Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D (updated 2016), Mindset, The New Psychology of Success, p.201ff, 238ff.

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