I had the privilege this week of moderating a round-table discussion among highly accomplished women business owners that run multi-million dollar companies.
Each participant shared their most pressing business challenge.
One of the women shared that her company of about 1,000 employees invested 3 years in trying to win a game-changing contract. She was very confident they would win… but they didn’t.
As the owner of a 21-year old government contracting business, I felt my colleague’s pain. Like so many government contractors, we made many large investments in business opportunities that we lost, that got canceled, or were never funded.
I specifically remember losing a $25 million contract by just a few evaluation points, and then I had to drive 90 miles each way to be told why we didn’t win. The experience literally made me ill – in the parking lot! The impact on a leader’s personal morale when something so significant doesn’t materialize is heartbreaking.
How does one respond to a setback – either personally or professionally – that can potentially deliver a financially and psychologically devastating hit?
The two-part answer is to reflect and reset.
During our round-table, my colleague shared that this loss opened up tremendous opportunity for her. Her schedule was suddenly free to step back and seriously think about her next steps. For so long, her organization was completely focused on this win. Mentally, they were ready to jump in with both feet to begin working on the contract.
Suddenly, where there was once a frenzy of activity, there was nothing…. Just empty space.
Now, my colleague has time to pause. She has an opportunity to re-shape her organization, and re-direct her focus. She has had a vision for bringing a product to market; she is now exploring what that may look like.
She will re-set her mindset, and re-evaluate her team (does she have the right people to move in a different direction), her messaging (is the company going to move into a different market), and her service offerings (what problems does she want to solve). Once she has these answers, she can then reset her focus.
The spaces that unexpectedly open in our lives are a tremendous gift for reflection and for re-gaining control of our direction.
This two-step process doesn’t only apply to business setbacks. I know many people who have experienced significant personal disappointments, or have planned some sort of transformational life shift, and the timing wasn’t right.
Even when we think we have planned for every worst case scenario, life can still blindside us.
The two-pronged secret to recovering from our setbacks, and emerging in an even stronger place is faith and patience.
From my own experiences, I’ve learned that patience has a way of untangling everything. I have lived this philosophy many, many times.
And the more faith we have in ourselves and in our futures, the easier it is to be patient. We are always stronger than our challenges.
Once we’ve come through the difficulty, we will always look back and be amazed at what we’ve endured, and how much we’ve grown.
Our experiences, no matter how harrowing at the time, will always lead us to a stronger and wiser version of ourselves.
Good luck as you reflect and reset.
Greater things await you on the other side of the door that closed.
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Wishing you joy and success on your journey!
CEO, Successful Culture
“Taking Leaders from Triage to Transformation.”