Rebuilding after you crumble


So you blew it. You missed the deadline at work. You forgot your anniversary at home. You skipped the networking opportunity to meet your hero. You didn’t start that novel. You said words you now regret. It feels awful.

NeverTooLateNow what?

It is easy to fall into self-pity and retreat from being your best self after a defeat. After all, you just showed that you’re not perfect. You’re exposed.

That self-pitying retreat can spiral into a self-fulfilling cycle where you start to believe you can’t perform, then you reinforce that belief with further mistakes. More missed opportunities.

But you’re reading this article now for a reason. Maybe something about the word “Rebuilding” in the title triggered a resilience button in your brain. You’re here! And that means you’ve already started thinking about putting the pieces back together. Go, You!

But how?

You’ve made your mistake, and you’ve acknowledged it to yourself. That’s a great start. Now, go do something about it. Something constructive. Something positive. Something restorative. Anything that makes an incremental step toward rebuilding your confidence. Your relationship. Your reputation.

It may sound obvious, but the only way to regain positive momentum is to move forward. And moving forward requires a letting go of the past. Letting go, no matter how painful, how embarrassing, how derailing your blunder was.


Here are mental re-sets to help you make an incremental step toward rebuilding:

  1. Reinvent: Think about people you know who have reinvented themselves. Doesn’t everybody love a good comeback? Be the comeback kid in your own story.
  2. Evoke past resilience: Think about a time when you’ve bounced back from a failure. How did you do it? Well, then you can do it again? Even if this time was big-time.
  3. Bring help: No winner ever won by being completely alone. Find someone you trust and talk to them about your experience. I’ll bet they’ll share their own foibles and make you smile.
  4. Underdog yourself: Think about yourself as an underdog. Become your own champion. Champion of the underdog you’ve become. Who doesn’t like to see the underdog get the win?
  5. Imagine your next win: Think about what it will feel like to get your next win. Remember that even the best baseball players strike out more than 50% of the time. Every whiff is one swing closer to your next hit.
  6. Let it go: Use your favorite relaxation technique to release the uncomfortable feelings associated with your mistake.
  7. Do something different: Engage your brain, body and soul in a new activity as a way of demonstrating that you are not limited to your past behavior. Choose a positive action to counter the disappointment you feel.

As long as you are still standing (which I know you are, since you’re still with me here,) you have an opportunity to rebuild.

Let’s get to it!

Your Turn…

Leave a comment to make your statement about rebuilding.



About Dr. Hendrich

During two decades of leading teams toward extraordinary results in health care, pharmaceutical, arts & cultural, university and military organizations, Susan Hendrich has always been inspired by the stories of people achieving uncommon results through perseverance, positivity and prying opportunity from challenge. Susan’s mantra is “ganbatte kudasai,“ which means, “Always try your best.”



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