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Setbacks the Maverick way

Dealing with setbacks the Maverick way. We all face setbacks in life. Some may be minor disappointments, others may be complete disasters, whether personal or professional. Setbacks are sometimes things we can plan for and mitigate as a result, but often they come up and bite us in the proverbial with no warning. And THAT is where the Maverick coping mechanisms kick in.

What are Maverick coping mechanisms?

Put simply, they’re the ability to think around the corners of a problem, to come at it from so many angles that there is bound to be some tactic or opportunity to be explored. When that ability is turned into actions, it transforms the setback into a project. And a project can be broken down into manageable chunks.

This all sounds super-easy. For many, it is anything but. The key to addressing the setbacks is to find the way forward.  It may be a bit convoluted at times, but so long as you are making progress toward where you want to go, you can feel as if you’re coping. And that’s the really important bit – it is how you FEEL about your response to the setback that is crucial. For Socialised Mavericks [1], our feelings about our responses give us a lot of useful data which we can then use to inform how we innovate the next time we face this sort of thing. It’s as if we store away our setback memories, so we can harness their energy and learning for the next time. (In truth a lot of people cope with setbacks in this way, but I would argue that Mavericks do this seamlessly and naturally, because it is how we’re wired).

So, this all boils down to being positive, right?

Not exactly. It is much more about how you address the negatives, and THEN use that learning to focus on finding the way out of your situation. I describe it here as “the way forward” but that imagery may not be working for you, particularly if a singularly bad setback feels more like a deep pit. In this context, it may be helpful to imagine building yourself a ladder or finding a way to tunnel laterally out of the pit to come up for air, as it were, in another place. Mavericks love a metaphor and imagery, whether visual or written. And this gives a focus to how to use the learned data about the setback, to resolve the setback.

To be clear, resolving a setback may not be resolving the actual situation. That’s the winning outcome, obviously, but sometimes, just wrestling with the setback itself, understanding it and recognising its real scale and importance for you, is enough. That process, often core to reflective or mindful practice, gives you the data you need. The data may be how the setback happened in the first place. It might be how it made you feel. It might also be an appraisal of just how big a setback it really is. All this data, and lots more, will give the Maverick the building blocks for a plan.

We Mavericks love a plan.

Once the data is gathered and we understand the setback fully, we can then build our plan. We can decide whether we need to do much at all – always the first rule is decide how much you MUST do! Then we can decide on our options. Being Mavericks, our list of options (in the co-active coaching context) is bountiful and endless, because that’s how we roll. The key thing is for us to decide what we WILL do, and for that action plan to be intentionally wilful in its scope. What will please us, to address the setback? What will we want to do fastest, to address the setback? What don’t we want to do, in addressing the setback?

So the next time you experience a setback, try dialling up your Maverick tendencies. Get creative. Get analytical. Most of all, show yourself some compassion and cut yourself some slack. Learn, grow … and go again, the Maverick way.


[1] Socialised Maverick – Judith Germain, The Maverick Paradox: The Secret Power Behind Successful Leaders (PublishNation) 2017

Astrid Davies
Astrid Davieshttps://astriddaviesconsulting.com/
Astrid Davies MA is an Executive Coach and change consultant who uses her 30 years of leadership experience to help her clients make positive changes which last. She is a mentor and guest lecturer at the University of Southampton, including supporting their Enactus chapter for social entrepreneurs. She also runs a series of successful leadership training networking events across the South of England, where she helps young professionals to build an ethical and effective leadership career alongside their professional development. A passionate champion of diverse and sustainable workplaces, Astrid integrates several of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals into her client projects. If you would like to find out more, please go to www.astriddaviesconsulting.com.

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