Adventurous soul that I am, I signed up for flying lessons a few years ago. The day of my fourth lesson my instructor was letting me pilot the plane. It was very windy, and I was having a heck of a time staying on course.

Frustrated, I began berating myself. As soon as I started that unproductive behavior, my newly learned aviation skills went to hell and I was losing control of the plane.

My instructor listened to me for a few minutes and finally said something very profound, in fact it is one of the most important life lessons I have ever learned.

“Lee, when you are flying you must realize that planes do not stay on course very long. It’s normal to be off course because of wind shifts. So, this is not the time to beat yourself up. Think about what you can do versus what you are afraid you cannot do. We are still flying, and your job is to focus on what you can do right now to get back on course to your destination.”

Whether you’re flying through adversity in the clouds or through a random setback life throws at you, focusing your life energy now, in the most efficient manner possible, is the best way to get yourself back on course to where you’re going.

Everyone on this planet has experienced disappointments and setbacks. Harrison Ford was fired from Columbia Pictures and told he would never make it. The Beatles were rejected by Decca Recording Company—they didn’t like their sound! Thomas Edison tried 2000 times to get his first incandescent light to work. When a reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times he replied, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2,000-step process!”

If you look back at all the most inspirational entrepreneurs, inventors, writers, innovators, sportsmen, artists, geniuses, and icons throughout history they all share a common trait—they simply didn’t give up!

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Don’t Take Score Too Soon!
Successful entrepreneurs understand that failure is a prerequisite for success. The sooner you buy into that, the sooner you’ll reach personal success & happiness. Each failure you make brings you one step closer to success, as long as you learn from your mistakes, of course!

It is very empowering to realize that by choosing our response to any circumstance, we powerfully affect our future. The true test of your character is when the events around you are not supportive. Sometimes you must gracefully accept that there are things you cannot change, and learn to live with them, even when you don’t like it. In making this powerful choice, you do not allow the problems or setbacks to control you.

The next time you meet with adversity, temporary defeat, or failure, remember that you may have no control over revolutionary changes or unpleasant circumstances, but you do have control over your reaction to these circumstances. Exercise this privilege by searching for the seed of opportunity found in every experience of adversity and sorrow.

You must choose to be proactive in life and not let life just happen to you. You must have the courage to be driven by your values and goals, not by outside circumstances. You make your own environment by using your thoughts and actions in exciting, productive ways. You are the creator of your incredible life and business. To see beyond the current situation, you must develop mental control over your emotions, feel your own power, and assume responsibility for your future.

The Burning Question
To deal effectively with setbacks, you must question your current perceptions. Your personal perceptions filter all your incoming experiences of life. These perceptions are strongly held rules and regulations in your mind that can blind you to creative solutions. When you resist new ideas, you reject new ways of thinking before you’ve even given them a chance.

It’s only realistic to understand that there will be obstacles. But there is a fine line sometimes between being realistic and pessimistic. Keep trying to overcome setbacks by using more intelligent data, systems, knowledge, and clear plans—as many times as it takes.

Tips for Dealing with Failure:
1. Reframe your situation. No matter how disappointed you are about a setback, ask yourself, “What have I learned here?” Force yourself to answer this question till you find the answer. It helps to remember things can always be worse (“At least X didn’t happen”). Your mindset is crucial for success—whether you think you can or think you cannot, you are always right! Control your internal dialogue to focus on solutions not blame.

2. Analyze exactly what went wrong. Who dropped the ball, what systems failed, or worse—did you not have a plan or system? Leverage what you learn to bring you one step closer to your goals. Don’t focus on “failing”—focus on what you can do now to be successful.

3. Be flexible: It is important you become flexible in your view of life. We should all learn to imitate the simplest laws of nature. Water, for example, takes the path of least resistance on its journey to the sea. When it comes to a rock, it simply flows around it. Making smart adjustments and changing your course of action are just as necessary to get you where you’re going. Sometimes it’s important to know when to cut your losses and set another goal. However, never abandon goals just because you’ve had a setback. Abandon goals or projects only if they have lost meaning for you.

4. Always ask for feedback from others you trust. And don’t think of their feedback as criticism! Credible resources, such as your own Team, your Coaches, & Mastermind support can provide fresh eyes to help you succeed and move forward. People who have no skin in your game can more easily separate emotions from facts, helping you see exactly the adjustments needed to reach your goals.

5. Don’t take score too soon. Unless you hear the fat lady singing, don’t make the mistake of judging yourself negatively just because you have taken action that has failed. We are all works in progress.

6. Success is judged not on how quickly you succeed but how quickly you recover. So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going. The quicker you recover, the quicker you reach your goals. As Confucius said, “Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” With every failure you gain more knowledge and insight than you did before, as long as you learn from your mistakes.

Lee Milteer
Performance and Productivity Coach
Millionaire Smarts Coach

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P.P.S. Lee Milteer is the founder of the Millionaire Smarts® Coaching Program, which is a content provider for other Coaches and Business Owners around the world as well as a Best-Selling Author and Award-Winning Professional Speaker. Lee is a Productivity and Performance Coach, and she has counseled, trained, mentored, and spoken in live everts to more than a million people throughout her career. For more information on how you could Use Millionaire Smarts Life and Business Mastery Programs in your business or speak at your event please visit, or email [email protected] for assistance.