Economic times have been tough for many people for the past 3 years. Everyone has his or her opinions and had to implement their recipes for survival. With the start 2013, things are starting to look up despite the March jobs report. I see people are starting to gain confidence as well as regaining trust, faith and belief in oneself. They are starting to move to a destination again.

Of course, we are not out the swamp yet.  Bad weeks happen; mistakes occur; the regained faith is shaken by unexpected news. The pull back to dark spaces starts creeping in.  Is my life tagged #FAIL?

I had one of those weeks.  Unexpected news put me in bad place; squashed my hope a bit, and made me rethink my future plans.  Additionally, a person I am mentoring had concerns about failing. Try as I might to get them back to the right mind-set, I got the sneaking suspension that fear of failure is creating a tsunami of chaos in their mind.  So I spent the latter part of this week trying to remind myself and my mentoree that we must keep faith and must find the silver lining. We must move forward.

I started digging around in my treasure trove of “leadership flyers” (those pithy one page roadmaps to leadership enlightenment). I came across one that I previously used in mentoring, titled “10 Ways Failure Leads to Success.”  This was not originally my list and, frankly, I don’t have the source information but I will freely give credit if someone claims it.

3 of the 10 items stuck out in my mind as useful for finding a silver lining during these tough times:

    • Turnarounds.  It takes more than one iteration of change to get things right.
    • Scientific Method. Keep trying something until it doesn’t fail anymore.
    • Post Mortems (I like, Debriefs – less morbid). Figure out what went wrong and don’t do that again.

Bottom line? Things don’t go from disaster to perfect in a flash. There will be bumps in the road.  If you don’t keep driving ahead and dealing with bumps, then you will never get where you are going. The trick is to learn where the bumps are and avoid them in the future. The positive aspect of bad weeks is the opportunity to learn and improve.

Besides a week, even a bad week, will always end on weekend!