3 Essential Steps to Help You Bounce Back from Failure

Back in 2011 I was laid off from my job.

My son was just 2 years old and I was scared out of my wits. I would wake up at 2am from night sweats.

You might say I was a little stressed out.

I went to the doctor because my right arm went numb. One morning I looked in the mirror and I felt 20 years older than I was. I had a lot of trouble waking up in the morning, smiling, and just enjoying a nice meal.

The simple joys eluded me.

I was trapped by my inner negative voice which was telling me that I wasn’t good enough. Telling me that I couldn’t do work that I enjoyed, just take whatever I can get.

That’s when I had enough. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

I told my wife I was going for a bike ride. I hopped on my bike and peddled as hard as I could. I peddled until I was breathing so hard that my heart felt like it was going to explode.

I let the bike drift to a stop. I put my legs down and I took the moment to just be. Not worrying, not hating, not anything.

I asked myself, “Why is this happening to me?”

I started feeling angry. Then I asked, “Why not me?”

I smiled.

Life only gives you what you can handle. Right?

But the better we can handle our life, the happier we become.

Bounce Back From Failure By Asking Yourself Better Questions

So I thought about asking myself better questions.

Was I secretly relieved to be laid off?

I really was. It scared me, but I did not like how I was treated. Why was I upset to be laid off from  a job I no longer even liked?

Then I laughed.

I was searching for another job that I new I would hate. I procrastinated on sending out my resume instead of being excited by the process. I was setting myself up for failure.

As I began asking myself more questions, I began to understand what I truly wanted.

I wanted to do work I cared about. I decided to push forward with business coaching like I had no other option.

Whether you’ve lost a coaching client or have trouble with your website, you have to take a step back and get back to the basics.

Understanding what you want is one of the hardest parts of life. It’s a lot easier to know what you don’t want.

I was letting other people define my happiness. As I dug through my thoughts, I knew what I needed to do. I went home and implemented a 3-step process that kick-started me to doing more of the work I love.

I reached out to people who I admired and could use my help. I offered to help them with their projects, write on their blog, or basically anything they needed help with that I could do.

Most people ignored me or declined my offer, but a few did not.

By the way, Tim was one who didn’t and that moved a casual acquaintance, to a client who hired me, into a friend and now a business partner!

Not bad eh?

I was giving to them without expecting anything in return. My confidence came back and I was growing my network.

Norman Vincent Peale once said:

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”

Look at where you can create wins for yourself and people you care about using the following 3 steps:

1. Understand Your Why

No matter what situation you are in, you have choices that can add to your happiness or subtract from it.

Make a list of your top 5 best possibilities.

Then look at the why behind your choices. Beside each option, write why you would choose that option.

You’ll notice that the more why’s you ask, the closer you get to the heart of your issue.

2. Ask For Feedback From Quality People

Just like your choices, you have people who add or subtract from your happiness. Seek out the people who add to your happiness. It’s these quality people that can give you a fresh perspective on your situation.

Explain the situation to them as honestly and with as much detail as it takes for them to see the clearest picture possible. Then ask them:

“If you were in my situation, what would you do?”

My friends’ responses always delight me.

I suggest that you ask at least 3 people. Do any of their suggestions ping your heart? If so, then that’s one you should create a plan around.

If not, then you have to look back at your 5 choices and figure out which one is closest to your heart and create a plan around it.

3. Go And Help Someone

The best way to get your Life Coaching career back on track is to use your strengths to help people and causes that you are passionate about. When you help them, it will help add to your coaching career.

For example, is there a charity that you’ve been putting off helping because you’ve been so busy. This is the perfect time to set time aside and reach out to them.

If you don’t know anyone in the organization, I suggest asking around or searching on LinkedIn or Facebook to see if anyone you know could make an introduction.

Someone who recommends you is more powerful than a cold email or phone call.

This is where your plan will be important.

Offer to help them with 3 different projects that excite you. So if you have the strength of writing, then you might offer something like this…

  1. Write an article for their charity’s website site (Give 5 topic ideas)
  2. Write a press release for an upcoming event
  3. Write a small guide that explains the impact the charity has on the community

Then ask if they like any of the ideas. If they aren’t excited then ask if they could use your writing skills for a different project.

You will probably get a few rejections and a few charities that might ignore you. This is where you will have to dig a little deeper and come back to your why. Ask yourself:

  1. Who else may want my help?
  2. Why do I want to help them?

Remember that you have to work on getting your spark back.

When you find purpose in your coaching practice, like helping a charity you care about, you’ll find that you will dig a little deeper to make a connection and a chance to grow your coaching career.

You’ll also bring positive feelings back into your life which will help you take passionate action.

Let’s Review

When you understand the “why” behind your actions, it makes it easier to take action than when you are feeling disconnected and low.

Tap into your network and your high-quality friends for their feedback. The last step is to go and help someone with your strengths.

You have talents other people need. The more you can use your talents in projects for people and organizations you care about, the more you can grow your confidence.

Who knows? It could lead to a new client or a maybe new friend. I know I could always use another good client or friend in my life.

What strength do you have that you could offer a person or local charity you care about?

If you have any other suggestions on how to bounce back or just comments in general we’d love to hear from you in the comments.


  1. Hi Karl,

    Thank you for sharing this inspiring story. That must have been a very scary time for you!

    I loved your advice about bouncing back from failure – and I am so glad that your low point turned was the catalyst to finding work that you enjoy more!

    I ESPECIALLY loved your idea about reaching out to a charity. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about getting back involved in some kind of charity work. I won’t make it home this Christmas because I am around the world from my family, so I think I am going to spend the day at a retirement home with people who feel especially alone on the holiday’s.

    Wonderful article, thanks 🙂

  2. Karl Staib

    Hi Katharine! That’s a great idea. The gift of friendship is priceless. Giving back to others is a great way to lift your own spirits and connect with people that you might not have if you didn’t take that step.

    Yes, it was a scary time, but like all good challenges it only makes us stronger.

    Thanks for a great comment!

  3. Patricia

    I just set up an invite with my mentor to discuss some questions about work issues. Can’t wait to talk to her.

    • Karl Staib

      Hi Patricia! Very smart. Whenever you are looking to make changes in your career it’s always good to have someone whom you trust to help you see things from a fresh angle.

  4. Hello! What a refreshingly real site and approach you have Karl and Tim. I clicked my way here and feel better already for doing so – whew! I am launching a virtual coaching business (Feb/16) after a few years away (brick/mortar psych-therapist who happens to have a disability) from work due to a health setback – although my area of expertise is the same. I have been going starky trying to zero in my new biz/site name. Several of your posts here, in particular the one on the value of niching was a big help. My name is almost as common as Jane Doe, and taken (domain wise). I coach, speak, write (pub/author) and live basically what my clients long to learn – so that’s what I’m going with – the WIIFM is clear (if not long) living well when unwell [dot] com
    I love where you write on the site – Coaches are all about helping people get past problems and issues so they can start truly loving life (in my case I’d add …no matter what). Thank you for your insights. Susan