We all have seen setbacks. They can come in many different magnitudes. Most of the time, the setbacks only create a small ripple in our lives, like going out on a blind date that ends poorly or the food you made for the dinner party turned out inedible. Even events that at the time seem to have a huge impact, like getting rejected from a job that you really wanted, can barely be remembered a year later.

Sometimes setbacks can come out of the blue. Unexpected and unasked for. Things like accidents, someone close to you passing away or illness are out of our control for the most part, and can leave a little bit more of a mark on your character.

As we get older, a lot of the setbacks we see come from trying to resist change or results from something not turning out the way we had planned. Like it or not, life has a way or changing, with or without our consent. Change is hard enough, but forced change can be downright cruel. Just over the last year, the gym that I co-own, Climate Crossfit, had to move locations. Though expansion was wanting/needing to happen, this was forced by a much bigger company buying the building we were in, forcing us to leave. OK Ok OK. That’s alright, we wanted to grow anyways right?

That was only the beginning…..

After getting the runaround from a spot that we really liked, over the course of a couple months, we eventually decided on a different location that we ended up liking. A lot. And thankfully a good friend and great guy, who manages the property made the leasing process pretty darn quick. But that was about the last quick thing that happened.

Under construction.

Under construction.

Long story short, after around double the amount of time we thought it was going to take on permits, inspectors not showing up on time and workers… well lets just say making sure they have enough breaks…. The new spot is still unfinished.

Talk about a setback! Our business is hurting because of it. Members are getting frustrated. WE are getting frustrated! Everywhere we turn, its something else that is setting us back just a little bit more. What can we do?...... I’ll tell you what we can do, and what you can do too. Let's think about a few things that we can focus on when we have a setback, big or small.



How are we framing this setback? What is happening? Who is involved? What does this setback effect short-term and long-term? Asking these questions can help put things in perspective. Sometimes just a new or better perspective on a problem will help you either figure out a plan….. or make you realize it's not as bad as you think.


I have a problem when setbacks rise up. I tend to think I have to deal with them on my own. Not only is that silly, but that’s selfish. Your friends and family are there for a reason, and they WANT to help you out. It’s a hard pill for some people to swallow, that they actually have a support system that wants to help them. Let them. Not only will you have an outlet, but the skills and connections that your support system has, may make your setback seem pretty small.


With every setback there is a positive. They can be hard to find and present themselves in a way you might not recognize, but they are there. New opportunities, new perspectives and new passions can come out of setbacks. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, or heck, even throw that box away, to see what new fortune this can bring.

Don’t Become One-Sided

Don’t lose sight of what happened. Sure I want you to focus on the positive and not dwell on the negative, but also don’t forget what happened. Learn from it and use this moment to ensure you don’t go through it again. Didn’t get the job? Lets create a better resume and practice interviewing. Gym buildout taking WAY to long? Start focusing on how you would do it differently the next time you move or grow.

Be Honest and Open

Setbacks suck. Be honest with yourself and others. Loved ones can see what is happening and know when something is off. Tell them the truth. Vent. Ask for advice. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to do these things with yourself. Keeping things locked up and to yourself is self-destructive and harmful to yourself and your relationships. Remember that this setback does NOT show your self worth or who you are.


This I think is one of the most important ones. This will change you. Out of struggle comes change. And it’s up to you in choosing which direction it goes. We are what we decide to do with setbacks and changes. We are in control on how we deal with a situation. Will you shut down, accept failure and curl up into a ball? Or will you persevere amidst a challenging time in your life to grow. The setback could have been completely out of your control, but how you handle it is up to you. Look at the most successful people you know. Chances are they went through some pretty bad setbacks and failures.


The gym will eventually get done, and there has been setback after setback. But with every setback there is something that I can learn from. It’s been hard to find the good things that have come out of it, but the more I think about it, the more I find.

Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted.
— Christine Caine

What are your setbacks in life? Are you going through any right now? How can we help? I can tell you this, a consistent workout routine is an amazing stress reliever and escape from what may be bogging you down. Take that mental break daily. Even a workout where you are going through the motions is an improvement over no workout at all! And besides, “Exercise produces endorphins, endorphins make you happy.” Just ask Elle...

I hope that this article can help you in some sort of way deal with whatever chapter you are in life right now. Life has a funny way of making its own plans for you. I would love to hear how you have made those plans your own successes and certainly welcome any comments below.

Stay tuned for the next blog when I get back to talking about how 1% change will help you progress more than you think.


Mark Schumacher CF-L2, NSCA- CPT
Co-Owner: Climate CrossFit