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Without setbacks and mistakes, no experience. Without experience, no learning.



— Robbie Vorhaus


I’ve had a rough week— I experienced several setbacks every day of this entire week. Now, for me to divulge this is highly unusual. It’s not in my vocabulary to say that I had a bad day. I truly believe that there are “bad” moments. You forgive yourself or anyone who you feel has wronged you and move on. So, when I talk about an entire week being full of difficulties — it was.


It was hard to keep my mind focused on my work. I enjoy what I do and the people I work with. I was making dumb mistakes that should have been obvious to the naked eye. I even lost it in the form of tears in front of a colleague, which I think is highly unprofessional.

Among a gazillion things and pressures at home and at work, I had my longtime friend and business mentor tell me that the doctors believe he has cancer. Cancer has touched all our lives. I lost my brother several years ago to kidney cancer.

My mentor is the man I go to for direction when I’m not sure what my next move should be. He and I have shared many meals and good times. His life is a good one. He has been a certified business mentor and helped many businesses begin or to thrive for over 17 years since his retirement, getting nothing in return.

This was one of several issues that my mind was having a difficult time processing and the mistakes I was making became setbacks in my workday and a few to my business.

Where am I going with this?

“Hiccups” are all that setbacks really are. I have read they are more like speedbumps that just slow you down a bit.

Almost 50 percent of employees say that problems in their personal lives affect their work performance at some point, according to research by Bensinger, DuPont and Associates. Their personal problems caused absenteeism and problems with concentration at work.

Get your work life back on track:

First, forgive yourself. Realize that you are human and that ALL humans make mistakes. We all know the story of Colonel Sanders and that he failed many times over but kept trying until he succeeded. It’s a fact that there are more successes and failures coming in your life.


Be mindful of the moment. Seems like “mindfulness” is the latest hot word; it means being present in the moment. Find something about the task that you’re working on to enjoy and focus on that. Push the other things that are preoccupying your thoughts aside. It they creep back, push them away again.

Take a relaxing lunch break. Make sure you get away, even for a bit from the job and focus on other things. Find a quiet place to sit with your thoughts for 15 minutes, but let the negative ones go. Take a walk and breathe deeply. Forbes.com says that taking a deliberate break and detaching from work is a mindful way to improve your concentration, facilitate greater awareness and reduce that afternoon slump.

Last, but not least, find something to be grateful for. Write a note about something positive that happened at work during the day that you are grateful for. Many studies show that when a person expresses gratitude that dopamine is released and makes you feel good.

For more information on this topic, visit https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-gratitude/.


“If a man falls, he gets up again. If a man goes the wrong way, he turns around and comes back.” — Jeremiah 8:4



Heidi Shadel is a Cumberland business owner and graduate of Frostburg State University with a master’s in business administration. She believes in small business and the power that it holds in America’s economy, especially having a passion for helping small businesses succeed within the tri-state region.

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