Why starting over in life and business is bulls**t

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How many people do you know that are ecstatic about the New Year? 

For many, it's a symbol of having a clean slate or making a fresh start. It marks a new beginning, a chance to move on from mistakes and the bruising flops of the previous year. Others embrace the phrase, "new year, new me" to the fullest and vow to eat healthier and stay consistent with their workouts. 

They think that by leaving the past behind and not looking back, only good things are heading their way. But if you simply convince yourself that a fresh start is all you need and avoid dealing with the real issue, your “new” year won’t be any different. 

The truth is, people have become so obsessed with the idea of a do-over, but it's a practice that doesn't really do any good. Starting over again and again isn't a fix, it's an endless cycle that will keep you stuck in whatever uncomfortable, unwanted situation you're in. 

Here's some bad news for you. Until you've dealt with the problem, it's going to haunt you constantly. 

And this is true especially in running a business.

There are two types of leaders in a company you want to avoid. Passive-defensive leaders avoid blame by shifting their responsibilities to others. Aggressive-defensive leaders avoid blame by redirecting the fault to their subordinates. 

But a true leader bears the full responsibility over their actions. 

As Jocko Willink and Leif Babin said in Extreme Ownership, "[Leaders] must face the facts through a realistic, honest assessment of themselves." 

If you want to be a leader that others look up to, you have to deal with your problems and go through the fire so to speak, because a “start over” doesn’t make them magically disappear. 

Why ‘starting over’ is wrong

What's wrong about "starting over" is that you can't really "start over." Life goes on and your past will play a part in the choices you make each day. You’re setting yourself up for a dangerous future when you quit the instant you see a situation isn’t favouring you. 

You don't learn to fight when you resort to starting over, and it becomes your easy ticket out every time you face an issue. 

You may think you’re equipped to deal with it better the next time it appears because you’ve encountered it before. But I can assure you, it’s only going to get tougher the more you run away from it. You’ll pass one test, but face a second that will make you want to quit. 

It sounds like a good idea to evade the problem, but what you're doing is short-changing yourself. If you only stood your ground and learned to fight, imagine what kind of opportunities you could be walking into right now?

If you bury your head in the sand over your poor performance, it will flow on to the rest of the team. If you decide to blame everybody else in your company, you'll cause internal conflict. 

You can either drag your people down with you or nurture a team that knows how to stay committed even when things get tough. If you choose the latter, you ensure that you learn and never commit the same mistakes again. 

How to learn and improve instead of starting again 

What you do as a person will have a ripple effect on the behaviour of those around you. And if you’re a leader in a business, how you respond to issues and challenges will affect your team. 

If you insist on starting again, you won’t reach your potential as a company. So, here are ways you can learn from what you’re facing so you can position yourself to succeed. 

Practice acceptance and self-care 

Remember the first time you failed a test at school? It wasn’t the end of the world, but you had to relearn the lesson until it was drilled into you.  

Everybody fails – it’s an inseparable part of life – but not everybody learns from it and moves on quickly. 

While most people consider it the opposite of success, experienced entrepreneurs understand that failures are obstacles along the journey, the same way you can’t reach the summit of a mountain without a gruelling hike. 

The sooner you accept that failure is inevitable, the sooner you’re going to bounce back with immediate action. 

And to make sure you ace that comeback, you need to show yourself kindness and self-care. Treat yourself with compassion and balance your heavy workload with time for yourself. Do things that make you happy like travelling to new places with your loved ones or treating yourself to a good meal out over the weekend. 

When you feel recharged, you’ll go back to work with a clearer mind and better focus. 

Evaluate what went wrong

A more progressive mindset is key in situations where you know you or your business drastically underperformed. These are opportune times to look within and ask why that happened. 

Lapses in your work could be a sign that what you’re currently doing isn’t benefiting you. And though you’re faced with bad results you need to turnaround soon, being honest with yourself first will save significant energy and time. 

So, instead of moving on to your next strategy or campaign, first gather your people together and work together to identify the next best move for the business.

You can hold a focus group discussion or conduct an anonymous survey to let your team openly share their thoughts with you and can oversee brainstorming sessions to encourage new ideas. 

Build a support network targeted towards your goals 

Even if you're dealing with the problem, you're still likely to feel the burden of it on your lap. For advice or encouragement, it’s important to surround yourself with friends, family, and mentors to prevent feelings of isolation. Be bold and let them know what you need, because they’re the people who will keep you aligned with your goals and remind you of what you’re capable of accomplishing. 

You’ll probably have to make adjustments to your goals to stay on track towards your destination, but when you need to make a critical decision (or face the temptation to go in a different direction), you can consult your network for help. By sharing your progress with them, you stay accountable to what you’re trying to achieve. 

Reinvent yourself

Reinventing yourself is a more realistic perspective to dealing with problems than starting over in life. And here's why. While life doesn't stop for you, you can change the way you deal with the issues you face each day. 

By mustering up the courage to do something different, you'll rediscover your strengths as a person, as a leader, and a business owner. Quit comparing yourself to what others are doing and focus on the talent you have to succeed. 

Until you accept that there are inevitable failures coming that will push your limits, you won't learn to reinvent yourself. But the next time you do face a challenge, you'll find yourself confident enough to hurdle it. And that's because you're not the same person you were a while back.  

If you keep running away every time things aren't working in your favour, you'll be aiming for success but never coming close to achieving it. Starting over in life won't do you any good, but facing the thing that you're scared of the most will make you come out of it a better person. 


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