4 Powerful Ways to Turn a Setback Into a Comeback

4 Powerful Ways to Turn a Setback Into a Comeback

While training for an organized bike ride this last summer, I had a small little accident.  Riding too close to the curb, I caught an edge and went flying.  Luckily it wasn’t over my handlebars, but I was still thrown to the sidewalk as I got my feet out of my clips in record time. My landing smashed up my knee, strained my wrist and arm as my head did a nice face plant in a flower bed. (Thank goodness for a nice soft layer of mulch.) My husband happened to be riding along, and once I sat up and realized nothing was broken, he told me to get up and keep moving.

It wasn’t because he lacked sympathy.  He just knew from experience how time was not a kind companion to a bike crash.  Muscle fatigue, mental stamina, and loss of motivation would soon be more important than finishing.

A comeback is defined as a return to a former position. From the bruised mess on the ground, I made a courageous comeback when I got back on my bike and returned home that day.  While my brief brush with the concrete wasn’t anything life-altering, it reminded me of how we all face setbacks and have the choice on how we will respond.

A Great Comeback Story

The 2018 Olympics offered one of the greatest comeback stories in history! It happened in the Men’s 30 Kilometer Cross-country Skiathlon when Simen Hegstad Krueger, from Norway, fell on the first lap. Seconds into the race, Krueger appeared to slip as his right ski came out from under him, pulling him to the ground. With two skiers directly behind, there was no time for a course correction. To any onlooker, it appeared his hopes at an Olympic medal were dashed.

Finding himself face down in the snow with two rivals on top of him, Krueger made a critical choice in how to react. He could have easily thrown up his arms and given up. No one would have blamed him if he claimed it wasn’t his fault, admitted defeat because of a broken pole, or declared an injury from being hit in the head. Rather than give up, he chose to keep trying!

In an interview, he said:

“I had to try to keep those negative thoughts away.  I knew it was going to be extremely hard.”

He knew it would take patience to make up the lost 15 seconds and still reserve enough energy for the end of the race. Taking a fresh pole from one of the Norwegian coaches, he moved steadily through the course eventually taking the lead with 5 kilometers remaining.

The best part of his comeback was in recognizing how his negative thoughts could become his biggest competitor. By quickly removing them from his mind he was able to make up for the lost time and take the gold.


We’ve ALL been there. It may not have been in front of millions of people at the Olympics, but we have all slipped up, taken a fall, and experienced a setback. We each face a unique set of pressures and challenges which sometimes feel like a catastrophe.  Remembering to push through the negative and focus on what is possible can be difficult.  

A setback is when something appears to be keeping you from progress. It may make success seem difficult or less likely, but is not a failure. It simply means we have to be resourceful as we learn from our experience and make a comeback.  

You may have an expectation or goal, and it doesn’t go as planned. Sometimes it means going back to the beginning to figure out a new alternative. A new mindset to create a different plan.

Setbacks can be as minute as getting a migraine when you have a busy day or as impactful as falling while trying to win a gold medal. Either way, it is important to remember setbacks are only temporary.


It can be difficult to watch a friend or family members overcome challenges, even when it is not directly related to you. Learning how to handle these types of situations – making a comeback – is a powerful life skill to develop.

1. | Monitor Your Response

Frustration, anger, and fear are all common feelings associated with the challenge of a setback.  However, none of these negative reactions will help you with your next move. I’ve learned these feelings can’t be ignored, but once acknowledged I can quickly push them into the back of my mind. This allows for positive ones to take their place. Remember the little engine that could.

2. | Defeat is Temporary

You are the master of your ship, the one who decides what is temporary or permanent. Any changes in behavior, attitude, or motivation is entirely up to you. We only admit defeat when we give up.

Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.” -Marilyn Vos Savant

3.| Don’t Waste Time Blaming

When thinking of blame, I most often remember being little and getting caught in some kind of misdeed. My mom would ask why I did what I did and my response was always: “She made me do it” pointing to whoever was closest.

Guilt and shame make it natural to want to cast blame on anyone but yourself. It removes the immediate sting of messing up and provides some relief to our conscience. But blaming, making excuses, asking “WHY ME?” wastes valuable time. It reverts our focus from what matters – how to keep progressing.  Blame can become a more significant stumbling block than the actual obstacle.

4. | Remember to Ask for Help

No matter your circumstances, the Savior is always mindful of you. He understands your needs, sees your efforts, and is waiting on the sideline to hand you a fresh and unbroken pole. As you strive to remember and follow Him today, you will receive confidence, through Him, to have a better tomorrow.


Whether it is a major catastrophe or a minor setback mentally working through your feelings and refusing to give up are essential in any comeback. Exerting new effort to succeed after a brush with defeat or failure will help push you through the finish line. Most importantly, we are never lost. No matter how devastating our outlook may be there is always One who is cheering us on, and waiting to lend a hand. 

What is your comeback story?

4 Powerful Ways to Turn a Setback Into a Comeback

You can read the rest of the Kreuger story here.

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2 thoughts on “4 Powerful Ways to Turn a Setback Into a Comeback”

    1. It is a pretty amazing story, isn’t it? We do need more comeback stories! I’m always ready to publish yours when you’re ready! You are an inspiration!

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