Invenio: Coaching and Mentoring March 2016 - Page 51


by Lukas van Wyk

Positivity and negativity. Setbacks and failures. Depression and joy. Successes and achievements. These are all concepts that have different meanings to different people because they are all interpreted and experienced, emotionally and subjectively by people.

According to Google, “Positivity is a state of being positive. Positivity is expressed by those who see the good around them and who accept the world as it is.”

I agree with this definition however I am also very aware that this state of positivity is a very fragile and variable state because it can change to negativity with a blink of an eye.

I am a very positive person but my positivity changed when I experienced setbacks and failures. I experienced intense negativity. I felt that “the whole world and everyone in it, was against me”. I was caught up in my own misery and nothing could get me out of it or change what I felt. Time stood still. I wanted “the world to stop so I could get off”.

We tend to forget that “time never stand still” nor will “the world stop to allow us to get off”. Life and time continues and with it brings understanding or acceptance of the reality of the setback or failure.

It makes one to realize that there is a bigger picture that we often overlooked because we are so caught up and preoccupied with our own sorrow and therefor does not see beyond the here and now.

Steve Jobs, former Apple CEO’s wild successes were on mistakes that he recover from. He was a college drop-out. Fired executive. Unsuccessful businessman. He taught us that it is OK to fail.

Steve Jobs will always be best known for his incredible success in guiding Apple Inc. and transforming the entire consumer computer and phone industry. But he’ll also be remembered fondly as the poster child for how making mistakes — and even failing — can sometimes end up being the best thing that ever happens to you.”

The moment we start to see beyond the here and now, the feelings of negativity change and the OK part takes over. The process of healing and acceptance start. Do not confuse this feeling of acceptance with “all is well and okay”. It is not that. It is about the ability to accept the reality about the setback or the failure within the bigger picture and to then move on because there is life after it.

“Moving on” allows us to change, readjust and adapt because if we don not, we will continue to be paralyzed by the setback or failure and unable to move on.

The lesson or lessons we learn from the setback or failure will allow us to see it, or relate to, or express, or share it with more positivity and therefor allow others to learn from our experiences.

Some setbacks and failures are not easy to overcome or to accept, and sometimes we are unable to deal with them. It is then that some coaching and/or mentoring intervention will be able to assist us to deal with the setbacks and failures and move on.

The table below is an illustration of my interpretation of setbacks and failures versus successes and achievements. Setbacks and failures are normally associated and experienced with negativity, while opportunity and success are normally associated with positivity.