How to Bounce Back from a Slump

Abhi Chand
May 3, 2023

There was a comment on my last article that really hit me deep:

I feel like every attempt in my life was a failure and i hesitate that the next one [is] going to be same.”

Have you ever felt this way?

We all have.

At some point, it becomes harder and harder to “go after it”.

Not because what we’re about to do itself is hard…

…but because our past experiences haven’t been positive.

When we see that everything we’ve ever done has only amounted to a series of failures…

It’s easy to think that WE are failures.

To think that we are the problem.

Now this could be true.

In the beginning, it certainly is true.

Nobody knows what they’re doing in the beginning.

So in the beginning stages, we experience failure because of a lack of knowledge and experience.

But as time goes on, we start to expect ourselves to pull through at some point.

At some point, things should turn around, right?

And the real problem comes in when things don’t turn around.

Even after giving it a serious effort, after learning from each and every lesson, and after making an honest attempt to do something different…

…if things still don’t work.

We start to give up.

We lose hope.

And we find ourselves in a slump.

Unable to move forward.

Maybe even too scared to try again.

We all go through this phase at some point and if we’re not careful…

We can be stuck there for a really long time.

The key is to learn how to manage theses phases and learn:

How to Bounce Back from a Slump

There are 2 parts to a slump:

  1. The emotional aspect, and
  2. The practical steps

When you’re in a slump, what really happens is that you become emotionally overwhelmed and are no longer able to perform the practical actions anymore.

The experience of this is low level anxiety, a pessimistic attitude, and even depression…

…coupled with an inability to take any meaningful action forward.

In this case, what we usually do can be summed up as The Try Harder approach.

“I just need to try harder.”

We convince ourselves that if we only worked harder or longer hours or “did more”…

We would succeed.

Aka… we focus on the second part of the slump: the practical steps.

While it is true that practical steps will take us out of the slump we’re in…

…we can’t fully take practical steps forward without dealing with the emotional part of our slump first.

The Emotional Part of Being in a Slump

Look, I get it.

We’re not supposed to talk about this.

“Suck it up! Be a man! Stfu and just do it!”

It’s great advice and I drank this cool aid for years.

But guess what?

I was depressed, miserable, and a husk of a man for those years as well.

That was me in my mid-late 20s.

I don’t recommend this path.

Most people today aren’t emotionally healthy.

And last I checked, humans are emotional beings.

Think of it like this:

Every time you fail, you pick up a bowling ball.

And If you don’t put it down, you carry this bowling ball everywhere you go.

Now here’s the thing about this bowling ball:

It is an emotional weight, not a physical one.

In the beginning you don’t feel it much, and you’re able to move forward with a little bit of drag.

Then you fail again.

This time you pick up another bowling ball.

Now you’re carrying 2 of them.

Again, if you don’t put them down… you carry both of them into your next project.

Now you have even more drag that prevents you from moving at your usual speed.

Eventually, if this cycle keeps repeating, you can be carrying so much emotional weight…

…that you are unable to move forward at all!

This is the point where people give up.

Just imagine yourself carrying around 10 bowling balls.

How fast can you move forward?

How easy is it move at all?

It’s a miracle the weight hasn’t buried you.

We all know that failure is part of the process, but do you know what most people don’t know?

How to Manage Failure and Move On

This is the key to letting go of those bowling balls.

There are 3 steps:

  1. Accept Your Failure Fully
  2. Learn From Your Failure
  3. Let It Go

Let’s talk about each one of them quickly.

Step 1: Accept Your Failure Fully.

Nobody likes to fail.

But we do have to accept it.

And if we can’t accept the fact that we failed, maybe we can accept the fact:

“I can’t accept that I failed.”

It’s a little meta, I know.

This is all part of self-acceptance.

Shane made an excellent video on this topic a couple years ago here.

You can use Shane’s exercises to accept your failure.

Once you’ve done that and taken the emotional sting out of the failure, you can go on to:

Step 2: Learn From Your Failure.

One of my favorite things that I ever learned from Shane is his stance on hard times.

This is a small clip from one of our team calls where he shared this:

“Making lemonade of the lemons is an act of spite.”

It’s funny but also true.

Improving in the face of failure and hard times is the ultimate middle finger to life.

That’s how I see it anyways.

So even if life handed you a giant L…

…make sure that L spells Lesson, not Loss.

Ask yourself questions like:

  1. What did I learn from this experience?
  2. What is my biggest takeaway?
  3. What’s the one thing I will never do again?
  4. What did I do right?
  5. What do I wish I did differently?
  6. What am I going to do differently next time?

A series of questions like these will help you extract the lessons and make the proverbial lemonade.

Once you do that, the next step is:

Step 3: Let It Go.

Do what you need to do to let it go.

My personal favorite technique is to write everything out on a piece of paper, and then burn it.

It’s very cathartic.

I got this idea from the book The Breakup Manual for Men.

Yes, I was recovering from a breakup at the time and was very sad.

But his approach to writing everything out on a paper and burning it helped me get over my breakup much faster.

A breakup is also an emotionally heavy and challenging event.

Just like failure.

In many ways, it is a failure. A failure of a relationship.

I apply the same methodology to my personal and professional failures.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Write down everything that happened on a piece of paper
  2. What I was hoping to accomplish
  3. Unrealized dreams that I was going for
  4. End the letter by “I choose to let this go.”
  5. Burn the damn thing.

It feels great!

After this, you’ve let that emotional bowling ball go.

And should be feeling much lighter.

From here, you can move on to the Practical Steps to overcoming failure and bouncing back.

For that, I have 3 words for you:

Win The Day

I learned this concept from one of my favorite people of all time!

Andy Frisella — aka The MFCEO.

Here’s his original podcast where he discusses the concept of Win the Day.

I guarantee you, you’re going to love that podcast episode (and him).

Anyways, the idea is deceptively simple.

To regain control and bounce back from a setback or a slump, focus on winning the day.

You do that by giving yourself 3-5 tasks to do every day.

These tasks are things that move you forward in the different areas of life.

Your business, your health, relationships, whatever.

The point is you write theses tasks down on a piece of paper and do them throughout the day.

And if you do those tasks, you write a W on top of the page and accept the fact that you won the day.

It feels good to win!

Then you do the same thing again the next day.

If you do that over and over again, you start to develop a habit of winning.

You win 5/7 days → you win the week!

You win 3/4 weeks → you win the month!

You win 7+/12 months → you win the year!

And it all starts from Winning Today.

There’s a book on this topic called The Winner Effect that goes into the science behind winning.

The book discusses how winning begets winning.

It’s essentially the concept of momentum applied to winning every day.

The long and short of it all is this:

Focus on Winning Today.

If you win today, you get a confidence boost for going for a bigger win tomorrow.

And pretty soon, you’re back to your winning ways.

In my opinion, these two things are the best things you can do for getting out of a slump and bouncing back.

Let me know what has worked for you in the past in the comments below.



PS. What’s your biggest struggle with building your Personal Brand? I’ve been thinking about how else I can help you build your brand and your business and figured I’d just ask. Please let me know.

Abhi Chand

About the author

Abhi is super passionate about business and marketing. He loves hitting the gym and working out while also being a bit of a nerd. But the best thing he likes to do is help people win big!

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  • Karen McCamy says:

    Hi Abhi,

    Yes…incremental WINS count! I think that’s an important lesson from last week’s article!

    Something that has truly been game-changing for me is a really a “complex” of related actions:
    •Introspective writing — as you suggest, get it out on paper and out of your head… That weight is real, even if it’s “only” the weight of the emotional turmoil and “baggage!” Reminds me of something Shane said (I think it was in a “Focus & Action” lesson: we are humans, not robots! Humans have emotions! We all have to deal with them in our own way…
    •Mindset is crucial! — This is a key component to this “complex!” Truth be told, I have experience both anxiety & related depression (like a “super slump”), but the ONE single thing that has never failed in getting me OUT of that downward spiral is a change of Mindset… I learned — over the years — that what most often triggered anxiety was feeling sorry for myself: having a victim Mindset… I think it helps having others to talk to to realize **everyone goes through this!** It easy to feel we are alone in our struggles, and it helps to see these are normal dips in human emotions… as unpleasant as they are…
    •Mindfulness practice or training of some sort (not everything resonates with every person!) — A positive Morning Routine (again something I first learned about in Focus & Action) is critical and non-negotiable for me… I do my Gratitude & introspective writing as part of this! Mindfulness emphasizes writing & a gratitude practice, so that’s a natural fit…One particular mindset strategy I’ve recently “discovered” is reframing my thinking: I try to be my own best “coach” when it comes to seeing what’s blocking me!
    •Accountability — whether it’s a co-working group or another like-minded community, it’s very cathartic to be able to get others’ opinions & feedback…and especially perspective! It’s so easy to fall into that “victim mindset” trap, but helps with a **nurturing** group of like-minded people.

    These have really helped me over the last few years! It’s all a learning process!

    Hope these suggestions are helpful to others here… <3

    • Thank you for sharing Karen! Lots of great stuff here 😀 Those are all great habits and practices to make sure you’re staying on track.

      • Karen McCamy says:

        Thanks, Abhi! Always happy to share what’s worked for me.

        Just to clarify for any newer readers in this space:

        This process developed organically over time — several years! — as I learned more about my mindset at the time and how I was engaging in my own self-sabotage…

        This is to emphasize it’s not necessarily going to be an ‘overnight’ process…although it certainly <> be. Everyone is different so that’s why it’s important to do the internal work and become your own best coach… while still learning from others.

        Hope to hear from others in this space and what’s worked for them…

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