Returning to dead things prevents you from moving forward, and it might even endanger your life. Dead things are considered any past issue or relationship that is dysfunctional, no longer working, and unnecessary for you to pursue your life goals, dreams, aspirations, and plans. You do not need to bring every past issue or everyone with you where you are going. For this blog entry, I want to focus on the people we try to bring along with us where we are going.
Although it is true that we cannot bring along old issues and past friendships, people cannot seem to differentiate the individuals who come into our lives for a reason, a season, and/or a lifetime. People love trying to make seasonal acquaintances lifetime friendships. Where you are going may destroy a person because he or she has not been prepared for the destination, i.e., the vision.
You are the one who has been prepared for it, and you also value preparation. This means that bringing someone along on your journey is tantamount to encouraging that individual skip steps, especially if preparation is key and the person has decided that preparation is unnecessary.
Skipping steps always require correction because you must pass each step before you can go on to greater life planning battles. If the person you bring along with you skips, it might affect what you are trying to accomplish, set you back, and force you to endure correction before you can move forward.
A person who is not prepared for the destination will cause you to stumble, to suffer setback, and to run out of steam once you finally get to the place you have been envisioning. There is nothing worse than expending all your energy in places you are not supposed to be and to the point of burnout and not being sufficiently equipped to engage, sustain, and finish the task. We must be finishers. We must have the goal of completion in mind. Never take responsibility for a task if you do not have the capacity to finish.
The goals you have set, the plans in your heart, and the task management strategies you must adopt have their own trials, tribulations, setbacks, endurance struggles, and the need for patience. There is no sense in taking on extra problems when your goal is to solve the problems connected to fulfilling the dream and reaching the vision. In other words, you have plenty enough to do with what you already have. You do not need extra baggage, i.e., you returning to old problems when they no longer need your resolution.
For example, Touch Not! is about encouraging you not to return to old relationships that served their purpose. If you feel the need to return to something that has been closed, whether you went through the full closure process or not, this does not mean that you feel there is still something more to say. What this really means is that you do not want the relationship to end and reopening negotiations will undoubtedly reconnect the relationship.
But you do not know what spirits a person picked up when he or she was away from you. You do not know what hurts and pains the person has experienced. You do not know their bitterness narrative. You do not know where the person is feeling anger and resentment.
He or she is likely to project that anger onto you and the new relationship you want to rebuild. It is fruitless because you never address what broke you up in the first place, which makes it difficult for you to see the relationship for what it really is and to determine if you and the ex-partner both have the emotional capacity to go one more round. Sometimes you do not, and going back can mean your very life.
Another example might be obvious: returning to a substance that kept you bound for years, i.e., alcohol or drugs. It is clear that returning to drugs would be a deadly enterprise. There is nothing good that can come from reengaging that destructive relationship.
Yes, it was a relationship. You were married to alcohol. You were married to drugs. It became your lifeline. It became your friend, your confidant, and your loyal and faithful master and servant. But it also betrayed you. It lied to you. It made you believe that it could keep you forever without also harming you. Going back and touching the very thing that could kill you will undoubtedly kill you.
Touch not any door you have closed. Do not reopen closed doors. You closed them for a reason, and if someone closed a door on your behalf, then consider it a blessing!
As we are forced to experience and endure recent events that have been devastating, this is a great time to consider how significant a setback can affect one’s plans, goals, dreams, life in general, and hope for moving forward.
If recent events do not do anything else, they encourage us to redeem the time, to self-reflect, and to reassess our purpose in life.
Time is very short, and even though that reads like a cliché, it is still, nonetheless, very true.
However, you are still responsible for tending to your goals, for making your life a priority, and for ensuring that you contribute in this world. Do not let recent events overshadow your purpose and what you know you must do going forward. Pray, rest, and move forward.
While you are doing these three things, journal also your setback, especially if you have been touched in any way by recent events, the deaths of children, and the chaos of war. Consider the following writing prompt.
Provide an example of a time you were reaching towards a goal and encountered a setback.
1. What was the original goal?
2. What was the setback?
3. Did you ever complete the original goal?
4. How did you resolve the problem?
The most important aspect of overcoming a setback is to understand the original goal, whether it was intentional or optional.
You are under no obligation to complete an optional goal, but if your initial goal was to complete a certificate program for your job and you didn’t, then that is a goal you must return to because it is tied to a professional purpose.
Therefore, assess the short-term, medium-range, and long-term nature of your goals to determine how realistic and feasible they are and whether you possess the capacity and patience to complete the goal. The only way to overcome the setback is to understand the original goal.
The statement “pick up your tent” suggests the importance of recognizing and pursuing change. Although people believe that they can remain in a certain state of mind long-term, this is not always the case. Change is going to happen regardless of anyone’s propensity, inclination, and maybe predisposition to stop moving forward.
Even when you are in a place of instability and/or stagnation, your mind wanders about the possibilities of somewhere else. You still think about how to get yourself out of where you are because something inside of you knows that where you are is not the only place you could be.
You may believe that it is your only option for the moment or season, but your heart is never truly satisfied living in nothingness, guiding your everyday life walk using an unsound ideology, or allowing too many distractions to snuff out the dream that roams around in your head and heart.
It is always possible to die a failure, to die without fulfilling your purpose on this earth, and never to discover your life calling and/or assignment. You can stay in one place in your mind, heart, and spirit never reaching out for better.
Many people also do not understand that you can die a tragedy, and people who usually die a tragedy missed or failed to honor an instruction that was necessary for the next journey. Remember that people may come into our lives for a reason, a season, and/or for a lifetime. It is important to recognize who that person is, what purpose he or she will fulfill, and how best to execute whatever goal that falls under that purpose.
What happens with people, however, is that they always think they have all the time in the world to complete a life task, to pursue a dream, to use their gifts, and to fulfill a calling. All life is on a timer, a rhythm, and what you do with your time does matter.
Think about the analogy of a train or a city bus. The train has a schedule it must keep. It cannot wait for you simply because you are not feeling well and/or because you think the train should just wait for you. If the train does not meet its schedule, it runs the risk of preventing the people ahead on upcoming routes from getting to their destinations . . . on time. You must align your time with a higher time. You must align your authority with a higher authority. In other words, you must conform.
Conformity is not something people like to accept because they feel they have the right to choose whether they conform or not conform, and they feel that the time they spend not conforming should be their prerogative. Life should just wait on them. By extension, people should just wait on them.
The problem with this logic is that there are consequences for every decision and that just because you can exercise your prerogative to wait does not mean that the people around you think the same way. Some people like to be on time. Some people like to do things the right way. Some people need the predictability of stability. Some people need stable shelter, stable finances, stable logic and reasoning, and/or a stable belief system. Some people cannot live in a tent forever.
Herein lies the problem with people who think that living in the tent is more favorable than doing the work to obtain stable shelter, whether that represents as an apartment, a fixed trailer, or a house. Regardless, the dictates of the house opposes the temporary provisions of the tent.
With a tent, you do not own the land. You do not have any rights other than relocating the tent. You cannot leverage the tent as an asset. You cannot live safely in the tent and expect to be productive and successful.
Although these ideas are true, this article is not about a literal tent. The tent within this discussion is used here figuratively to highlight those areas in our thinking that reflect a tent. In other words, this article provides categories of tents we create, live in, maintain, and perpetuate throughout multiple areas of our lives.
For example, financial instability, which is the first category of discussion, is a tent we live in. We have pitched a tent in financial unsoundness with no desire to exit it into better thinking about how to manage money and finances. We expect the tent, which is temporary in nature, to serve us permanently. The way out of both a physical and metaphorical tent is to embrace the stages of change, which ends the discussion in this article.
Sustaining Financial Instability
Financial instability is one of those areas of life that we struggle to overcome because the struggle involves mastering the domain of finances. We do not often possess or think we need to master our finances. We take life as it is and hang on for dear life when we are faced with an issue.
But all life is based on finances. We may live on the bartering system during some times in our life, and this strategy may be useful for initiating, building, and sustaining relationships. However, bartering cannot last forever because people need money to engage and sustain their engagement in society. We cannot always visit our next door neighbor and ask for some sugar, or some milk, or some eggs. At some point the neighbor who keeps asking for everyday items will eventually deplete you of those same items. You need what you have just as much as the next person.
Therefore, understanding the role of finances is important, but understanding the behavior behind finances is equally important. It is not enough that you look at the role of money as being a significant factor in life more than looking at why you continue to lose money every month. Think about these questions:
Why do you not have the necessary emergency savings fund?
Why isn’t creating an emergency savings fund a requirement?
Why do we struggle to make managing our finances central to everyday living?
These are merely three questions that suggest more about thinking ahead than thinking in the present. There are some people who think ahead. For example, there were some people who were not affected by the recent financial recession or the pandemic. These people do not have to be rich.
They can be people who simply had assets that they could leverage. They have a one-year, two-year, and/or three-year savings fund. They had a thrift savings plan, investments, and/or any financial instrument that could carry them through a financial trouble. They understood the impact of financial instability and how best to create prevention measures through saving. You do not have to be rich to be financially prepared.
Therefore, if you are still struggling financially, and you have been circling the arena of financial instability, then it is time that you pick up your tent. This means that you must assess how you created the tent of financial instability, which is a type of setback, and design strategies to exit that tent, which is a type of overcoming.
For example, if you struggle to pay your credit cards every month, depending on the number of credit cards you may have, it might be best simply to work with one to three (1 to 3) credit cards than to possess five to 10. You might also need to change your thinking about the quantity of credit cards to focus on your ability to pay the full balance of each card every month.
If you can only faithfully achieve that goal with two (2) credit cards, then pay down and pay off the other cards and stick with the two. This way you will not have running and high balances, you will maintain a habit of paying the full balance of your credit cards at the end of the month, and you will be better able to assess whether dealing with any credit cards at all is feasible for the current season in your life.
In other words, if paying off credit cards at the end of the month is bothersome, then you just may not be made for credit card use. It may not be something that challenges and encourages you, and you may need to keep one (1) so you can maintain your credit score than to engage the credit card market only to feel stressed at the end of each month when the credit card bill comes due.
Not everyone is built for credit card use. Some people truly like to pay their bills at the end of the month, and they do not like to have running balances or debt of any kind. Some people like to pay strictly with cash. Some people value a mortgage loan as having good debt, and that is enough for them. Some people would rather have investments.
You have to determine what works for you, but living in the tent of financial instability will push you into the arena of asking for milk, bread, and any other food item just because you did not plan. The milk and bread turns into asking someone if you can come stay with them for awhile because you were evicted from your apartment. The milk and bread could turn into asking someone to cosign an apartment for you because you have messed up with other apartments. Lastly, the milk and bread could represent the payday or title loans you have to apply for because you do not have your rent for the next month.
These are examples of financial instability that need better resolution before you can go on to greater life battles surrounding finances. Get out of the tent of financial instability.
Ignoring instruction is not something I have consistent practice with, but it is something with which I have some familiarity. We all ignore instruction one way or the other because we do not have an understanding that instruction may come in many forms. It may come as a direct instruction, as in someone telling you what to do. It may come as a warning, as in someone telling you not to do something.
There is intuition, something we often ignore and also regret because we did not accept or receive it at the time. Then there is foresight, a kind of second eye into the future of something, understanding that it is a kind of warning we should consider. Ignoring instruction, again, comes in different forms, and we must tune our hearts and minds to discern when something is for us to recognize and heed.
All life comes by instruction. The day and time you are birthed is by instruction. Your everyday moments are by instruction. Your experiences with schooling are by instruction. The day you leave your parents’ house(s) is by instruction. All life is by instruction, and once you receive instruction, you are responsible for carrying it out. That could mean the teacher assigning math homework and telling all of you students to “show your work.”
If you do not show your work for each math moment, you may fail that assignment. If you apply this principle to your life assignment, God is the great teacher. He is the one who assigns you to a person, a place, or a people. You do not operate alone and apart from divine instruction, even if you attempt to do so and find success in some areas of your life.
Just because you can be successful in one area does not mean that you are a true success in life because if you know your assignment, your calling, and you do not embrace and/or perform it, then that means you are a failure. If you are a failure, that further means that you have been living in perpetual setback. To get out of setback, you must accept and apply instruction.
Herein lies the dilemma.
People generally do not want to work through the process of receiving instruction to get out of setback because it requires waiting and patience and some longsuffering. The most obvious thing about instruction is connected to academics. Return to the mathematics instruction example that requires you to show all your work. If you fail to do this for each assignment and/or test, and you subsequently fail the course, then that very same instruction is down the road waiting on you to pass it. In other words, whatever instructions you failed to pass in one season of your life will be waiting on you somewhere in your future.
You could decide to drop out of school and get your GED. The GED tests only require you to mark an answer and not show all your work directly on the test. That could be your reality, but when you get to a job that requires you to show your work, i.e., show the boss how you arrived at the conclusion, you cannot just quit that job because you feel the boss is challenging you. No, that’s the job. You must show your work. Showing your work demonstrates your ability and skill at problem-solving, which is the purpose of employment and/or running your own business.
Therefore, you never get away from instruction because the way in which you drive on the streets is filled with instruction. When you are stopped by the police, there is instruction. When you enter a supermarket, there are signs of instruction everywhere. You cannot ignore Aisle 1 or the cashier line. You cannot do what you want to do because you must submit to a higher authority. If you do not, then there are built-in consequences that you must address before you can go on to greater battles.
The built-in consequences may be known or unknown to you. If you find that you and all of us, in general, have done a certain thing that went against the law (instruction), then we all know what the consequences are for that action because the consequences are common and standardized enough for us to understand, self-correct, and move forward. But then there are some consequences to your actions that you will not know what they are until you experience them. This is why following instruction is important because instruction guards against those consequences.
Instruction helps to protect you and whatever you hold dear. In other words, you can keep what you have when you follow instruction, but if you disregard and dishonor instruction, you will lose what you have. It is really that simple. This means that you should guard your heart and your mind because out of the heart flows the issues of life. Your heart can lie to you, and you can lie to your heart.
You can tell yourself every day that things will change in a relationship, your finances will improve without you making any real effort to ensure that it happens, or that you can get through this life emotionally setting everyone straight, but all those things would be a lie. You must live life mentally and emotionally stable for the tasks head, or if you are not emotionally stable, you must learn strategies for how to navigate this life. Mental instability would require that you seek the professional services of a counselor. Regardless, you will need instruction to put you on and to keep you on the right path for your life.
If you struggle with instruction, and you have no desire to change your strategies or adopt a different way of working through life, then you are in an emotional, psychological, spiritual, and possibly a financial tent. The only way out of that tent is with instruction. You need a hand to pull you out, and that hand is instruction.
Maintaining aFixed Mindset
You will never be able to achieve anything with a fixed mindset, which is simply defined as the belief your talent and intelligence is fixed and cannot be developed over time. This belief shapes your decision-making, your choices in relationships and career, and your attitude towards life in general.
If you do not see your ability to change and think differently about a topic or an idea, then this will be reflected in your lack of ability to do and think differently about a topic or an idea. The fixed mindset you bear and perpetuate has great implications for your present and your future.
A person with a fixed mindset does not see a future. The person may make it to their future, but he or she did not plan enough in their past to expect a future. The person does not see beyond his or her present circumstances to envision life differently. This is a problem because how you see yourself determines who you will become.
Kids who play doctor envision themselves as becoming a doctor. They may not always have the wherewithal to know and understand what they are doing, but they are practicing in their present for what they will become in their future. They do not practice a fixed mindset. Something inside of them knows that becoming a doctor is a possibility.
It isn’t until the person grows up and someone says to him or her that becoming a doctor is an impossibility that fixed mindset enters the consciousness and is projected onto the individual. Your mind is suggesting one thing to you, but the person standing before you is saying something that opposes your sensibilities. The person is suggesting that the vision you hold in your head is not possible and should not apply to you. In other words, who are you to want to do better, be better, and reach for better? The person believes that should not be your prerogative.
But it is never a person’s right to tell you what you can and cannot become. It is your right to discover your gifts, talents, life assignment, and purpose on this earth. That means that not only must you address your own fixed mindset in certain areas, as in suggesting that this course is too hard for you to pass on your journey to becoming a doctor or this teacher is too mean, but also you must address the fixed mindset of the person suggesting that you cannot pass this course or the teacher is being too mean to you.
The person who is projecting their fixed mindset onto you is dangerous because the person is not even willing to feel encouraged by your dreams, your goals, and/or your plans. There is nothing in the person to light the metaphorical fire inside of their own belly to move forward. There is nothing in their eyes that cares enough to listen. Instead, the person is discouraged by your gift, talents, and dreams. He or she is offended that you know your gifts and talents and that you are pursuing your dreams. He or she is offended at the work required to pursue a dream and to use the talent and gifts consistently and responsibly.
The person is offended at the idea of not only believing your way out of your tent, but also doing something about it. People are capable of thinking differently and maybe following up that thinking with action. However, people struggle with the capacity of thinking differently, which means moving themselves out of a fixed mindset into a growth mindset.
A growth mindset is defined as the belief that intelligence can be developed over time. As you fail, you also believe that you can grow from failure. Failure is not the end goal. It is not the end of your life. You believe that there is more to life than one seasonal issue. However, you also believe that you must do the work to sustain the growth mindset. Otherwise, you could slip back into a fixed mindset without even knowing it.
You must address the tent of a fixed mindset because a collection of fixed mindsets over time might lead to stagnation. To be stagnant is to not move forward or advance. Living in this type of tent will keep you from moving forward into greater battles that still need your attention.
In other words, you have allowed the current battle to take up so much of your time that it has affected your insight and your view of overcoming life’s little setbacks. A setback should always be temporary. It should never be permanent. However, if you live with a fixed mindset, you arguably live, dress, and furnish a setback.
Managing Chronic Homelessness
Chronic homelessness is the last category I want to address for this blog article. It is obvious that if you are homeless, you are in a setback. The other obvious goal would be to overcome the setback. Homelessness can be temporary, as in your need for temporary shelter, or episodic, as in your experiences with bouts of homelessness, or chronic, which suggests long-term.
Everyone has had to sleep on somebody’s couch at one time or another. Some adult individuals have had to move in with their parents. I was one such adult. I had to move in with my parents during the recent financial recession because I lost my job and I couldn’t find sustainable work. I ended up doing some freelance writing to make some money and then returned to work outside of my parent’s house in 2013. I had struggles during that time due to family conflict, which led me to entering multiple homeless shelters multiple times between 2009 and 2013.
It was a hard time, but I knew I had to keep before me the goal of overcoming my current situation even before I had a clue about what overcoming setback meant. It was because of those struggles that I was able to write the books under the Favors brand, and I will continue to write more books on rebounding, setback, overcoming setback, and financial and life recovery. It is a continued writing and business goal of mine. Therefore, the keyword is “goal.” To move out of stagnancy you must create realistic goals.
Chronic homelessness is the ultimate tent. I never had to live in a tent, per se, but I did sleep outside at one point in my homeless journey. Regardless, the best way to understand chronic homelessness is to arguably connect it to a psychology concept called “learned helplessness,” which is defined as the behavior you exhibit after enduring repeated aversive stimuli beyond your control.
For example, if you repeatedly experience a stressful situation, and you feel you are unable to control or change the situation, then you are likely to give up on resolving that issue. Learned helplessness leads to avoiding challenges and failing to execute problem-solving strategies. Learned helplessness leads to a fixed mindset. Here is a quick video that is part of a larger social psychology series I conducted and is still ongoing. It is briefly on the concept of learned homelessness. Feel free to research the concept further for more information.
Symptoms of learned helplessness include low self-esteem, passivity, frustration, lack of effort, and giving up. According to the psychology research, it is a serious psychiatric condition that requires cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Discussion of CBT is beyond the scope of this article and may be explored in a future article. It is important, however, to note that CBT addresses depression and anxiety in the person struggling with learned helplessness.
This means that encouraging an individual to address their anxiety might help him or her to focus on developing their abilities and not on the feelings engendered from working the abilities. In other words, work the ability in the moment, even if you feel like procrastinating, instead of focusing on the anxiety you feel that leads to procrastinating.
Every task you undertake has a component that makes you feel anxious and that makes you feel inadequate about completing the task, but focusing on those feelings only prolongs task completion. Many have used the phrase “do it afraid” because there still must be someone to complete the task. If you are the person divinely developed to complete it, it is better that you work on your courage to get the job done.
The opposite of learned helplessness, thus, is “self-efficacy,” the belief in one’s innate ability to achieve one’s goals. Everything you do and who you are begins with your belief in you, yourself, and what you can accomplish.
Address your tent of chronic homelessness, if this applies to you. Definitely address your tent of learned helplessness because it is something that we may all struggle with or have struggled with before, maybe not to an extreme, but we have said to ourselves about a difficult task, “I can’t do this,” and we even said this without fully trying. Many more “I can’t do this,” and you have a collection of averted tasks that will turn into stagnation and further develop in you a state of learned helplessness. While you are picking up the tent of chronic homelessness, pick up the tent of learned helplessness too.
Envisioning change will require that you understand change is possible. To pick up your tent is to say you want change and that you are willing to endure the stages of change as explored in this last section. Change begins with you, your mind, your body, your heart, your spirit, and your finances. Because finances permeate every aspect of our lives, it will be necessary to have some clue about how to use your finances to move yourself out of setback and into a level of life recovery.
The first step towards change begins with the first step towards change. Think about this idea as you review the stages of change. The definitions are summarized but subject to Fair Use; the tips in bold and content that follows are added to point you in a direction. You can access the source information here.
Stage #1: Precontemplation
Precontemplation is the first stage of change. It is defined based on the intent of the person who does not pursue change. The person is unaware of their problematic behavior and emphasizes the cons of changing behavior.
Be mindful of changing problematic behavior. Look at the pros of change. Living in your tent is not a pro of change. It is a con, and once you understand that it is embracing abnormal behavior, this will help you to begin the precontemplation process.
Stage #2: Contemplation
Contemplation is the second stage of change. People recognize their problematic behavior and give more thoughtful consideration to change. They weigh the pros and cons, placing emphasis on both. However, they are ambivalent towards change.
Work on your mixed feelings about change. Assess the contradictions you feel. Think about the contradictions you feel about living in your tent and how it has had an impact on your life. Think about the time you have spent living in your tent and how it has affected your overall mood and temperament. At some point, you have to turn that ambivalence into a focus towards change.
Stage #3: Preparation
Preparation is the third stage of change. People are ready to take action within the next 30 days. They start taking small steps toward changing the behavior. They believe that change contributes to a healthy life.
The action you take must be realistic. Do not overwhelm yourself with the steps you need to take. Just take it step by step. When you envision change, it can be overwhelming because you realize just how much you have to overcome and do. The most important thing you have to consider is the first step that is needed to get you out of the tent. Remember that instruction is that extended hand needed to usher you out of the tent. The instruction you receive is the instruction you need to take the first step.
Stage #4: Action
Action is the fourth stage of change. There is recent change in the person’s behavior (within the last six months). There is intent to keep moving forward with the behavior change. People are willing to modify their problem behavior and acquire new healthy behaviors.
Modification is not a bad thing. A picture of action is to walk out of the tent and leave it behind. You must envision yourself walking and continually walking until you have separated yourself from your tent. The more and longer you walk forward, your tent should not be in view, and you should make it a habit not to always look backward because it can affect how you see the world before you. There are people who live in the present and prepare for the future. Therefore, envision yourself doing the same.
Stage #5: Maintenance
Maintenance is the fifth stage of change. People have been able to sustain their behavior change for more than six months. Going forward, they intend to maintain the behavior change. They take steps to prevent relapse.
Relapse is always possible. Guarding your mind and heart during change is key to ensuring you do not relapse. Think of anything you believe as important to maintain. When you live in your tent, you maintain the area, you keep things clean, and you limit who can come into your tent. Well, when you leave the tent, use the same three strategies. This will help you maintain boundaries, set realistic expectations, and continue to sustain living outside of the tent that is no longer “your tent.”
Stage #6: Termination
Termination is the sixth stage of change. People do not have a desire to return to the problematic behavior. They do not plan for relapse. However, keep in mind that termination is rarely reached and is often not considered in health promotion programs.
Termination is still possible. No problematic behavior should keep you bound. If you have struggled with chronic homelessness and/or financial instability the greater part of your life, you must understand that it is a problematic behavior that needs an expiration date.
The alternative would be you die in your tent, you die in your setback, you die in your literal tent, you die financially broke and broken, and you die without instruction out of your tent. It is time to terminate living in tents to embrace new understanding, new knowledge, and new wisdom.
Thank you for reading.
Regina Y. Favors, Owner/Operator
Regina Y. Favors Website
The vision of the site is to be the preferred online curriculum you need for life recovery.
The following links are commercially based. For more information on scholarly materials on these topics, visit your local research librarian for direction on reading the appropriate resource. Scholarly materials may be available for free or accessible online for a fee.
Changing you requires that you understand you are worthy of change and that what you need to change about yourself will take a process.
You will not be able to simply wake up and be different. You must actively pursue change, and this requires that you begin a process of self-reflection of areas that need immediate, short-term, and long-term attention.
For example, if you struggle with financial instability, it is likely because you have missed some instruction about managing finances. That instruction is typically connected to saving and creating an emergency savings plan. We never think we are going to have a downturn in life. We always assume that life will continue, even if we live paycheck to paycheck. Regardless, financial instability is something that needs to be addressed and the behavior behind sustaining financial instability needs direct change.
If you struggle with emotional regulation, i.e., you blow up when you are triggered, then this is definitely problematic behavior that could lead to devastating consequences, which might include job loss or perpetual criminal behavior. You cannot live in toddlerhood forever. That’s what struggles with emotional regulation reveal in adulthood. Change begins when you realize that the behavior is not sustainable long-term.
Given the necessity for change and its impact in multiple areas of your life, how important is it for you to begin your process towards living an emotionally and/or financially stable life? No one should have to walk on eggshells in their own life because of a struggle with a problematic behavior that is hindering their growth.
If you look at life as growth potential, with a growth mindset, then you will realize that change is both inevitable and necessary. Move out of any emotional, mental, and psychological stronghold that has been keeping you down so you can better embrace what is ahead. Change always requires that you move forward.
Closure is one of those processes that people do not like to start, let alone endure to the end. It is hard to let go of something for which you have made an investment. It is hard to let go of a relationship that gave you some comfort as well as pain but allowed you to grow and learn and move forward emotionally only for you to decide its eventual conclusion.
People do not enter relationships or start something just to close it out. It seems unnatural to do so, but this life, however, is about starting and closing, or ending. We begin life, we endure life, and we end life. That is one thing we cannot change: we are all going to die. Of course, informing you that you will die one day is not the purpose of this post.
No, the true purpose of this discussion is to encourage you to close out relationships of all kinds that are no longer productive. Close out relationships that are hindering you on your way. Close out relationships with people that keep you in setback. Close out relationships with people who cannot go where you are going because they do not have the capacity to take what you can take. They have not prepared in the same way.
Close out relationships with yourself where you have embraced chaos, dysfunction, lack of productivity, laziness, procrastination, and failure. At some point in your development, you have to succeed. Failure cannot be your identity. It cannot be the end all, be all of you and who you are and what you desire to become. You must embrace the opposite of failure and begin to envision overcoming failure for yourself as a major demand you put on your life.
This means that you need to mentor you concerning you. If you have gotten off the narrow path and embraced the broad path, as in supporting the statements, “There are many ways to get this done. I don’t have to do everything right now” or “I have all the time in the world to get this done,” you should reconsider these statements as opposing any goal you set, especially when the goal is feasible and realistic.
If you believe that you have all the time in the world to go after your dream, then you are deluding yourself into believing that time is on your side. There is no such thing as having all the time in the world.
You can run out of time!
You can create situations in your life that precipitate your death. You can die before your time. If you understand that assumption as a possibility, you will realize the importance of closing out relationships that no longer serve you in a positive way or do not have significance for you and where you want to take yourself.
You create the hindrances and distractions in your life. Sure, people make all types of contributions to your life that are both positive and negative. Some of those contributions are unexpected, and it takes some time for you to regroup.
However, if you find yourself entertaining the same types of distractions and letting you and the people around you hinder you on your journey, then you must reassess your own belief system about distractions and their necessity. People consciously place roadblocks in front of themselves. It’s called procrastination. When you mentor yourself, think about the ways in which you hinder you.
As you move forward and consider closure, you will need to close out your tendency to give into procrastination, hindrances, distractions, your beliefs about time, and your understanding about death.
There is no recovery after death.
There is no second chance once you have left this earth. This means that you can no longer make a direct contribution with your mind and your physical person. You can always leave a legacy, but it is important that you fulfill your part of the assignment. When it comes time to pass the baton, then you pass the baton.
Mentor you on the importance of closing out relationships, distractions, hindrances, endless opportunities, lessons, successes, failures, and seasons. Learn what you need to learn when you need to learn it, and then move forward!
Recovery begins with addressing your broken thinking. It is Stage Five in my Overcoming Setback Series housed on the website referenced below this post.
Broken thinking is reflected in your ideas, belief systems, behaviors, and ways of thinking about the world. If you believe the world is flawed, then you would not be the only person who had that thought. However, if you believe the world cannot change because of its flaws, then there should be some challenge to your belief system. This means that you do not believe you can change or that you are incapable of change.
There is this general consensus that people cannot change. In some ways I believe the status quo, but this only means that people cannot fathom change as a conscientious and sustainable undertaking. You must be consciously and conscientiously pursuing change, which includes changing your understanding about an issue, a problem, and the road to solutions.
Every problem has a solution. If a person has not changed, it is because the person does not desire the solution to the problem. The person has rejected either an obvious solution or a solution that takes time to develop. Regardless, every problem has a solution, and change begins when you understand the role of solutions.
For example, there are solutions to the problems inherent in marriage, even if you desire to exit a marriage using cheating as a strategy. This means that it is not always the marriage that is the problem. It is your attitude about the marriage. That is the root. You believe that exit is an option, and you will use whatever method afforded you or one you create to make that exit happen.
An alternative strategy would be just to explore the emotional issues you have with marriage, with yourself, and with your partner. There is something going on emotionally with the marriage that is disregarding the logic of the issue. The purpose must be supersede emotions.
The purpose of marriage is not to get married and have someone take care of you, have sex, and split all the bills. The purpose of marriage is to become one, act as one, make decisions as one, and continue to grow as one. When you stop being unified as one, then you have the process of dissolving the marriage, which requires you to transition into two. But if you transition into two, you were already of that mindset from the beginning. That is a problem that needs a solution.
If you fail a course or a test, you don’t say, “I can’t complete this course. It’s too hard. Therefore, I’m not going to retake it.” No, you learn how to study differently, take notes, get tutoring, and practice as much as you can until you pass the tests, the assignments, and then eventually the course. You cannot graduate or move forward to the next course if you do not pass the current course.
Otherwise, if you remain in that failure, then you remain in setback, and the only way out of setback is through instruction. Someone or something (i.e., book) has to come along and extend a hand for you to work through setback. You can pass the course.
Recovery, thus, is not optional, or it should not be optional. It is necessary if you desire to do anything beyond your setback, beyond your broken thinking. The goal of analysis in English and composition courses is to separate the content into parts and then address and analyze each part.
Therefore, if there is any area of your life, i.e., the totality of the assignment, that you need to address, take your life, break it down into parts (i.e., emotions, mentality, finances, spirituality, faith) and analyze each part.
The best way to begin the process of addressing broken thinking is to consider one aspect of your life and conduct a SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Although SWOT is specific to business, I believe it can be useful as a life recovery objective. Consider these questions:
What are my strengths?
What are my weaknesses?
What are my opportunities?
What are my threats?
Take a category and add it to the questions as in, “What are my financial strengths?” Then take it from there by providing answers.
There is no such thing as an unsolved problem. There is only the lack of patience towards solving the problem. There is also the lack of follow through to get to the root and answer of the problem. Recover from your broken thinking about problem-solving because your very life depends on it.
I cannot stress enough the importance of gathering your mind, body, soul, and all your senses together when you have suffered through a toxic relationship. When you have been in an abusive situation of any kind, you lose a little part of yourself daily, and depending on how long you have stayed in that relationship, you might lose even a greater part of yourself until it is difficult to recover.
One thing I know about toxic relationships is that they affect your finances. You not only invest time, mind, body, and soul, but also you invest your money. Wherever your money goes, your heart follows. You will stay in a relationship and use money as a determining factor even when the relationship has hit a brick wall.
You keep pouring money and more money until you find yourself broke, busted, and disgusted. I think if we had a really sound understanding about money and finances and the way in which it flows we would not be quick to give it away so carelessly, even for love. We would be more responsible with something of value. In fact, your heart and mind are even more valuable than money. Yet, you spend with both like you have no other choices to navigate.
Reconnecting you will take some time, especially if your last relationship burned you out emotionally. Any failed relationship leaves you pondering why you did not get out sooner. All that matters is that you are out now!
The life recovery goal then becomes about assessing your decision-making, assessing your romance choices, assessing how you will get back into financial shape, and assessing what peace looks like for you. Do you need to be in a relationship during this season in life? Only you can answer that question.
Regardless, the question still needs to be answered. If you are financially unsound, then relationship-making is not the answer. You’re only going to bring in old, financially unproductive ideas into a new context, which will undoubtedly affect the relationship you have with your new partner, especially if that person is great with his or her money.
No, if you are financially ill, meaning that your debt outweighs your income or you are suffering below the poverty level because of current circumstances, then the life recovery goal would be to become financially well. Pursue it before you pursue a romantic relationship.
Therefore, gather yourself and your senses to set a realistic goal regarding any area of your life that needs repair and recovery. Stay on that goal until you reach completion. Reconnecting yourself essentially means that you need to return to the essence that was you before you got involved in toxic relationships, which might have subsequently affected your finances.
You cannot fully navigate this life in a broken state, with a broken mentality, and with a broken ideology. You must reconnect to something that is greater than you, so that it can mentor you and move you forward into greater progress. This will allow you to get back on track and design even greater, realistic goals.
Most if not all your problems begin with you and your own contribution to your lifespan. Sure, we have issues with childhood and we are often wounded from childhood circumstances. There are a lot of issues we would love to address with our parents, siblings, and everybody else connected to us during our childhood, but we cannot. We cannot go back and uproot some of those issues from the past, but we can address how they might have become weeds in our present, especially if we are planning for a productive future.
This means that you must take you and place you on the table for examination. What are your mistakes, failures, mishaps, and assumptions? Where did you go wrong? How did you get off the path you were on? With whom do you need to set boundaries? Why are you still running on the same hamster’s wheel you’ve been running on since you started your goals and your dream planning? These are questions that need examination.
Taking inventory of your successes is just as important because when we are successful, we tend to want to stay in that success, perpetually, as if we believe we are not able to be successful again. If you find yourself lingering too long basking in your greatness, your successes, and your achievements, you will find that this is just another type of procrastination where you live in something you did great instead of moving yourself forward to greater things.
Overcoming you takes time. It begins with understanding that you are 100% responsible for you, your choices, your activities, and the contributions you make to other people’s lives. You can be too hasty in going after a dream. You could be too slow or lazy in going after a dream. You can be too hasty in beginning relationships of any kind. The opposite is also true. Regardless, it is up to you to determine what, where, why, when, how, and in what ways you need to overcome you.
You have no true competitors. The only competitor is you. This means also that you can be your own worst enemy. Overcome you into a better understanding about how life should really work for you and your dreams and also how you should not hinder someone else along their way.
I am always skeptical of people, especially leaders, who do not disclose a mentoring hand in their lives, whether academically, professionally, or personally. Mentors matter, and it is important that you get the guidance and direction you need throughout your journey.
A parent can mentor you in some areas, but their goal is largely to parent you in all your childhood, teenager, and young adulthood glory, but it is the mentor who teaches you strategies for how to navigate your life outside of the immediate home environment and nurturing.
Not to take away from the role of the parent, the mentor is central for any individual with vision. The mentor discerns and closes any gaps in your knowledge base, recognition of talent, application of skill set, and lack of consistency in perseverance.
The mentor is key to establishing, processing, and accomplishing a vision.
Restoration requires mentorship, and mentorship is predicated on learning from someone who has walked out the process. To restore is to return something to a former place or condition, to return something to a former owner. It also means to reinstate a previous practice, right, or custom. The problem with the missed opportunity is that before it became a missed opportunity, you were going down the right path. Before you can accomplish any dream or vision, you must be restored to the right path on which that vision is to be advanced.
Keep in mind that the goal of mentoring is to learn from someone who has already walked out the processes. We are not inventing the wheel, even though we delude ourselves into believing that we are. Someone has already experienced what you are now experiencing and can offer guidance on how to navigate problem-solving, which is at the heart of restoration and learning through mentoring.
During my college days, I had a mentor for both undergraduate and graduate levels. My English professor mentored me not only in English as I prepared unknowingly at the time to become a teacher, but also mentored me in how to study and learn and how to apply knowledge in different ways. I never struggled with learning, per se. Instead, I struggled with consistency in learning, i.e., adopting a passion for the subject. It was much better to learn enough to know it and pass the test than to learn the material for learning sake.
Much of how we learn in a standardized training and testing environment is based on “teaching to the test.” I rarely remember completing homework because we did what we needed to do in class. There was no expectation to think critically . . . at home about what we were learning. Even my college students arrived at the same conclusion when they were often confused about the role of homework. They, too, said that they didn’t remember completing homework, which is interesting given the importance of thinking through the learning processes.
My mentor, Professor William N. Rogers, II of San Diego State University, caught me up in my understanding about thinking critically, analyzing ideas, and creating a synthesized response through the medium of writing. This didn’t happen overnight, however. This same mentor recognized my grandiose ideas through writing, my ability to have the ideas but struggle to prove them fully and completely, and my eager but hasty tenacity.
With the words “work in progress,” my mentor stopped me emotionally, psychologically, and academically in my tracks. Somehow, I wasn’t offended by those words. There was something in me that understood before I could even make the connections needed. Regardless, those words were necessary for me to slow down and take in the learning processes I needed to move forward.
Professor Rogers mentored me through my two years as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, letting me just be in the moment of learning, researching, and writing. He mentored me as his English student, still fine-tuning my thinking about writing in English. He mentored me during my graduate studies, becoming also my thesis chair. His mentoring role allowed me to stretch academically as a student and future professional. He was also a great editor. By the time we got to the mentoring process at the graduate level, he had mentored me on the importance of tightening the language, focusing ideas, analyzing appropriately, and creating a polished piece of work that might have some publishable qualities.
There were some missed opportunities during this mentoring process. I was all over the place. I was serving in student government. I let it get in the way of my learning process. I entertained the problems of too many friends. I struggled with procrastination, which led to me being forced to address my faults, my belief systems, and my plans to move out of embracing setback. I wouldn’t have called it setback at the time, but engaging and sustaining procrastination is a form of setback. I am always one to point out the obvious through self-reflection. I can see it clearly now!
Even though I received valuable lessons through my mentor, there are some times that I wish I had been more cognizant of his role so that I could fully take in what he was offering. It is a hard thing to recognize the value of someone when the person is no longer serving you as a mentor. He wasn’t a reluctant mentor. He was just surprised that I had asked him to be a mentor.
Coming to the British Literature class one day and asking him to be a mentor took him by surprise, but he embraced it. He was happy for my progress with him, and he let his own knowledge, expertise, skills, and overall talent speak through him. He wasn’t biased in his thinking towards me. He didn’t assume that I couldn’t learn. There was no predetermined thinking in his mind about my learning abilities. Instead, he worked from his own learning processes and mentored. He operated in his abilities and taught me the right way to think critically about literature, write with more conscientiousness, and adopt a lifelong learning orientation.
Because of my mentor’s treatment towards me and the expectations he placed on me to be the best, to care about learning, to teach because teaching is necessary and not based on bias towards a student, and to carry myself well in the profession because I am an extension of his instruction, I became the kind of teacher who cares about her students, about their learning capacity, and about their well-being. He cared, and I care.
Through mentoring, Professor Rogers restored me, my understanding about learning, my understanding about the role of a teacher, given my previous experiences. He restored my consciousness about developing my writing abilities. He restored my need to set academic, professional, and personal boundaries. Mentoring had its challenges, but it wasn’t a difficult process because I was open to learning and knowing something different from what I had been experiencing up to his guidance.
What I Learned
Mentors Catch You Up
Upon reflection, especially in becoming a teacher and mentoring my own composition students, what I learned throughout the process was that mentors catch you up. There is something lacking in your understanding that may be based on an incomplete belief about what it takes to accomplish your goal, your dream, and/or any other thing that falls under planning and execution.
We all have gaps in our thinking, but it is important to learn before we develop the necessary plans to apply knowledge and execute strategy. The mentor is a task master, and the video below briefly explores this concept. The ideas expressed are based on my own personal experiences.
The mentor knows how to challenge you to get the best out of you.
The mentor will till the soil called “you” to discern some of the seeds that have been planted in you and uproot weeds that are hindering your growth. You cannot grow consistently if you are still engaging distractions, straddling the fence concerning your belief systems, and making decisions that are not conducive for success. You must set yourself up for success. This takes planning and great execution.
However, you must also design strategies to maintain that success. It doesn’t make sense to succeed and spite yourself. You have every right to believe in yourself and see that belief all the way to the end of your journey, whatever that looks like.
Mentors Can BeTricky
You have to be careful who you choose as a mentor because you are essentially choosing someone to restore your understanding, to return you to a better state of mind concerning an issue or a problem you had. If you thought it was okay to drive drunk, for example, especially given the social programming and advocacy work concerning this issue, then you need a mentor to help guide you to a better state of mind. That better state of mind is essentially that you should not drive drunk. It is both socially and legally unacceptable. That is the understanding you need to come to for the society in which you live and contribute.
If that person does not care enough to restore you, then that person does not equally care enough to mentor you. If the person says, “There is nothing wrong with driving drunk,” then that person is suggesting to you to ignore the law. That might work for you temporarily, but it cannot work long-term. In other words, if the person does not have the passion to mentor, i.e., to help you see where you have gone wrong and steer you back on the right track, then the person will hinder your progress. You will forever take the position that driving drunk, although illegal, is acceptable for you.
This means that even when someone is clearly supposed to operate in a certain understanding and there is the expectation that he or she must carry out instruction, for example, and the person doesn’t, restoration is not possible. Restoration is thwarted. I have an example of this. I use it in most of my video lessons.
I had a ninth-grade Spanish teacher who told us to look at the back of the book for the answers. He never taught Spanish. He never wrote Spanish words on the board. He came in every school day, sat at his desk in front of the class, and said nothing other than to get the books out of the locker, do the problems in a chapter, and look at the back of the book. He had no passion for the work of teaching, nor did he have passion for the subject matter of Spanish. As I note in the following video, this left a bad taste in my mouth for Spanish.
It wasn’t until I got to college and took a required Spanish course that my understanding about learning the subject was restored. The teacher cared enough to speak and teach Spanish and we were expected to participate . . . in Spanish. The teacher mentored us in how to learn, and he restored my understanding about the role of a Spanish teacher.
Although true, the experience in ninth grade was something that stayed with me and contributed to me being skeptical of teachers who do not teach. However, the role the college teacher played in my development restored me to a better state of mind that even though the Spanish teacher did not teach, I am still responsible for my learning.
Tip #1: Quit Accepting Hitchhikers
One of the most useful tips to guard against getting off track is based on the notion of engaging and facilitating distractions. I call distractions hitchhikers. Of course, these are people who hang their thumbs and hitch a ride on the interstate. That is our common notion of hitchhiking and hitchhikers.
However, you can still have hitchhikers in your everyday life. These are people who refuse to make a way for themselves and will instead use the way and path you are on to make like work for them. They will not do the work. They will use your work ethic along with your finances to their advantage. They plan their lives based on the plans you execute for yourself.
We attract hitchhikers based on how we see ourselves. Our choices fall under that popular notion that we choose who we are. We also choose what we are. Therefore, restoration will require that you think about who you are as a person and what you want to accomplish. This means assessing your capacity, capability, and conscientiousness. If you vacillate between belief systems, and you believe this is a necessary evil for living your life, then it would be difficult for a mentor to come along and restore you to a better understanding.
Tip #2: Conduct a Gap Assessment
A gap assessment is simply defined as the difference between “what is” and “what should be.” You cannot simply rely on the mentor to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to restoring you to a better understanding. You are still required to participate in your restoration.
Use mentoring as a guide and for direction, but the gap assessment must be something that you conduct to gain a better sense of who you are, what you want to accomplish, and how best to get back on track so that you can accomplish your goals.
Without a gap assessment, it would be difficult to determine where you need to improve. Conducting a gap assessment is essentially about task management. When you get off track with managing your tasks, you are more likely to accomplish goals, but they may not be the goals you originally set for yourself.
Many people have started on one path and for some reason they decided to get off that path and get onto another. People chase success and not process. They are more willing to skip to get the prize than they are willing to endure the natural setbacks that come with process, refrain from pursuing immediate gratification, and get the reward at the end. The reward at the end will last longer and with it comes learning. This means that you get to keep the reward when you learn about it. Pursuit of restoration will always require that you self-mentor too.
Tip #3: Always Read Your Book
It is important that you read your own book. Never put a book you haven’t finished reading back on the shelf! Seeing a goal to its full development and completing that goal work hand in hand. Do not be a starter and never a finisher. Prepare to finish the goal.
We often get off track when we try to tend to other people’s goals and not our own. If we are preoccupied with our book, i.e., our own lives and concerns, we can accomplish what is literally on our path. This will allow us to mentor others who need the same understanding.
Restoration requires mentorship. You cannot overcome a setback without guidance and direction. As one of the videos suggests, mentoring can come from a person, and it can come from a book. The most important book, however, is yourself.
You should be able to read yourself, your life, your hopes and dreams, and your plans like a book. You should know yourself or begin the process of learning about you. You are your best teacher, mentor, and restorer.
Use the mentoring guidance of someone who has already walked out the steps and mistakes to usher in restoration.
Thank you for reading.
Regina Y. Favors, Owner/Operator
The Regina Y. Favors Website
The vision of the Regina Y. Favors website is to be the preferred online curriculum you need for life recovery.
Overcoming Setback Series
The topic of restoration is explored in the Overcoming Setback Series. You can find the curriculum on the website and on the Regina Y. Favors YouTube channel. The video is below.
I was watching a CNN interview where Christine Brennan, who is a Sports Columnist for CNN and USA Today, was discussing Tiger Woods’s comebacks, and it got me thinking about how many times we all make comebacks or at least survive until the next moment and call it a comeback.
I have a problem with the notion that we can have many comebacks because as Brennan posits in the article as a question, she says, “How many comebacks can one man have?” Brennan put forth the question that has me thinking more about the Overcoming Setback Series I created, which you can view on this site by clicking the appropriate tab.
I do not have a problem with Tiger Woods’s comebacks or the man, himself, but what I do have a problem with is this notion that we keep engaging in poor decision-making and related hasty decisions, surviving the consequences, and then breathing another sigh of relief when we have felt like we have gotten through it.
It is euphoric. We still call it surviving rather than overcoming, but “we got through it.” We live in the sigh and the exhale and the movements of the mouth and flapping of the arms. We rest our heads back and let out the sounds of relief. Then we engage again in chaos just so we can experience the sigh. This sounds like addiction to me.
Although the sigh signals that we have survived the situation, how many more comebacks can one person have and still be functional? We can always come back from pain, hurt, abuse, and any other issue that has plagued our very existence, but the more time we put into engaging chaos, managing emotions, and recovering from physical ailments will have a significant impact on anything we are trying to do in our lives. Tiger Woods’s golf game is significant. He has made a great contribution to the sports profession. However, it all catches up to us in the end.
The mental energy we spent in a toxic relationship affects us later when we desire to engage a true relationship and give it more time, i.e., “give it all we got.” We don’t have both the mental and physical energy. It is the person who continues to cheat in multiple relationships, including marriage, and who then decides, “I want to live a stable life,” who subsequently struggles to maintain that argument.
You have worn your body down. You have worn your mind down. You have worn out your finances. You have suffered burnout in some area of your life and maybe resolved that issue. Then you engaged again in chaos and self-destruction, expecting to come back yet again. This means that you have developed the habit of come back and not overcoming an issue. I used the following as a quote in a previous post, and I will use it here again:
To overcome is to make no more room for that same issue that keeps pulling at your heels.
Regina Y. Favors
We truly need to get out of the habit of surviving and move into overcoming areas of our lives that keep us tangled, burned out, devastated, broken down emotionally, and financially destructive. To come back is to sustain just another type of surviving or survival. We are expert at being survivors, but we are incompetent when it comes to staying out of that same trouble. We claim ignorance with a badge of honor and make it part of our identities. “I didn’t know” is not a statement that you can make perpetually because your life cannot take too many more hits.
As I contemplate Tiger Wood’s next-level comeback, i.e., the one in which he just survived another car wreck, wrecking his SUV and shattering his leg on February 23, 2021, I think about Brennan’s words and whether they have any resonance and/or relevance to our own personal decision-making. Tiger Woods notes that he thinks he can win the tournament but walking the hills is a challenge (Brennan). The multiple professional setbacks and personal scandals he has experienced, and you can research those incidents, have contributed to the physical struggle to make this next comeback.
The question remains, “How many more comebacks can this man have?”
Tiger Woods can win this tournament, and he will struggle to make the hills. If he wins, he will have the ultimate comeback. However, we should not take his struggles with setback and comeback as a guide for how we should conduct our lives. There are some setbacks from which you may never recover. Some setbacks can turn into a tragedy. Some setbacks affect you down the road. Some setbacks might inevitably force you to sit this one out. This is not the case with Tiger Woods presently, but it is a case we need to consider moving forward.
We need to stop the comebacks!
This sounds counterintuitive, but what I mean is that the learning opportunity is already there. We don’t need to keep failing at something to learn. Sure, many people have failed tests only to pass on that 10th or 16th chance and make it! But inherent in any test is the need to study or train for that test. If you are really having to fail and pass a test on the 16th round, then that means you have not given the preparation for that test priority. You assume that whatever gifts or talents you have will suffice and there is no need to do anything beyond showing up for the test. You are missing the opportunity for development.
It is the person who gets into the car drunk aware of historical incidents and statistics and clear in understanding about how one’s actions affect another. We can all sleepwalk emotionally. We all have trauma of some kind. Sometimes you do not “wake up” emotionally and psychologically and sometimes mentally until something wakes you up. But at what point are you going to truly heal?
The first ticket for a DUI or DWI wasn’t enough for the person to say, “I need to get better. I need to do better. I need to heal.” It takes multiple tickets to understand this? It takes a crash to understand this truth? It takes one or two arrests to get it? The opportunity is always present to learn. Instead, we skip, jump over learning opportunities, and breathe, yet, another sigh of relief when we make it out of that problem.
Tiger Woods got out of a marriage and didn’t heal. He experienced a car wreck, and he didn’t heal. He got into another relationship, and he didn’t heal. Now he is entering another competition not fully healed. How many more comebacks can he have until healing is no longer an opportunity?
These are questions I am considering when thinking about our addiction to comeback, which I believe is just another form of surviving. It is much more convenient for all of us to survive than to overcome because if we overcome something, we would have to let it go for good! We love having the option to pull at that thing or issue again because we call it opportunity.
But a setback is a setup for a major comeback should be challenged as an argument if we continue to rely on multiple comebacks to sustain our existence and identities.
Thank you for reading.
Regina Y. Favors, Owner/Operator
Regina Y. Favors Website
The vision of the Regina Y. Favors website is to be the preferred online curriculum you need for life recovery.
It is a difficult thing to write something from pain, experience, and expertise and it not be received well. I have written multiple books on the topics of rebounding, setback, and life recovery, but as in any case when you are first marketing books, they do not always gain traction immediately. I’m fine with that notion because marketing takes work, diligence, and consistency. I have prepared my mind for that painstaking truth.
What I did not prepare my mind for was the idea that people might not be receptive to a book on setback and correction. The title Overcoming Setback: Five Keys for Entering & Exiting Correctionis a book about the consequences of missed opportunity, i.e., what it looks like in your life when you miss or decide to ignore an instruction. Once you decide to disobey an instruction, you immediately create a setback because it is a test you failed to pass.
People do not like the word “fail,” and I will address this idea throughout the article. People do not like the word because it simply means that whatever they wanted did not pan out the way they wanted; therefore, they have to regroup and try again to gain success in another area of their life.
What people often do is hop onto the next thing to get success. If they fail in one area, which is represented as a setback, they just skip steps, find something that they can win at, do that thing, get success in it, and place the successful label onto themselves and call it a day.
It is possible to find success in another area of your life and do very well and earn the right to have the rewards for your labor and efforts. This only works, however, if that was the original goal you set, you endured it, and you completed that goal!
If something was optional, as in “I want to learn Japanese so I can travel to Japan and teach English,” as in my case, well that would be fine because it’s an option. It is not something tangible enough for you to set because there are too many factors at play when traveling to another country. Finances are the most important aspect of your decision-making. I had to give up that goal, and it was not a dream, to make financially sound decisions. It was better for me to stay in the United States, build a record of teaching experience, and guide myself financially. Teaching abroad was optional and not fixed.
On the other hand, if I had set a goal to finish college, and I did not finish college, then that would be a more tangible goal that I would have to reassess given the climate for specialized knowledge. A person may not want to earn a four-year degree, but knowledge of technology is not an optional decision. You must have some exposure to discipline knowledge, social media, web design, and that is in addition to any other industry-specific knowledge you are required to have to perform a job task. If you decide to “miss this instruction,” then you can expect to experience problems in another season of your life.
The books on overcoming setback and exiting toxic relationships as in Toxic Encounters: Why People Pursue Rebound Relationshipsand the two additional books connected to that title are not necessarily books that people might want to hold in line at a bookstore let alone choose from an online medium, such as Amazon.com.
The original title for this book was Bait, Hook & Switch: Confessions of a Rebound Girl. Although I had already published it through Amazon years ago, when I reassessed the books, I realized visually the customer standing in line at the bookstore and thought to myself that no way would a woman want to hold that book in line so everyone could see and think she was a rebound. Therefore, I revamped all the titles connected to that main title, added substantial content to make the books more comprehensive and semi-scholarly, and republished under a general title about toxic encounters.
However, even in changing the title years later and assuming that people might appreciate the idea of overcoming toxic relationships, what I realized was that it wasn’t nearly the title that was the problem. It was the idea that people are not expert at solving problems, especially personal issues. These books suggest that you know you have a problem that needs to be fixed, and fixing that problem will require work. People are not socially nurtured to work on their problems. They are only nurtured to survive their problems.
Herein lies the problem with marketing the Regina Y. Favors website and the corresponding titles. People are skilled and experts at survival and not at overcoming their failures, dramas, and setbacks. They rebound from one thing to the next, believing that if they can just survive the moment, it will change their lives and get them to the next moment and the next one thereafter.
The problem with this notion, however, is that people get addicted to comeback, which is another article I am planning to write. They dip in and out of troubles, problems, and issues, and they survive those issues only to get to a point in their lives where they want to dip in and out again. I believe people do this because they like the feeling of euphoria they get when they survive something.
To overcome is to make no more room for that same issue that keeps pulling at you.
Regina Y. Favors
People like how they manage to overcome their anxieties. They breathe in. They breathe out. They take a drink, smoke something, exercise, have sex, attend church, and they experience their release. However, to overcome is simply to make no more room for that same issue that keeps pulling at your heels. If you really want to change, then you will do your best not to continue engaging the very same thing that keeps you down.
Of course, all of us thrive on the drama. It is not until we get to a certain point in our lives when we feel our mortality that we say, “My life can’t take too many more hits.” The next issue can take you out, and what people do not understand is that you can die in your setback. In other words, you can die a tragedy, and death, when sudden does not yield you a second chance.
Death, when sudden, does not yield you a second chance. You do not get a second chance at recovery.
Regina Y. Favors
It is difficult to consider any recovery opportunity when you are dead. That’s why addressing your setback is the most important strategy you can adopt because a gap in thinking in one area can affect thinking in other areas, and then you are left with gaps in your thinking in multiple areas. Gaps in thinking always show up in your finances.
In reassessing my tentative marketing plan for the books and the website, I realize that people connect setback to work or vice versa. This revelation affects my marketing goals because now I am forced to educate potential consumers out of their loyalty to survive, surviving, survival, and survivor to open them up to the possibilities of overcome, overcoming, and overcomer.
This means that the mindset has to change. It is one of those notions put forth by Carol Dweck (2007) in her book titled Mindset: The New Psychology of Successwhere she discusses the differences between “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset.”
Figure. Mindset Differences
Intelligence is fixed.
Intelligence can be developed.
Learns from criticism
Threatened by the success of others
Inspired by the success of others
Changing Our Mindset Summary
This is a near-summary of ideas put forth in multiple iterations of Dweck’s book. Different visuals are available on the Internet using a keyword search. Mindset is a topic I teach on and use within the composition classroom.
What this chart suggests for the Regina Y. Favors books and website consumers is that the consumer must adopt a growth mindset to learn beyond survival. Strangely enough, to survive is to live in perpetual setback because although you can “get out” of something hastily, you are more inclined to return to it because the pattern to “get out” and “get over” becomes a habit. You return to what you believe works. After all, you were able to get out of the problem the first, second, and third times. Why not now?
Given the marketing goals for the books and the website, education is key. Educating the potential consumers for the products will require adopting the following marketing goals:
Build brand awareness.
Drive traffic to website.
Create targeted consumer base.
Create buyer’s persona.
Create consumer’s who will buy.
Encourage consumers to submit testimonials.
Assess returning customers.
These are marketing goals that I am forced to put into rotation concurrently because the customer who desires to exit setback is one who cannot take one more step and cannot live one more moment in setback. This person is ready to get out of their setback but is willing to do what it takes to get out. No more jumping in and out of situations, no more making bad financial decisions, no more giving money without purpose and standard, and no more romantic decisions that leave the person broken, busted, and disgusted. This customer is tired! This customer is ready to change.
Therefore, considering these factors as key to developing the tentative marketing plan, marketing the books will require significant education. People understand that the word “setback” exists, but it is not something that people want to address willingly unless they are forced to address their own personal setback. They will project their assumptions about someone’s setback, but when it comes to addressing their own individual setback, it does not have the same effect.
Setback for people might mean failure, and people do not want to be connected to failure. They want to win, so they will seek out a win by jumping off one path and onto another just so they can put distance between themselves and the setback. What they do not realize is that the setback is down the road represented as a brick wall, forcing them to self-reflect and address it. This is arguably the customer for the book titles and the Regina Y. Favors website.
As I consider and add to the tentative marketing plan, the need to revise and edit the buyer’s persona will be ongoing. The revelation that I got about people’s perception of “setback” as a concept that they believe may not apply to them even if they are currently living under a setback (i.e., the pandemic and job loss) is one that purely derives from offering the complimentary copies and getting no takers and assuming that this is the reason behind the failure to sustain the connection between the potential customer and the book choice. It cannot be the quality of the book because they did not get the book. It cannot be the prices of the books because all books are priced financially affordable.
This means that they assumed and created a negative connection to the title of the book, i.e., rebounding and/or setback, and themselves and said to themselves, “I want no part of that because that does not apply to me.” In other words, they put distance between themselves and the books, even when one of the titles had the phrase “life recovery.” Otherwise, if there was interest, especially in a complimentary title, i.e., gratis, then the potential consumers would have submitted their addresses.
They connected work to setback and vice versa, seemingly assuming that they would have to work to get themselves out of setback. No one wants to work to get themselves out of setback. The individual would rather survive to comeback.
These are interesting revelations, and I hope to use them as guides to continue developing the marketing plan, marketing efforts, and a marketing lesson.
One of the hardest strategies to employ is setting personal boundaries. People feel entitled to your life, your finances, and your physical house! However, people feel entitled because you entitled them. You entitled them to move in and out of your house out of their own sheer will. You entitled them to plan your finances around their lives. You entitled them to get you into things before your time. In fact, it is you who got yourself into the things that you are now complaining about.
Thus, setting boundaries begins with assessing your own contribution, what you thought was important in that season of your life, and now what you need to consider moving forward. You cannot be everything to everybody. You would die, and you are not Jesus, Jr. You must learn the art of setting boundaries, caring enough about yourself to ensure that you are covered before you cover someone else.
This has been my mistake in the past, and it led to me struggling financially, not becoming the student I really wanted to be academically, and failing to ensure I was competitive professionally. Although I have the degrees I earned, I initially struggled after graduate school to secure work apart from the immediate environment of teaching since that was my training. I had left full-time work in the business field to enter college because I just wanted something simply better for myself. I didn’t want to settle, and the job I was on felt like I would be settling. However, in some ways it was a mistake to leave that job without a stronger financial plan, which made it easier to dip in and out of hasty decision-making.
Lack of Direction
This gap in my thinking left me dangling emotionally and psychologically, which prompted me to spend financially without true direction. When you do not have direction, you find yourself trying to give everyone else direction, and the way in which you do that is with your finances. Then your finances become the guiding post for everyone’s life simply because you did not set the necessary boundaries with yourself concerning finances.
One of the important ways of setting financial boundaries is understanding your financial boundaries. If you cannot leave a job right now because it is not financially feasible, then that is you setting financial boundaries. There are always safety exceptions. If there are safety concerns at the job, or you have to ride the bus too early in the morning when it is still dark, or you cannot get consistent care for your child, then these are exceptions to the rule. Just remember, however, that the decisions you make regarding exceptions will still affect your finances and your financial decision-making. That decision to exit one thing and enter another has its financial concerns that you must address.
Another important way of setting financial boundaries should really be obvious to us, but it is not. We run our mouths too much. We assume that we are strong enough emotionally to say “No,” but we are not always as strong as we think. Saying “No” is not an easy task if you have been nurtured as a people pleaser. If all you know is how to be agreeable, then that is really all you know, and you may measure success with people based on how well you give over your finances to suit their needs. But this decision leaves you uncovered. You will find yourself homeless trying to cover everyone else.
“Do not become financially homeless helping others”–Regina Y. Favors
It is inevitable that if you continue to make sure everyone else has what he or she needs and not yourself, then you will find yourself sleeping on someone’s couch, lying on a mat in a shelter, struggling to pay your own rent while that person lives rent free in another person’s house, and never having anything of your own to measure personal success.
These are some of the hardest lessons I have had to learn because they were rooted in people pleasing, which I no longer suffer from but was a struggle to overcome. It is a difficult understanding to come to that you are 100% responsible for yourself as an adult once you leave the confines and comforts of your family background and upbringing. It doesn’t matter how well or not well you were raised. It might serve as a contributing factor to know that you were nurtured in financial dysfunction and chaos, but once you hit that door, you are responsible for every financial decision you make. You have to own up to it whether you like it or not.
If you are in a situation that reflects some kind of lack or struggle with emotional, financial, or spiritual homelessness, you have to think about your contribution because you still made the decision. It is not like someone pushed you, i.e., took you by the hand, and put the needle in your arm. It is not like the person who asked you for money took your hand, put it in your purse, and pulled out the money to give to him or her.
You volunteered your time, your money, your body, your belief system, your thinking, and your finances. That is something you will need to accept about yourself.
That money that paid for drugs could have gone to money to pay for college, to open a business, to create another opportunity for yourself, and/or to find work. This means that you decided your money and finances would be better spent in a destructive way that yields you no true benefit.
Setting financial boundaries is a belief system that is not optional. It is an important component of adulthood that will drive and protect other decisions you make. You must set financial boundaries. There are no other options that you can consider because you are responsible for yourself. This means move in silence when it comes to your money. Do not tell everyone everything about what you do, what you have, what you’re going to get, and what you plan to do. Until you are strong enough emotionally to adhere to your own boundary-setting and care enough about yourself to cover yourself, be careful how you guide your finances.
As a solution, the best way to resolve a failure to set financial boundaries is by conducting a gap assessment. On this site, I discuss different aspects of gap assessment, offering also videos on the topic. Click the tab “Gap Assessment” for further insight and access to videos.
Essentially, a gap assessment is defined as the difference between “what is” and “what should be.” You could conduct a gap assessment based on an understanding or lack of understanding concerning your finances, your professional development, and your personal relationships.
What is the gap?
What are the tools necessary to close that gap?
What is my strategy for closing that gap?
A gap open in one area can affect another area and also create a gap in that area. The more gaps you have, the more likely it will be that you will struggle in multiple areas of your life.
The most important takeaway from this article is that you have every right to set personal and financial boundaries. Only you can tell you not to do something or to do something. If you are in a situation where you are struggling financially because of a decision you made, then you told you to do that thing. You told you where to put your money, to whom to give your money, and you justified the reasoning based on whatever expectations you gave yourself to make yourself feel better.
It all begins with you!
That, too, is a difficult understanding to come to because it is much more convenient to blame someone else because of our financial decision-making.
It is a difficult thing to think forward, to prepare for something in the future that you are not aware will be available for you in the future. However, planning for the future is key. You should never simply just let life happen to you, nor just let something happen in general.
Planning is key.
Sometimes we do not want to adopt the long-term five-year and/or ten-year plan. The reasons we use to justify this decision are simply based on this notion of “living for the day,” i.e., carpe diem.
The problem with this logic, however, is that the people who love to live for the day in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are usually the people who have to come and live with you in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. Let’s not even think about taking care of them in their 80s and 90s, if they make it that far.
What they failed to do in their 20s and 30s reveals itself in their 40s and 50s. In other words, if you are still struggling with keeping a job or housing in your 40s and 50s, then you struggled with this idea in your 20s and 30s.
I think if we had a better understanding of planning while we were in high school, we would be less likely to find trouble in our 20s and 30s. It is in high school where two-year planning is key because there is the expectation of graduation, i.e., leaving from one environment and entering another. It makes no sense to believe that remaining in high school is a perpetual notion. We have to exit so room and space are made for newcomers and new life learners.
Of course, we do not plan.
We do not plan at the junior year of high school, thinking and believing that whatever will happen with us or to us will just happen without much effort. I did not truly plan while in high school, even though ironically I carried a planner. I thought I was going to get my paper, i.e., the diploma, and enter the military. When that didn’t work out, I had no plan for anything else, which made it easier to get into trouble and/or be distracted. I ended up getting into life-threatening situations a good four to five years out of high school until I was forced to wake up. I got back on track by enrolling in college, relocating to San Diego, CA, attending San Diego State University, enduring those fun times, but still graduating without a solid plan.
Sure, I understood early that if I wanted to teach at the community college level that a master’s degree in English was necessary. Therefore, the decision to exit undergraduate into graduate school was an easy one. I didn’t have to think about that decision. It made sense. I reasoned at the time that I did not have children, nor was I married. If I was going to get the master’s degree, the time when I did not have family responsibilities was ideal to get the degree and prepare to enter the field of teaching.
I remember doing much better at the graduate level as far as learning and preparing and planning. I made sure I completed my master’s thesis a semester before graduating because I did not want issues with graduation. I planned my thesis. I did all the learning-based things in graduate school that I should have done at the undergraduate level. However, I did not plan my transition out of graduate school. I did not apply to jobs. I just assumed, as I did in high school, that I would get into a doctoral program and that would be it.
I did not, and I did not have a plan.
In other words, I still hadn’t learned anything from previous failures at two-year planning. It wasn’t until I had to endure homelessness due to losing work during the financial recession and watch homeless people struggle to catch their rhythm again that I realized just how important two-year life planning is. It also wasn’t until I had to teach this topic to my previous students and watch them have a better sense at planning, while I was in my late 30s, that I realize where I had gone wrong and where I needed to do better in life.
It doesn’t matter what kind of money you have, what kind of job you have, what kind of elite background you come from, we can all benefit from two-year planning whether that planning is necessary to move from one economic station to another, from one job level to another, from one academic status to another, and simply from one season in life to another.
Two-year planning is a necessary strategy to prevent you from taking anything simply because anything is available.
Regina Y. Favors
Two-year planning is a necessary strategy to prevent you from taking anything simply because anything is available. That is the worse thing you can do is fall into a trap of running around on a hamster’s wheel. You are getting somewhere but nowhere at the same time.
Take head. Take this to heart. Plan your transitions. Plan your exit from one season in your life to another. Exit from one place to another is always inevitable. Since we know we have to exit, then we need to be sure that there is a true plan in place so that we are not bogged down with frustration, fear, distractions, and general anxiety about what to do next.
Here is a quick audio lesson from my life planning series. Take some time to view it and gain insight on the importance of planning.