Updated: Jun 14, 2019
Bonjour, Mon Cheries! Amanda Cherie here: singer, songwriter, business psychology professional and TEDx speaker. Like every kid, I couldn’t decide which I wanted to be when I grew up: a mad scientist, a hippie artist, a model, a GUCCI saleswoman or a bullheaded corporate businesswoman (#tauruslife). So when in doubt, decide to be an eccentric hybrid of all five, obviously.
When you’re a Jill (or Jack) of several trades, you get to perform your music in bold outfits. And you get to use your Industrial-Organizational Psychology graduate studies to help Fortune 150 leaders measure and maximize their performance and bold money moves.
Most days, you get to go from transposing data on a computer keyboard to transposing notes on a piano keyboard. Other days you go from speaking to leaders about creating bold change to belting a bold anthem into a microphone. Most of the time they only cry from the latter. Just kidding, I haven’t gotten a tear-filled standing ovation from a business presentation, yet. *Closes eyes and actually visualizes said response.*
I was building a sizable self-scrimped nest egg and thriving in a community seemingly as tight-knit as 500-thread-count sheets. And I lost it all in a living nightmare, while working a full time, stress-filled, underpaying job, plus finishing grad school.
I lost my community, my savings, most of my belongings, and almost my health.
Ironically, I was studying grit, resilience and motivation when I needed it most.
So I get it, Mon Cheries. Setbacks suck. As someone who's literally lost everything and bounced back better, I'm like the titanium Sia sang about in that David Guetta song.
Rough days, heartbreak, tough work, no work, toxic relationships, split relationships, drained bank accounts, rain in our shoes - we all make piercing eye contact with difficulty more than we'd probably like to.
I survived what felt like a living nightmare. I was determined not to let my blood, sweat and tears (all literally) soak the paperback that was supposed to be my life to the point that the pages are too stuck together to turn. More than that, I was determined not to let anyone else decide how the rest of my story would play out.
So the new "empire" I'm building this time is better than ever. So far I've built more community and more savings than ever and tripled my revenue in less than 3 years while living my purpose every day. And I'm just laying the foundation.
Coming from someone who literally lost everything and bounced back to create an even better life, here are a few tips to come back from a setback stronger than ever.
1. STARE YOUR EMOTIONS IN THE FACE For those of us who push down our feelings, this is a tough one. Crying in a hot bath or wallowing in sad songs may sound indulgent. But the sooner we address our emotions in a healthy, intentional way, the sooner we can move forward.
Ignoring the pain only gives it power over us. But we strip the pain of its power over us when we face our emotions, label them and understand them. Think about walking with a blister. You can try to catwalk down the sidewalk in the chicest of Jimmy Choos. If you’re not dealing with a blaring blister that’s hiding underneath, it doesn’t matter how fly you look if you’re silently wincing in pain. Eventually, you will be frantically limping across the crosswalk with 4 seconds left to make it to the other side, in front of an audience of 50 drivers. Speaking from experience, it’s not cute anymore.
Hidden pain will find its way to the spotlight. Emotional pain is like taxes. Either deal with it now, or it will follow you around and show up when you least expect it. When we intentionally embrace and harness our emotions, they can become catalysts for our growth and fuel for building something spectacular. Could we be belting, "we could've had it a-a-all" with the windows down had Adele had all emotionally healthy boyfriends? Would we have Pixar had Steve Jobs not been fired from his own company? Would glitter as we know it have been invented by a machinist had glass been available during the Great Depression? Who knows! But clearly they found ways to turn their pain into power...and dollar signs.
Once you've stared the discomfort in the face and stripped it of its power, you can start to move forward. In the lyrics of Florence + The Machine, it's hard to dance with the devil on your back. Shake it out and keep going.
But first, feel the feelings. Take the hot bath. Belt the Adele song. Take care of yourself.
2. GIVE YOUR MINDSET A FACELIFT Realize this setback is just a small sequin on the ballgown. It doesn’t define who you are or what you’re worth. You can choose the label that you slap on the setback. You can wear it as something that dooms you or see it as something that will grow you. Your confidence may have taken a hit. Your sense of identity may suddenly seem cloudy. But even if your situation has changed to the point that you don’t recognize your life or know who you are anymore, start to identify and reconnect with that part of you that hasn’t changed. For me, it was reconnecting with that inner bold, artsy pioneer who is obsessed with finding a way or creating one. It was unapologetically wearing glitter and red power suits. It was coming back to creating music that allowed me to cultivate vulnerability and power in the same note. It was helping others to feel motivated to live boldly.
Your essence, your nucleus, your core - that’s the part of you that can be the constant, no matter what changes around you, or what changes within you. Rediscover that part of you, or discover it for the first time. There’s a unique opportunity about stripping everything back to the core and rebuilding from that. You get to reassess what you actually want and what actually brings you joy. You can’t always get to choose your situation, but you do get to choose how you respond and who you want to become. Intentionally choosing your mindset paves the way for taking action and making progress.
3. START TAKING INTENTIONAL ACTIONS It’s easy to react out of pain when you’ve had a setback. But it’s important that every move aligns with a greater purpose and comes from a high level mindset vs. a knee-jerk reaction that stems from discomfort or fear.
Once you’ve paused to address the discomfort and hit the refresh button on your mindset, you can start taking action from your “thinking” brain. You can engage the parts of your brain that are responsible for cognition, rather than the ones that are responsible for reflexes. And begin taking steps.
Start taking intentional actions every day - bold or boring - that will help you make progress toward who you want to be and where you want to go. Even if it’s something tiny, do it. When I first started rebuilding, I no longer had sheets that were my own, or a bed that was my own. I didn’t have a space that felt like a home that I had created. I deepy wanted to create an environment that brought me joy and both physical and psychological comfort. So I invested in a canary yellow West Elm duvet. It was something small I control amidst a myriad of uncontrollable factors. And it ushered in a new sense of gratitude toward the hand-me-down bed I had the privilege of sleeping in...not to mention, pride in myself for dragging my body out of bed every morning.
I’m not necessarily suggesting to numb the pain with retail therapy. Ask yourself, what’s the thing behind the thing? Meaning, what is the greater significance beyond face value? And align how you invest your time and resources with what you’re trying to build and the broader value you’re looking for.
Taking intentional action will help you make progress toward building your new “empire.”
Empires aren’t built in a day and they aren’t rebuilt in a day. Bouncing back from setback can take time.
But obstacles don’t have to set you back forever. Instead, they can give you more ambition and even more fight. By staring your emotions in the face, giving your mindset a facelift and taking intentional action every day, you can bounce back even better.
For me, taking these steps after losing everything propelled me to finish grad school, with a 4.0. It drove me to land a job, in a major city, that was more aligned with my purpose and increased my income. And it propelled me to build a community that I could add value to, and that would celebrate that value.
It even inspired me to write the song that would become my first single, called “Brand New Empire.”
Cue hip-hop drumroll...
“Brand New Empire” is a power anthem of resilience and bouncing back from setback. It’s like candy for your ears and a shot of espresso for your mind.
If you need a motivation boost, listen to this song and see how you feel afterward. You may find that it becomes your go-to power soundtrack to tackle your next workout, move forward from a huge disappointment or heartbreak, or simply boost your mood.
In fact, music is known to trigger dopamine in the brain, a key ingredient in feeling motivated. So using filling your mind with music can actually help you create the chemistry of motivation. I know it has for me. I’ve never felt so aligned and powerful as when I hear or create or perform music.
When you’re focused on growing and building, it’s important that you fill your mind with things that can propel you forward. Whatever you’re trying to conquer, whatever you’re trying to build or rebuild, you will benefit from literally having my voice in your ears cheering you on.
If you want more motivation, plus more bold blends of psychology and not-basic pop songs, let’s stay connected. Sign up now for unlimited candy for your ears and coffee for your mind, on me!