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5 Ways to Turn a Setback into Success

Inspiration > Kaizen

By: Candice Kumai

After any setback in life passes, you’ll feel like you got to the top of a mountain, you’ll be thankful it’s over and you’ll begin to appreciate every moment instead of seeing it as a total loss.

My whole life has been a story. 10 years ago on the set of Top Chef, I was 23, and I had a narcissistic character tell me that I was “mediocrity” and that I would “fail horribly”. Looking back, it’s hard to even imagine how I got through it. But now, I honestly thank him for that moment in my life. I had a story to tell, and with my focus, persistence and serious dedication to my craft, 10 years after his remarks: five published books and dozens of television shows to show for it! I’ve been honored at charitable foundations, been the center of many magazine features, and most importantly, I’m still standing. I’m still working harder than ever before.

However, I’ve also had many, many failures, several cancelled shows, book proposals that never made it to print, broken hearts, broken dreams, surgeries, job losses, a solo move across the country, financial pangs, and the list goes on and on. Yes, I am real, this is what happens in real life and I’m here to share it all with you. Pick yourself up and get back on track with these tips:

Don’t forget who you are and where you are going. Lucky you, this is stuff money just can’t buy. A crazy observation I have made: In this life, there are some people that inflict pain on others and then there are some that take it. There are some that run away from all of their fears, stress and pain, and some that work through it, take it on and face it. It seems as though the ones who take it, the ones that face their fears and endure the pain, those who choose to work through it, those individuals learn a vast deal from the experience. Pain and suffering are an inevitable part of life. (It’s also something we rarely talk about!) One must learn to accept their greatest fears, obstacles, stress, stumbles and falls in order to come out on top. You get to go deep, and for those who can reach deep inside of your hearts and minds, even your gut, you are able to feel emotion. You have gifts that you can celebrate, like scars on a heart that shape who you are, and you will have your own inner-beauty to share with others. What a beautiful gift to be able to share with others. Feel grateful you were chosen to endure such a fight.

Friends. You will now clearly value the art and beauty of true friendship. If you have one, you are lucky. If you have three, you are blessed, and if you have a tribe, you are truly a special individual. You may even gain a few through this setback. This sounds bizarre, right? Truly, if I look at my friends that put me back together these past few weeks, they were the strongest, yet most gentle individuals. I am so blessed to have my childhood friends from San Diego, college besties from Long Beach & my totally legit NYC homies. My friend Indie told me that I was always beautiful, inside and out and I always will be. Steph taught me that no matter how far, she was always there with me and we have been through this before, we will get through it again. Courtney consistently shows me how to laugh, and with her humor and extremely cartoon-like way of life, I can’t help but smile. Andy and Suzanne showed me grace, unconditional love and relatability and understanding. Christina reminded me to remember how this feels, to capture that for a second, let it go and not look back. Angela reminds me of how strong I am and that each day is a step closer to the life that I have always imagined. My sister, Jenni, held my heart for weeks (and she’s not the hand-holding type! She is a badass.) She simply listened to every breath, every yelp, every tear, she felt my pain through the phone and she listened. Sometimes that’s all you need. If you are lucky enough to have a strong support system of family and friends, then you have already gained what most do not have in this lifetime. True friendship will never fail you. Value this through your setbacks, you can see much clearer now.

Trauma can Make you Resilient. Guess what? You get to become an angel now.. Okay, the wings will come with time, but here’s what I mean… If you’ve been through a storm and you’re able to come out on top, share your story with others. There is nothing positive about shrinking. When you share your story, you shine and you automatically embrace and allow others to shine with you. I have had so many beautiful, strong, and resilient women share their story with me these past few weeks, and damn. Girls, you are so strong! Some of them choose to write, text, call, meet up because this is part of their healing process as well. When you are faced with a setback, get after the next phase. Take it head-on. Face your biggest fears and watch yourself come out even more beautiful than before. And when you are ready, share your story with another and open up your heart to them, become an angel to them. Share your resilience, share your biggest fears and the pain you overcame. When you share you let go, you consciously allow others to understand, to connect, to grow. How beautiful is that?

On to the Next One. The most recognizable figureheads have an incredible way of bouncing back, fast. “On to the next one”, as Jay says! Listen to what your beautiful heart, mind and soul are saying, follow all the signs, put your every desire and wish out into the universe and simply keep going. Starting over  is a beautiful, clean and fresh beginning to your life. What a blessing that just opened up for you. You received a gift of time, space, and a total refresh. Scratch all those plans and start over. Don’t look back on any past “failures”, for you should see them as mere obstacles to the finish line. There are no failures in this lifetime, simply setbacks that test you and that will get you closer to every desire in your heart. Take this beautiful gift.

More YOU time. Make time for YOU now. Get more sleep, go see your fabulous friends! Start working out on the regular, give up some bad habits (let them go if they are not serving you), pick up a fabulous new one (I now wake up at 5 am daily + commit to see one friend each day!) Go take a heritage trip to see where your ancestors came from, change that career path if it feels right, listen to more music, sleep naked, I don’t care what you wanna do – just make the time to feel good in your own skin. Just you. Put the tech (phones, iPads, tv) away at night outside of your room, wake up refreshed in the morning (sans technology), pamper yourself with your chemex + coffee and give some love with your sweet pet (I am in love with my Sisi kitty), meditate, go for a beautiful morning walk, tell someone you are grateful for them and start putting together a productive and real to-do list.  Sometimes that “I don’t give a shit”, “I know who I am and where I am going” mentality is what gets you through it all. You are alive, you are healthy, you have amazing friends, family and you have two hands. Go make something of yourself. And if you fall here and there? Who cares. If you cry again? Allow yourself, let it all out, girl. Then be sure to get back up on the saddle and keep going… YOU have nothing to lose, for the only thing that will hold you back from all of your dreams and heart’s desires, is you. Don’t be a schmuck and don’t let anyone get in your way.

Exude More Grace. You will not be defeated by anyone and their mindless, senseless ways, you will not be defeated in this moment in time by anyone. Take from this moment the gift of grace, love, positivity and joy. (Even if it doesn’t feel like it in this moment.) The point of pain (life’s greatest teacher) is that we can FEEL emotion, get past it, so that one day we embrace the feeling of joy, happiness and cherish THAT. Grace is about understanding that you are not perfect. Grace is allowing others to share their imperfections, and grace is giving yourself time, patience and love. Graceful individuals glow! Grace means humility, and humility is beautiful.  Graceful individuals are attractive, knowledgeable, trustworthy individuals, and therefore come out on top, shining bright. Everybody wants to be around someone that is full of light, love and positive, authentic success. From this, gain grace, and you are beautiful.

Share your story, open up your heart and mind and watch your depth of life expand, heal and grow. May you live in peace and happiness moving forward.. and the next time a storm comes to pass, babes, you got this.

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