What do you do when things go wrong?

Not into video? See text version below.

The executive summary:

  • Marketing isn’t always easy, sometimes things go wrong: you get rejected or no one buys your thing
  • What do you say to yourself to keep on going and not give up?
  • Write it down so you remember next time!

Had a bad day/week? This is for you!

I had a really bad week last week. Highlights include:

  • Having to cancel a live class due to low enrollment
  • Getting kicked off my own webinar (and then having participants kicked off – randomly – one by one)
  • Being completely rejected (in that “Are you kidding me? Did he really just SAY that?” way)

Despite what the happy shiny “things are always wonderful” people will tell you…sometimes things don’t go your way.

Business and marketing are NOT always easy (otherwise, everyone would be doing it…successfully.)

You will be rejected, people will say “no” and things will go sideways.

Sometimes it’s because of you. You dropped a ball, or screwed up a call…or you’re new at something and it didn’t go as well as you had hoped.

Sometimes it’s something or someone else. The webinar technology screws up, the computer crashes…or someone mean yells at you on the phone.

Either way, it sucks it’s not fun.

If you want to be successful, you need to pick yourself up and keep going

In case it’s helpful to you, I’m going to share what I tell myself when bad things happen.

Before I do so, here’s some advice on taking advice.

What people offer as advice is what works for THEM. It may not work for YOU.

The real key is to pay attention to what works for you.

Havi Brooks suggests creating a “Book of You.” This is a journal where you write reminders to yourself about what works, so that you can access that information when you need it. (Instead of falling into default patterns that aren’t always helpful.)

The following are from my Book of Me.

4 things I remind myself when things go sideways

1. Perspective

Will this matter in 10 minutes? In 10 days? In 10 years?

Success is an accumulation of small actions over time. Individual events rarely even pass the 10 days test. What seems like a tragedy today (OMG…the webinar didn’t record!!) will be forgotten in a week.

For this, I find it helpful to refer to my business goals and marketing plan – to remind me of the big picture.

2. Learning & Experimentation

There are no failures, only results. Marketing is just one grand experiment: we take our best guess as to what will work and we put it out there.

Sometimes it exceeds expectations, other times it falls flat. Every result is a chance to learn and improve.

I evaluate by asking these questions:

  • What can I learn from this?
  • How can I be better (or do better) next time?
  • What can I change? How can I improve this? What can I do differently?

3. Permission

I give myself permission to:

  • Be OK with learning something new. To expect to make mistakes or perform poorly. To start with a crappy first draft.
  • Take some time away and lick my wounds. To go for a walk or take the afternoon off.
  • Feel what I feel. To be angry or sad or frustrated…and wait for the feeling to change to something else. (It always does.)

4. Persistence

Success often looks like the last one standing. It’s about being around long enough to earn trust. It belongs to those who show up and don’t give up.

As long as there is visible progress: I’m further ahead this week/month/year than last…and things are generally trending up/forward – then it’s time to grab the next post-it note and take the next step.


  1. Earl Thomas on January 30, 2014 at 6:48 am

    thanks Patty u really helped as i have been feeling low lately. thks for being real, not sleeping well and will relax more so it’s not the 3rd nite. wishing u lots of success. sure miss the fri lunches, hi to joe.

    love and hugs earl

    • Patty K on January 30, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      Hey Earl…good to see you here! Sorry to hear you’ve been feeling low…hope things get better for you soon.

  2. Carol Carter on November 19, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Oh … I hear an ear-worm brewing … “Pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.”