Reading success stories about other people overcoming adversity to reach the pinnacle of their careers can make you think: “I can do that, too.”

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Yes, you can.

However, there may also come a time when you feel like you’ve reached a dead end or can barely see any hint of light at the end of the tunnel. This lowest point might even leave you questioning whether you’ve made the right career choice in the first place.

But don’t let those rejection letters, lay-offs, and unanswered cold emails get the best of you. What you’re facing right now isn’t the most challenging part yet. It’s getting back up that you need to be ready for.

So, what are you going to do?

If you’re not sure what to do when you hit rock bottom, we have a helpful suggestions for you. Here they are…five strategies you could try to bounce back:

When You’ve Hit Rock Bottom, Try These

1.   Never Doubt Yourself

Things will really start going downhill if you succumb to doubt and question your own competence in your chosen profession. Even if other people bring this up (which is something many people face daily), you must always believe in yourself.

Don’t allow others to dictate what you can and cannot do. Take a page from Walt Disney’s book.

Even when faced with the big “Maybe you’re not cut out for this?” question for his chosen career, he didn’t turn back. Instead, he kept moving forward, opened new doors, and did new things. More importantly, he urged others to do the same.

In yoga, there is a kind of focused gaze (called “Drishti”) that can help a person concentrate on their intentions and maintain balance during practice.

It helps you avoid getting distracted by outside noise and blocks messages that may harm your motivation and hinder you from reaching your full potential.

You can apply this not only in your career but also in real life. At the beginning of every day, set a short-term goal and revisit that at the day’s end. This will help you determine whether you’ve stayed on track and accomplished what you set out to do.

2.   Take Responsibility

You’ve probably had people tell you to take responsibility for what happened in your career. Though this may not be the words you want to hear, it’s one you’ll want to listen to.

Don’t blame circumstances or other people for what happened. While you shouldn’t doubt what you’re capable of, you must not shrug off responsibility for the situation, either.

Instead, you need to step up. This will not only help you gain more self-respect but will also open opportunities that will serve as a hint of light at the end of a dark tunnel.

Remember: The key to bouncing back from hitting your lowest point is accepting the situation as it is and admitting your own faults. From there, you should be able to get a better grip on the situation.

Related: Tips for Taking More Responsibility

3.   Be Your Own Hero

During the darkest days of your life, the only person you can count on is you.

While this may seem like a sad notion, it can be quite empowering for many people.

Too often, we become our worst critics, especially during difficult moments like this. But besides taking responsibility for what happened, you also need to be your own hero. This begins the moment you remember that you should be your own best motivator and supporter.

This is all about being kind and feeling at peace with yourself. Like a good friend, you must treat yourself kindly.

According to research, self-compassion leads to better motivation. Contrary to what some people believe, being kind to yourself isn’t going to make you lazy or lose your competitive edge. It will help you become more confident since it trains your mind that you will still be there to support you, no matter what the outcome of your efforts are.

As a result, you will feel more motivated to take on challenges and risks since the fear and pressure are lessened.

Reserve a few minutes every day for meditation or journaling to listen to your inner voice. This will help you realize how you’re treating yourself and determine what areas of your life you self-sabotage unintentionally.

4.   Analyze What Happened and Create a Plan

Once you’ve ironed out internal struggles, it’s time to face the situation head-on. Analyze what happened and come up with a plan.

Ask yourself: Is it really that bad? What kind of help do I need?

Try asking for help from a family member, a close friend, or even a professional coach. Talk about it and listen to an alternate view of the situation you’re in. At this point, you might realize that what seemed like the end of the world isn’t as bad as it thought it was.

From there, you should come up with a game plan. Assess your current skills and determine if you need to improve them. Set short-term goals and look for opportunities with the potential to haul you out of the slump you’re in.

After planning, take concrete steps in the right direction. Celebrate small victories. Although they may not yet count as your big comeback, these will help re-establish your self-esteem and empower you to take on the challenges that lie ahead.

5.   Follow Your Gut

When you’ve hit rock bottom, chances are high you won’t have all the answers you need. The data you’d like to have may not be there, the resources you thought you could depend on, may not be there either.

When this happens, your gut can show you the way.

If you feel like it’s the wrong step to take, it most likely is. If you’re pressured into making a quick decision, turn around and walk away.

Often, people need that extra something that will push them to make the decision. Even with the amount of data, online reviews, references, interviews, and talks with friends, your gut will most likely be the deciding factor.

As Steve Jobs said during a speech after climbing his way back from getting kicked out of a company he founded: “You have to trust in something.”

Be it your gut, destiny, karma, or life itself, having faith that all “the dots will connect” down the line will help you gain the confidence to tread the road less traveled, he said at Stanford.

People often leave their self-assessment to others that they fail to check whether they’re headed in the right direction. Don’t leave your future in the hands of managers and supervisors – handle your own assessment and be the writer of your own fate.

Related: Become a Persistent Person

Get Back in the Game

Getting back in the game when you’ve hit rock bottom is a process that should not be rushed. When you hit rock bottom, bouncing back towards professional success is about taking small but steady steps instead of big, shaky strides.

So, don’t relent. Erase from your mind the idea of throwing in the towel. No more doubting yourself. Own your path, decide to become your own hero. Make your plan of attack, follow your gut, and get back in the game.

Till next time,


PS – If you enjoyed these strategies for when you’ve hit rock bottom, then you love these tips on How To Avoid Giving Up, and you may even enjoy these inspiring quotes about Bouncing Back From Failure.

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