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Overcoming Setbacks In Business

When we are facing setbacks or get stuck, there are a few steps we can take to help us get unstuck. First of all, our identity has to be as loved children of God. Positionally, no matter what the circumstance or situation, this is where we reside. Once we understand that, whether we’re knocking the cover off the ball and killing it, or we’re going bankrupt and losing everything, positionally we’re all in the same place. This will give us the ability to look at setbacks with courage and to seek to understand what happened.

The second step is to gain courage by surrounding ourselves with people who know us and love us. I think that the key to being a great leader is to be around people who know you. Not only to surround yourself with those people but to be vulnerable with those people. If you are in a relationship, but not telling the truth, then how can you be helped? The Word of God gives us wisdom saying that two are better than one because they can help each other and that we should spend time around those that are wise and can sharpen us (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, Proverbs 27:18, Proverbs 13:20).

I am consulting with a multi-generational business, and after five generations of business, the current generation has run into some problems. The fear and the shame that this CEO is experiencing about the business setbacks is overwhelming and paralyzing to him, which makes him want to withdraw instead of reach out. Friends of his have called advisers in on his behalf to help him through this. The situation reminds me of the story in Mark 2 where the paralytics friends take the roof off and lower him down through the roof to Jesus. We can learn a lot about God and his heart towards us by experiencing help from good friends. I cannot emphasize this enough; when looking to create a legacy, we cannot do it alone. God did not build his legacy alone! Whether in business, ministry, or family, to build a legacy requires us to be willing to receive help to shift and adjust, to be ready to love well, and willing to find people who will come alongside you in the struggle.

The third step is to commit your situation to prayer. Praying about it takes some courage, but it is also not something that can be done in isolation and hiding. Once you have had help to expose the setbacks and the feelings or fears that you are experiencing, allow your friends to pray with you. The redemptive plan is to bring God’s kingdom into every circumstance that you enter, not just the spiritual ones; God wants to break through and redeem setbacks in building a business or the legacy of a business.

Overcoming setbacks is what happens when we align ourselves with the Lord and with people who are trustworthy and who love us. This is where we see miracles happen all the time and they’re practical miracles. Yes, it’s incredible to see people healed of cancer, but the ministry that I’ve been in has been the ministry of a practical miracle where businesses have been saved (as well as jobs, hope, relationships and faith being saved, too) because people have reached out and accepted help from others, they were willing to take steps to do practical things to resolve it. Things like putting their focus back on cash flow instead of on company culture, or walking away from projects they like, but that are draining the business of funds.

The power to overcome setbacks is something God has given to all of us! If we take steps to make sure our identity is strongly based in being a child of God, commit the issue to prayer, and reach out for help, I find most setbacks can and will be overcome!

If you are interested in this topic and want to learn more about issues relating to Christian business, please checkout my website, As always, I would love to hear your feedback!

14 responses to “Overcoming Setbacks In Business

  1. Am I correct that you are saying we should look at cash flow rather than business culture ? Because your book about business was and honor seemed to indicate the opposite. I just wanted to make sure I was clear in this.

    1. I can see how that would be confusing, maybe I did not word this very well. The point I was trying to express is that we need to look at both and not just one! I don’t know that we can have a good culture without making sure we also focus on cashflow at the same time. If we loose sight totally of cashflow, we are not actually going to create a healthy culture. We will be in fear, stressed, wondering how we will pay bills or pay off debt, or pay our employees. If our “culture” initiatives are things like, giving everyone big raises when we feel like it, buying breakfast for everyone every day, or overextending our budget in the name of “culture” then we actually are not creating a powerful culture at all. Hope this makes sense! Would love any follow up questions.

  2. Thanks for these wise words Bob and as they are wise they are difficult to follow in the culture of society in England . What I mean by this is that the culture here is not to be truthful and reach out or be transparent in what is really happening whether it be in business or relationships. Here it is “fake it to make it” to look as though you have it all together and not to show any failings! Everyone is conscious of what they have, what they look like and with social media pushing this falseness along, people feel isolated in their truth unless it’s something to boast about or that looks good.
    It’s hard to believe that God will break through this when so few people surrounding me believe in God.
    So I thank you for reminding me that God has a plan and that he is our strength and to keep praying that his will is the best and not the world!
    Thank you for all your blogs and words of positivity and support they keep me strong every day! Karen

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Karen! I am so glad that the blogs and posts have encouraged you. That is the reason I create them and I am just very happy to hear you are receiving from God through them. I have no doubt that England, especially some organizations in England, would be a hard place to implement some of these things. I do think the culture over there is more challenging in the ways you describe. Yet, I am encouraged that God is above every culture, and even within the culture, there are some safe places and people. I do think people are starting to realize that approach of “fake it to make it” has downfalls, and sometimes even leads to some mental health problems as well. This is why I am so encouraged the Royal family has started focusing on the “Heads Together” program and beginning to speak more openly about struggles, truth, and getting support. I hope this starts to infiltrate work environments as well. Keep praying and keep reaching out as well! Best, Bob

  3. Hi Bob- I am in a situation needing some feedback? My husband and I are musicians, and gaining more and more favor, opportunities evolving into an effective ‘ministry or business’ with much potential in sight!!
    Long story short, I was diagnosed with MS many years ago – now retired, believing God for supernatural suddenly healing!!! I guess my problem is
    not feeling motivated to be “in the business” of everything that needs to be done (my hubby feels that I should be pursuing this ministry gun HO!! how ever I cant seem to muster up the energy to get moving) I guess I’m looking for some wisdom from you? Read your 3 easy things to help, surround with helpful people that love me being the one that sticks out . . . however I am the one who wants to help/minister/have solutions!! Am I thinking too highly of myself? Need to take a time out? Just keep mustering along??? What say you? thanks SaK

    1. Hi Sandy,

      First off, thanks for reaching out! I appreciate you sharing this, and appreciate your heart to find a good way forward. I am happy to hear your business/ministry is doing well and you have favor! That is very exciting! I am wondering what you mean practically when you say you’re “not feeling motivated to be ‘In the business.’” I have a few general thoughts about motivation that may help. The first thought is that if you are always the one giving and never receiving that is a recipe for burnout. We were meant to give and receive, just like the Father shows us in how he treated the Son and vice-versa. It is part of being a daughter or son of God that we can receive from other people as well as give! None of us can do it alone and if we cannot receive, it may be that our identity is not firmly planted in our identity as a child of The King.

      Practically, you also may not feel motivated due to the tasks not being a good fit for your skill set. It could also be that you need some support setting achievable goals. A third possibility is to consider if the MS may be lead to low motivation, on a biological level, though I am not a doctor, so I can’t say this with any certainty. Finally, if it is your husband’s goal and not your goal, then that would also impact your motivation. I think the first step for you with this situation is to really do some courageous soul-seeking to discover what is behind the lack of motivation. Then you can pursue some support, if needed, to find a good solution to resolve the motivation problem you have identified. Hope this helps and thanks again for joining the conversation!

  4. Hi Bob,
    Well, this message arrived on the perfect day for me to receive it. This last weekend I was given disappointing news. A listing that I had counted on was given to another agent…. I had worked for weeks on it, and had done my best and by the seller’s account and the person who introduced us, my professionalism, presentation, area knowledge and marketing plan was head and shoulders above the competing brokers. After first selecting me, the seller changed her mind and decided to choose a large company over my independent real estate company. My heart, prayers and mind were totally focused on presenting this listing to market and selling it for the seller, a senior widow. I was crushed! The seller even asked if she could show my presentation binder to the other agent so he could learn how to be more professional!

    For some reason, I allowed myself to believe all the worst: that I wasn’t good enough and my independent company was a failure because I lost out to one of the big companies. I had been waiting for a break, and wanted this listing so badly. This fledgling business is barely breaking even. It seemed this disappointment triggered all my fear and insecurities and feeling of financial hopelessness. I prayed, but It took me a few days to get my head squared away and slowly began to believe maybe God had a purpose in this. Although I don’t know what it is.

    Step 1: I am reinforcing my thoughts that I am a loved child of God by playing praise music at work, praying and intentionally thanking God.
    Step 2: I have a hard time coming alongside friends and admitting my disappointments and fears. Bob was very kind and supportive, but also said we’d probably have to sell our property to pay off debt. So I don’t feel our finances are a safe area at all. I keep thinking as a broker/leader, I need to be a good example of a good work ethic, success and wise judgement and good stewardship. So it’s hard, nearly impossible for me to reveal to people my need.
    Step 3: I am praying, but have questioned that the favor I believed would be upon this business, hasn’t quite come about yet.

    Bottom line, your article helped me in identifying the areas I need to work on.
    I’ll be working on it all. It’s hard to be vulnerable, so I’m going to send this before I decide not to.

    1. Loraine, your identity is that you are a loved daughter of God and positionally that is the truth. Whether our businesses succeed or fail, our identity is still in God. I am encouraging you to stand firm in that truth and recognize that a start up business takes time, energy, capital, and almost never goes as quickly as we hope. Thank you so much for trusting me with your insecurities, disappointments, and fears. I believe that there is massive favor in destiny on your life and your business and so as we read in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not into your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” As the prophet Jeremiah writes in 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”

  5. Dear Bob,
    Setback has its way of sending us into fear n confusion thus losing focus and hence the power to overcome. At times sinking people into depression and suicide.
    I’ve had several setbacks both in business and corporate leadership.
    Your article focusing firstly on positional, then emotional and situational is fantastic and great counsel on recovery from and overcoming setbacks.
    Cash flow and Company culture are often times so intertwined that needs to be balanced in order to navigate through set backs like the wind and the sail/rudder.

    Thanks and blessing to you n family.

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Lim. I appreciate your kind feedback. Yes, it is true that mental health problems become a much bigger risk when our identity is in our work or performance, rather than our position of being eternally loved and approved by God! I do so agree with you that company culture and cash flow are often intertwined. If we cannot pay our bills because we spent money on meals, unearned raises, and extras for our employees’ culture, but have creditors or individuals always knocking on our door for us to pay what we owe them, it creates a terrible culture. Thanks again for joining the conversation. Blessings to you as well!

  6. Hi Bob,

    Thank you for providing these insights. I like how you first focus on realigning the relation between the Father-child and child-siblings before communicating our needs. This really helps to have a dialogue from the right position, our true identity.

    And yes, we all have been given the power to overcome. Let’s rise and shine. We are more than conquerers.

    1. Love this! Yes we are more than conquerers! Thanks for your feedback. The longer I am in business the more and more I see everything we do flows from our identity and if our identity is right, our decisions tend to be better as well.

  7. Dear Loraine,

    May I share that after being in business for many years, my husband and I faced a lot of disappointment when we didn’t get the bid for our company, so I understand a bit of how you are feeling. But what we learned over time is that when we didn’t get the business we wanted, it was always a blessing in disguise. We often saw that a client would have been a real problem had we worked together. God may be saving you from a bad situation that only he can recognize. I pray that He will quickly send the perfect clients that will be a total blessing to you and your company.

    Sincerely, Ariel

    1. This is great advice! I have experienced this as well, where God’s protection came in a way that initially disappointed me. I agree it is important to operate out of trust and know that something greater may be coming! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and contributing to the conversation!

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