How To Get Back on Track When You Feel Derailed

There are times in life, work, or business that we feel derailed. Progress comes to a grinding halt. It can feel frustrating and demoralising.

Sometimes the cause can be factors outside of our control. Sometimes the cause can be self-created.

Getting back on track can feel challenging and overwhelming.

Since I started designing my life and business after leaving the corporate world 20 years ago. I have experienced plenty of these times of feeling knocked off track.

For example, a few years back my husband got a serious illness that took him three years to fully recover from. We had no idea it would last that long. The uncertainty felt crushing at times. That totally changed my life and business plans in order to just cope and get through. 

On the work side, I have experienced many projects getting knocked off track, both in my corporate career and since starting my own business in 2001.

These things are part of life and work. They happen. Expecting never to get knocked off track is setting ourselves up for disappointment and frustration.

We need to accept that life, work, and business is never a linear path. The key is to keep our focus on how to get back on track when we feel derailed.  

Here are some things I have found helpful with this over the years:  

Be solution focused, not problem focused.

Dwelling on the problem is going to solve nothing. Be solution focused. That is what will help you resolve the matter effectively.  

Review. Revise. Plan. Implement.

This simple four step formula is a great way to navigate a way forward. Objectively review what is going on. Then revise or adapt your original plans or goals as appropriate. Formulate a new plan. Implement it.


I know this sounds counter-intuitive when you feel knocked off track. You can feel the need to just grind on and push harder. But sometimes, stopping is the best way forward (even if it is just for a short period of time). Stopping gives you time and space to think and respond to the situation effectively rather than just react in the heat of it all.  


Complexity can kill solution finding and hold back progress. Simplify the living daylights out of everything.  

Get help and support

Whether it is a friend or colleague for moral support or you would benefit from hiring an expert to help you, it is a lot easy to navigate getting back on track when you have the right help and support.

Fuel yourself

If you think about how much mental and physical energy it takes just to juggle all the usual day-to-day demands of your life and work and then add in more being taken up with dealing with whatever you feel derailed by, it becomes clear that it is important that you are proactively fueling yourself. A car can’t get from A to B without fuel. Nor can you. Do more of what gives you mental and physical energy.

The bottom line:

It is important to create time and space to take stock and proactively figure out a way forward.

Not only will that help you get unstuck, it will help you feel in the driving seat of whatever you are dealing with.

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