When Bad Things Happen — How To Deal

Kim Martin
3 min readMay 29, 2024


Life has its ups and downs, and while I’ve been fortunate to avoid significant hardships for most of my life, recently, I’ve faced some unforeseen challenges. I endured a tough bout of COVID-19, followed closely by tearing my ACL — and these back-to-back misfortunes have given me a new perspective on dealing with adversity. For someone with high energy, always on the move in sunny Florida, these setbacks have been particularly tough.

Gaining Empathy and Perspective

My recent experiences have given me newfound empathy for anyone dealing with foot, leg, or hip issues. Navigating life on crutches has doubled the time it takes to do anything, and stairs have become a daunting challenge. I’ve realized how much I took my health for granted. Thankfully, my career as an Executive Coach and Consultant allows me to work from home, saving me from complete frustration.

How I Dealt with It

1. Acknowledging the Situation

At first, I allowed myself to have a pity party for a few days. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings, but then it was time to move on. I chose not to be a “Debbie Downer.” I reviewed the photos on my phone from the past few months, reminding myself of the good times and the wonderful people in my life. Focusing on gratitude significantly improved my mood and helped me regain a sense of normalcy.

2. Looking Ahead with Positivity

Next, I faced the reality of my recovery: 8 to 9 months of physical therapy. It’s daunting, but I decided to view it as an opportunity to rebuild my strength and improve my fitness. This setback could actually enhance my golf game and pickleball skills! Staying focused on the positive and what I can control helps me stay motivated. I’ve set small, achievable goals to track my progress, which keeps me encouraged and on track.

3. Embracing New Opportunities

Finally, I started thinking about my bucket list and all the things I’ve wanted to do but never had time for. I love reading, and now I’m in two book clubs. We’re planning a trip to Italy in the fall, so I’ve committed to learning conversational Italian. I’m also saying “yes” to new opportunities, including getting involved in causes I support. Finding purpose and staying engaged makes my heart sing and gives me something exciting to look forward to.

Finding Resilience

We all face setbacks in life — getting laid off, suffering an injury, having your identity stolen; often things we can’t foresee and can’t seem to do much about in the moment. It’s essential to think about how resilient you are and how you would deal with these challenges before they happen. Building resilience can prepare you to bounce back more quickly when adversity strikes.

Final Thoughts

Gratitude, positive thinking, and embracing new opportunities have been key to dealing with my recent hardships. Remember, setbacks are a part of life, but how you respond to them makes all the difference. Stay focused on what you can control, seek out the silver linings, and don’t be afraid to reinvent your path.



Kim Martin

A thought leader in the areas of executive leadership, change management, and women in the C-suite.