Getting Back Up by Reimagining Rejections, Setbacks, and Failures, Episode 103

If you want to come close to fulfilling your life purpose, then challenges definitely come with the territory. And when it comes to going after something big and facing these rejections, setbacks, and failures, the most important piece to the puzzle is IF and HOW you choose to get back up, and ultimately, learn from them as well. 

But how exactly can you go about this mental gymnastics? The key is to reframe rejections and reimagine how a setback can just be that thing that gets you ready for your comeback, especially when things might feel quite devastating in the moment. 

This week, I have curated 10 unique excerpts from my 100+ podcast episodes, where my guests share how we can all reinterpret or use those tough times, and ultimately, how we too, can get back up with earned wisdom we can use to move forward towards the direction of any big ambition.

My guests include a former volleyball referee, professional dancer, an Olympic gold medalist, an entrepreneur with the ambition to help a billion people, a political cartoonist whose work you can see in the New York City Subway, a former combat photojournalist, a dating coach, a 14-time entrepreneur/co-host of The Zig Ziglar Podcast, a female from Nigeria who has an illustrious tech career, and a corporate executive who continues to take ballet lessons with little girls and world-class ballerinas. 

Throughout my 10-year career coaching individuals, I have realized that there is an approach to reaching out to strangers. There’s an approach when it comes to connecting with someone that you might not know, or someone you haven’t engaged with for a very long time. To learn more about this, join my community on Patreon.

Hopefully, these conversations will give you a glimpse into how you can reimagine your setback and those feelings of resistance coming from both the inside and the outside. That way, you too can build the same resiliency that our podcast guests have built in their own lives. 

By the end of this episode, feel free to share with me which excerpts truly resonated with you. Let me know by either becoming a Patreon member or connecting with me on Instagram @melissallarena.


Breeja Larson, Episode 30

Reimagine Mistakes: Reimagine mistakes by simply jumping back into the pool, and not letting that mistake change your original goal or strategy. Olympic gold medalist Breeja says a lot of us get to the point of some kind of performance or presentation. Then we become scared that our process or technique isn’t good enough. And so, we try to change things up because we want that end result so badly. When really, we just have to stick with the process that brought us that confidence in getting us there. 

Kevin Miller, Episode 73

Reimagine Failure: Reimagine failure by simply not seeing it as a final state. But instead, just trying a lot of different things to see what works and what doesn’t. 

Emily Pihlaja, Episode 9 

Fearlessness: Imagine stepping into on known territory and feet fearless, fearless by taking a leap of faith, and yes, sometimes, into the actual air. Ballet dancer Emily talks about nailing down a dance move with faith.

David Meltzer, Episode 61

Resistance: Reimagine how you think about gatekeepers, and things that might be in our way from accomplishing our goals. David thinks resistance is an anomaly and that you have to use your free will to expand, grow, and accelerate by clearing the interference by not focusing on those things you don’t want in your life. 

Connell Barrett, Episode 75 

Rejection: Dating coach Connell talks about embracing rejection.   

Cameron Schmidt, Episode 14

Ownership: Reimagine making people upset by your words or actions by simply owning your own discomfort. 

Feggo, Episode 42

Challenge: Reimagine even harsh opinions and rejections and think of them as a challenge or a test. Political cartoonist, Feggo, handled some pretty harsh opinions when he first shared his artistry. But he was able to leverage that as a learning moment, instead of being completely devastated. And so, when faced with a challenge, instead of taking things personally, just persevere.

Jane Collier, Episode 8

Focus: Reimagine where to put your focus, especially when you put yourself or you’re placed into rooms where some people might not think you belong. 

Stefan Zaklin, Episode 3

Curiosity: Get curious about how other people might be perceiving your skills and your accomplishments, and then do something about it. Instead of feeling rejected and feeling defensive, understand where someone else might be coming from and get feedback on the way you present yourself.

Jane Egerton-Idehen, Episode 38

Perception: Reimagine whether to accept other people’s opinions and limitations they have placed on you. Nigerian-Based STEM Advocate Jane Egerton-Idehen offers a perspective pertaining to our gender, equality, and expectations.   

Links to continue to learn from:

The 10 Episodes:

  1. Episode 30: 
  2. Episode 73: 
  3. Episode 09: 
  4. Episode 61: 
  5. Episode 75: 
  6. Episode 14: 
  7. Episode 42: 
  8. Episode 08: 
  9. Episode 03: 
  10. Episode 38: 

About Melissa Llarena

Melissa brings a makerspace mindset that is laser-focused on creatively making space for courage for those with a big message to share with the world. A makerspace is a collaborative workspace with very different tools meant for making things fueled by active imaginations. In a makerspace, the goal is to inspire new creations. In Melissa’s program called Courage Makerspace ™ we are making space for courage in your daily life so that you can become an incredible thought leader who has the courage to connect, communicate, and create something incredible that will have an impact on the world. 

What makes Courage Makerspace™ different is that it uniquely brings an interdisciplinary and creative approach to high-performance coaching. This online program is based on psychological principles, the art of storytelling, and incorporates proprietary experiential tools that harness the power of our imagination. Melissa has infused proven strategies and insights that have empowered clients around the world.  Her background includes a psychology degree from NYU, an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and she holds a Transformational Coaching Academy certificate based on Tony Robbins principles and Landmark Education insights. She is a native New Yorker who has lived/worked in Paris as well as London, and courageously relocated to Sydney, Australia with her family.

Want to be a COURAGEOUS thought leader who is fulfilling their life purpose?

If you intend to become a thought leader and have the courage to accomplish your life purpose faster than you’ve imagined possible, book an appointment with me in the next 24 hours. We’re going to assess where you are on this confidence journey, then we’re going to put our heads together and come up with a step-by-step game plan to define how you can rebuild your courage when you need it. Book this free session by going to

Want to continue the conversation?

Find me on Instagram! You can read my daily mini-blogs centered on the same three topics that my podcast features: creativity, courage, and curiosity. I believe that without all three it would be impossible to solve the challenges we were each uniquely made to solve. Wouldn’t you agree? I’m easy to find on Instagram @melissallarena

Rather keep it professional?

Let’s connect on LinkedIn. I encourage every single podcast listener to connect with me.

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You’ll also see how I have connected with powerful world leaders so that you can network more effectively in any field or help you pitch hard-to-reach guests on your own platform. Then if you are feeling extra generous for only $10/a month, you’ll get everything previously mentioned plus be invited to my monthly LIVE 30-Minute “Ball Juggling” Group Calls where I’ll field your business or work-life questions, podcast/guest questions, and share with you courage hacks and imaginative tips so you can feel sane, level-headed, and stay on track pertaining to your upcoming goals.

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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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