Liz: The successful people take from the previous experience that they’re starting over from, and they don’t do that again. Right? Especially if it didn’t work. They try something else.
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Chris: This is the Penny Forward podcast, a show about blind people building bright futures one penny at a time.
Liz: I’m Liz Bottner.
Chris: And I’m Chris Peterson.
Liz: We are blind people learning, from each other, what it takes to be successful in our personal, professional, and financial lives.
Liz: Before we start, we’d like to thank Ron and Lisa Brookes, at Accessible Avenue, for sponsoring the Penny Forward podcast. I’m sure many of us have experienced frustration and uncertainty when trying to use public transportation or paratransit services that are either inaccessible, or just poorly designed for meeting our needs. Accessible Avenue works with transit agencies and other mobility providers to make transportation services accessible for everyone, including those of us who are blind or visually impaired. Accessible Avenue also works with individuals and organizations who need training or assistance with public transportation problems. You can learn more at
Chris: We’d also like to thank Kane Brolin of Brolin Wealth Management for sponsoring the podcast. Investing doesn’t have to be complicated, and it’s never too late to take action. But depending on how far away your goals are, the decisions you need to make will be very different. Kane Brolin is a blind certified financial planner, and chartered special needs consultant, who may be able to help you, no matter how much you have, or what stage of life you are in. Learn more by visiting
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Chris: Since the beginning of the Covid- 19 pandemic, in 2020, the American Council of the Blind has held a series of community calls via zoom, to allow blind people to get together, and converse with each other, and sometimes educate each other. Penny Forward, in collaboration with ACB Next Generation, an affiliate of ACB which caters to people ages 18 to 40, but offers supporting memberships for those of us who are a little older, holds a monthly community call called “Financial Sense,” on the third Thursday of every month. You can join us in that community call, where we talk about all kinds of financial topics, by joining the ACB Community E-mail list. You can find out more about how to do that by looking in the show notes for this week’s episode. This podcast episode is a series of excerpts from our latest ACB community call where we were talking about dealing with setbacks.
Chris: Setbacks occur in lots of different phases in our lives, including saving and investing, especially in a volatile period of the stock market, such as the one we are experiencing now. But you can also experience setbacks when trying to find a job, or, when doing something as simple as trying to get breakfast. And some of us deal with setbacks in a combination of these ways, but they essentially fall into three categories. Avoidance, emotionalism, usually anger, and problem solving. Avoidance is something that I think we’re all tempted to do when dealing with a tough to handle setback. And Moe is one of those people that confirms that avoidance is exactly the coping style that she uses.
Moe: I definitely would love to be problem solving first and foremost, but, um, avoidance is probably a huge one.
Chris: Many of us, when faced with a setback, get angry. Amber is one of those.
Amber: I get mad.
Chris: Jenene is also a person that gets angry. And she doesn’t necessarily always deal with her anger in a very healthy way.
Jenene: Chris, much like you, I get angry at my computer, and I slam it down, and I break the hard drive. And then, I’ve learned, one way is you just buy a keyboard, and then when you’re mad at it, you can just throw it, and bang it with a hammer, and then buy a new twenty-dollar keyboard. Because it’s in my budget, for destroying computers that are evil. But, but if you plan for it, you know, some people, you can hit a pillow, or scream into a pillow. One thing I do also is I go swimming in my pool, and I’ll go under water, and I can just scream under water.
Chris: Problem solving is probably the most productive way of dealing with setbacks, and many of us get there through some period of avoidance, or some period of anger. Amber confirms this.
Amber: I go do something else, and then try to come back to it to see if I can figure it out.
Chris: Jenene sometimes enlists help from a friend when she wants to solve a problem after being angry. Or maybe just to get over the anger itself.
Jenene: And then, another way I cope is I call my best friend. (Chuckle.) And she listens to me. (Laugh.) She listens to me cry, and complain, and stress out, so, having a friend, or else, doing something crafty. Like I will bake bread, or I will bake cookies, or else I’ll do a craft project, like I’ll make a wreath, or I’ll make pens, or I’ll … I’ll just create something crafty.
Chris: Finally, there are some people that are just even keel all the way, and can seem to handle any setback with grace. Our cohost and coproducer, Liz Botner, is one of those.
Liz: My coping style for setbacks are really to kind of break them down into smaller things, smaller groups of things, and try to take them on that way, rather than the whole huge setback, whatever it happens to be. And also realizing that it’s temporary. It may not seem that way in the short term, but in the honest to gosh long term scheme of things, you know, this setback is temporary, and let’s break this down, and figure out what I need to do first, second, third, so forth, to make this setback not a thing anymore.”
Chris: In an ideal world, everyone would be as even keel as Liz and have a problem solving coping style. But some of us really need to work hard to get there. Liz has some additional thoughts on how successful people deal with setbacks.
Liz: First of all, they realize what’s going on, and then they figure out, hopefully, they figure out what they want, and then how to get from where they are to where they want to be. The first step of that is realizing, “This isn’t the be all end all. Success is a journey. And things are gonna happen that may not seem like they would happen, but when they happen, and you can’t plan for everything. Because you may think that something is gonna turn out in one outcome, and it actually turns out in a completely different way. And showing up for yourself. Really and truly. I think that successful people, at least the successful people that I know, they show up for themselves. Even when they may not want to. They show up for themselves, and they try to do something each day to get to where they want to be. They may not get to everything they wanted to get to on that particular day, but at least they’ve shown up for themselves.
Male Announcer: We’ll be right back. But first, …
Byron: Hi. This is Byron Lee of
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Liz: Is there something you’d like to talk about? We’d love to hear from you. Visit
pennyforward.com/podcast to learn how to contact us, or to leave us a voice mail that we may share on air.
Chris: No matter how you deal with setbacks, it can really feel good to have done something. Even if you’re not sure that the thing you did has had any impact. Laura has a story to tell about a time when she did something that made her feel good.
Laura: I want to tell you about an experience I had the other day. There’s a breakfast at Panera, and I had it about four years ago, and I absolutely loved it, and every time I went to get this breakfast, something went majorly wrong, and I never got it. Okay, so now I really want it. I had to jump through hoops to get what I wanted on the menu, I had a number of different things I wanted, and, you know, you’re trying to figure out “how does this work, and how does that work,” and things were kind of mixed up, and oh my gosh, there’s lots of things. So, I finally get through, and order my breakfast, and everything’s, well, okay. But then, there was a thing that came up and said, “Why don’t you give us a review?” Well, I was so impressed that I’d gotten my breakfast, finally, after all that time, that I went into the review section, and in the review field, in the narrative field, you could type something, but you couldn’t read anything at all. So, I called Apple Care and said “Hey. How does this work?” And they said, “Well that’s probably a developer problem.” I said, “Okay. Where do I go? Do I go to App store, or do I go to Door Dash?” And neither one of us knew. I did go to Door Dash, and I talked to a person, and they didn’t really know what I was talking about. So I finally got through to a supervisor, and after a very long call with a lot of information, I think they’re gonna try to make some changes. I know I didn’t hit everything, I gave them some very basics, but I did make it very clear that, “Hey! If somebody wants to review you, give you a good review, a bad review, whatever kind of review it is,” I said, “If they can’t read it, and they can’t type in it well and know what they typed, they’re gonna walk away.” I’m really proud of myself that I did that. I do do a lot of writing back to developers about things that don’t seem to work well, but I’m like you. I feel that if I get on a website, I should be able to use it as well as anyone else.
Chris: While Laura was telling that story, Liz had an additional thought.
Liz: There is one thing I wanted to say too about success, and starting over, and things like that. Yes, sometimes you do have to start over, but I think what differentiates the successful people from the unsuccessful people, or maybe the people who have a little bit harder time getting to success, is that the successful people take from the previous experience that they’re starting over from, and they don’t do that again. Right? Especially if it didn’t work. They try something else. Or they take what did work from that experience that didn’t fully work, and they put what worked into a new experience with other things. They’re not repeating the same thing over and over again.
Chris: And this story from Allen illustrates that point very well.
Allen: Okay. This is actually a food story, so yay. The other person mentioned a food story as well. I was on my way back from a restaurant, I had just eaten a burger for dinner, yum, and I got lost. Because the sound of my cane was muffled in the snow. And I don’t know if anybody can relate to that, but I ended up going the wrong direction. And I heard a very busy street in front of me, and I’m like, “Wait a minute, that is not supposed to be here.” So I ended up opening my phone’s compass, and reorienting myself with that, and then I ended up going the right way and I got home and everything was happy.
Chris: Learning skills, no matter what they are, can really help us deal with setbacks, even setbacks that we may not have ever planned for. But sometimes, it’s not knowing how to deal with setbacks that’s the problem. Sometimes we worry about what our friends are going to think.
Liz: If they’re good friends, they will remind you that, “You know what, it doesn’t have to turn out exactly as you want it to turn out.” And they will remind you that the only person that you have to be accountable for is yourself, and if they’re good friends, they will support you in whatever you want to do. But it is really hard, because it is hard not to get caught up in, “Oh my gosh, what are they gonna think of me?” And sometimes we might lose people who we thought were friends, we might actually end up losing those people when situations are tough, and that’s really a shame, and that’s actually happened to me before, but in true honesty, that has made me realize, “That person really wasn’t a true friend. Because if they were a true friend, they wouldn’t be having such a close minded thought process.”
Chris: As their name suggests, setbacks can set us back. Sometimes, they may put us off of achieving our original goal. Amber has this problem.
Amber: I’m actually saving up money for school, and not just for school, but I’m saving money for my long term, for my future. And I’m actually kind of proud of what I’ve been doing so far. But, I may have to tap into some of that savings for a dentist appointment next month. And I’m like “Ah, great. I really don’t want to do that. I want to keep this saving going.”
Chris: Amber’s conundrum is common. Because often, when we get into the groove of saving and investing for a long term goal, we forget that that also gives us a cushion to deal with short term setbacks. In this case, because Amber has been saving, she has money to tap into for going to the dentist. And she doesn’t need to put that money on to a high interest credit card. So in the long term, while it may take longer for her to save the money that she thought she was going to save for her long term goals, in the short term, she’s better off because she won’t need to be making credit card payments after she goes to the dentist. She’ll be able to continue saving at the rate she was saving before. And that, my friends, is how we deal with setbacks. And for more discussion and advice like this, join Penny Forward by visiting
pennyforward.com/membership where you can take online courses, and participate in weekly virtual chats and other members only benefits so that you can become a better manager of money. Subscriptions are just nine dollars a month, or 99 dollars a year. I hope you’ll join us today.
Liz: Is there something you’d like to talk about? We’d love to hear from you. Visit pennyforward.com/podcast to learn how to contact us or to leave us a voicemail that we may share on air. And while you’re there, please make a small donation to support our work to develop accessible and affordable financial education programs for people who are blind.
Chris: The Penny Forward podcast is produced by Liz Bottner and Chris Peterson, Audio editing and post production is provided by Byron Lee, and transcription is provided by Ann Verduin. Web hosting is provided by Taylor’s Accessible Branding Solutions.
Liz: Penny Forward is a community of blind people building bright futures one penny at a time. Visit
to learn more about who we are and what we do.
Chris: For all of us in the Penny Forward community, I’m Chris Peterson, …
Liz: And I’m Liz Bottner.
Chris: Have a great week.