Can I Turn My Setbacks Into Steps Forward? With Dr. Gregory Jantz [Episode 292]

Turn Setbacks Steps Forward Dr. Gregory Jantz

GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book Why Failure Is Never Final by this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to find out how!

Most of us grow up thinking failure is bad. And, let’s face it, it never feels good! Failure—and all the bad feelings that go with it—are real, like unemployment, bankruptcy, and divorce, just to name a few.

Over time though, we might stop thinking we’ve failed at something and instead start believing we are failures.

But the truth is, if we’re willing to venture anything at all, we are going to fail. The question is, how will we view our failures―and what will we do with them?

So today, Dr. Gregory Jantz is back on the 4:13 to share how God’s view of success has more to do with who we are than what we do. He’ll not only help you redefine failure, but also give you strategies and paradigm shifters to turn every setback into a stepping stone.

Meet Dr. Jantz

Dr. Gregory Jantz is a psychologist and licensed mental health counselor. He’s the author of 40 books and has appeared on Dr. Phil as well as CNN, FOX, ABC, and NBC.

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Turn My Setbacks Into Steps Forward? With Dr. Gregory Jantz [Episode 292]

Dr. Gregory Jantz: It's important that we understand, irregardless of past failures, past perceived failures, things that you feel like, Man, I just can't forgive myself, there's still a plan, and the plan for you is good. Let's work through what we need to and let's start a new life pattern.

Jennifer Rothschild: Most of us grow up thinking that failure is bad. And let's face it, it never feels good. Failure and all the bad feelings that go with it, it's real, like, you know, unemployment or bankruptcy or divorce, just to name a few. Over time, though, we might stop thinking that we failed at something, and instead we might begin to believe that we are failures. But according to today's guest, failure is never final. Dr. Gregory Chance is back with us, and he is going to remind us that God's definition of success has more to do with who we are than what we do.

So on The 4:13 today, you are going to get strategies and paradigm shifters to turn every setback into a stepping stone. So forward march family. Here we go.

K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hey, friends. I'm here with K.C., and we're just here to help you be and do more than you feel capable of as you're living that "I Can" life of Philippians 4:13.

We've been busy. Like, we just kind of rushed in here, had a couple of technical issues. Now we're back. And so I barely even got to ask you, K.C., how you are today, what's going on in your world. This is risky, by the way, may I just say, the unedited K.C., asking him a question when I don't know the answer. It's kind of like being a lawyer. You never ask K.C. a question for which you do not know the answer. But I'm asking.

K.C. Wright: Okay, I'll just tell you one recent story.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, tell me.

K.C. Wright: Because we could be here all day.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, I know.

K.C. Wright: But I will tell you this cool thing that happened this past Saturday. I had to be at a hotel close by my house around noon the other day because we were doing a run-through of an event that I was honored to emcee.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay.

K.C. Wright: So I don't know how this started, but I am the official emcee of the city we live in.

Jennifer Rothschild: I know you are. You are.

K.C. Wright: And so not too long ago, I emceed three events night after night.

Jennifer Rothschild: It's 'cause you've got a great voice and you're funny.

K.C. Wright: I just love it.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, you're good at it.

K.C. Wright: I mean, it's weird. There's no business like show business, and I get done with one event going, "Where are we going next?"

But anyway, so I show up at this event, I just got out of the gym, and I walk in. There's the gal in charge of the event, and she's introducing me to people, and she's like, "Oh, K.C., you need to meet the auctioneer for this event. You'll be working side by side with him." And she introduced me to a friend that I had not seen for 30 years.

Jennifer Rothschild: You're kidding me?

K.C. Wright: Now, let me back up.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay.

K.C. Wright: When I was a teenager, I had a buddy that I ran with, and his name was Craig. And we were two peas in a pod. If I was peanut butter, he was jelly. I was Snoopy, he was Charlie. God separated us because we were no good together.

Jennifer Rothschild: Because you would have been in jail by now.

K.C. Wright: By now, right? But the last time I saw him was in August in 1992.

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow.

K.C. Wright: I know that because I have a picture of us. Back then, before social media, we used to get old-time photos done.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, yeah. Right. We get them developed and we -- yeah. Like, were you dressed like old people at that point?

K.C. Wright: No, no.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay.

K.C. Wright: I'm dressed as a hillbilly, he's an Indian. And then we were there with a girlfriend I had and my cousin. Anyway --

Jennifer Rothschild: That's so hokey. But that's funny. Go on.

K.C. Wright: It's a great old-time photo.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, yes, yes.

K.C. Wright: Anyway, you know how throughout the years you're digging out Christmas stuff or cleaning out the garage and you find the tub of photos? Now, listen, if you're young, in your 20s and 30s, you have no idea what we're talking about.

Jennifer Rothschild: No, no, you don't.

K.C. Wright: But back in the day, we had cameras and you took a photo, and then you would have the picture developed. And so some of us older folk have all these photos in photo albums.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

K.C. Wright: Now it's all on your iCloud.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes.

K.C. Wright: Anyway, but every once in a while, I'd find these photos of my buddy Craig. And I'd be like, "Oh, Craig. Oh, my gosh, I remember we did this, we did this." But what happened to him? I couldn't find him. I forgot his last name.

Well, anyway, 30 years later --

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my gosh.

K.C. Wright: -- I'm getting ready to emcee an event and they introduce me to my friend --

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my gosh.

K.C. Wright: -- from my teenage years.

Jennifer Rothschild: I love that.

K.C. Wright: Anyway, that's just a fun story.

Jennifer Rothschild: And did he recognize you also?

K.C. Wright: No, because we've both aged.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

K.C. Wright: Yeah, we both aged.

Jennifer Rothschild: How fun, K.C. that you would both be at the same event.

K.C. Wright: Yeah, 30 years later.

Jennifer Rothschild: Unbelievable.

K.C. Wright: And I've looked for him all these years.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, and the really moral and good part of this story is neither of you are in prison.

K.C. Wright: No.

Jennifer Rothschild: So there you go.

K.C. Wright: And he has a drop-dead gorgeous, beautiful wife, with three amazing kids. And the best part is -- we were heathens when we were teenagers, and Craig loves Jesus.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, my goodness. So now you're both believers? Oh, my gosh.

K.C. Wright: And his whole family loves Jesus.

But anyway, how rad, you know, to be searching for someone -- every once in a while -- I mean, listen, I don't have time to, like, look for people.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Right.

K.C. Wright: But, you know, you're just like, "I wonder what happened," and then you look up and there's a friend of yours from 30 years ago.

Jennifer Rothschild: I love it. I love it.

K.C. Wright: That was so cool.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, you know what else I love about that, that I think all of us should think about, if we've had a friend for that long, like, even that maybe we've been in touch with, or maybe you've been married that long, it's never a bad thing to be reintroduced to that person, because we change after 30 years too, you know.

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: And just to kind of engage that person in a new way, like -- so, you know, would probably be also a really good activity. I love that. Thank you, Lord.

K.C. Wright: But that's the unfiltered drama of this week.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, that was such good drama. That was so rated G. I'm just very thankful because now I don't have to edit. And now you can introduce Dr. Jantz.

K.C. Wright: That's right. Dr. Greg Jantz is psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor. He's the author of 40 books and has appeared on shows such as Dr. Phil, CNN, Fox, ABC, and NBC. And today, y'all, he's a 4:13er. And the doctor is in, so here we go.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, Dr. Jantz, as we mentioned earlier when we were introducing you, we're so glad to have you back again. And I love your material, your resources, so let's get right down to it on this subject. We all fail. Okay? Or we all feel like we have failed. Sometimes it's just perceived. But we can get totally tripped up by this. And so my first question to you would be this: is it the failure itself that totally messes us up, or is it what goes along with it, like shame?

Dr. Gregory Jantz: Well, great question. Because one of the times -- or sometimes what we do is we label something a failure, and that's the quick judgment, "Oh, I've failed." And then we see ourselves in a certain way, and I just keep -- this repeated pattern. So I think, first of all, we go, okay, what am I labeling as failure? And you really led us right to it, Jennifer, and it's shame. Because a lot of times we feel like -- and usually it's something that's been traumatic in our past. It could be something that was really abusive. But in some way we were traumatized -- and maybe it was repeated times -- and we developed this view of ourselves that was really like, I'm defective, I'm not good enough, a shame-filled view of ourselves.

So then we're quick, we're quick to label, oh, I deserve this, I've failed, and so we've got to be really careful with that. And this is why it's so important -- okay, if I've got a life pattern that looks like it's been reoccurring and I'm labeling a lot of things as failure, what's the real root cause of that?

Jennifer Rothschild: And so when you mention shame, my understanding of shame -- and I would love for you to clarify this -- is -- shame is what we experience about who we are. Guilt is what we experience about what we've done. So sometimes we've failed, we've blown it, we've intentionally messed up or -- we've intentionally done something that we know was hurtful to someone. Okay? We can call that a fail. And there should be an adequate amount of remorse or guilt for that. So what is the difference between feeling shame over failure and feeling guilt over failure?

Dr. Gregory Jantz: Yeah. Well, you know, there's guilt, and guilt -- a true guilt would be, oh, I really messed up. And we know it. And we know it. And there's a corrective action. I go to a person and say, "I am so sorry. Will you forgive me?" That's a healthy response. If I'm full of shame, I may have a lot of false guilt where I just feel guilty for about everything. And even things that I have nothing to do with, I might even say, "It must be my fault," and it's not even remotely connected to me.

But I grew up in a home or environment where there was a lot of shame or I was shamed. Maybe I was told, "Why can't you be more like your sister? Look at her," or -- so comparisons. Maybe I was also put in a place of, "You never will amount to anything." And so need to be careful. Those early messages, we could really be recycling those now as adults.

Jennifer Rothschild: Recycling, that's such a good word, because sometimes it's such a habit we don't even notice. And so that leads me to this. Why does our view of failure matter so much, and then how can we begin to redefine it?

Dr. Gregory Jantz: Yeah, our view of failure does matter. Because if I'm labeling most everything in a quick judgment that I'm a failure or I've failed or I've failed again, that's really important.

Now, we also know that we're human beings and we do make mistakes. Oh, my goodness. I particularly think about some -- maybe things earlier on that -- I really did make some mistakes. But through grace, God uses these things as enormous learning curves in our life and we have an opportunity to grow stronger. And so the tough things we've been through that --really we did fumble, that's true. So we don't want to deny reality. But we also know that God can use all things for good to those who are called to his purpose. We have a purpose We have a purpose, and we need to remember that there's a greater purpose. Sometimes we get stuck on the immediate, the immediate, "Oh, I failed," and we forget, oh, no, there's a bigger picture.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, thankfully, because failure really does not have to be a dead end. But if we have the wrong view of it, sometimes we think that's it.

And so then here's another question for you. How do we determine or define what success actually is?

Dr. Gregory Jantz: Yeah. So success -- and I so appreciate your questions. Success comes in different measurements. I was thinking about yesterday, I had some -- I guess you can call them baby steps success, little breakthroughs. And it's easy to brush over those and go, "Okay, yay." But look, God starts to work in our lives and success builds upon success. I think of the books that I've done. My very first book, I had 21 rejections from publishers.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Dr. Gregory Jantz: That was back when there were more publishers.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. And less authors.

Dr. Gregory Jantz: But somewhere in my archives, I have 21 rejection letters. Now, when I'm calling them rejection letters, they're just saying they didn't want my book. But I did find -- I did find somewhere a little dinky publisher that said yes eventually. That was in 1990. And that particular book is still in print. It's been revised a number of times. And that little publisher was glad they said yes. Now, that little publisher was eaten up by a bigger one. But sometimes we've got to be persistent in things we believe in and believe that God is directing us. So all those, quote, 21 letters, they were just building up to the right yes. So you got to stay in there.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. I love that. I love that. And I think sometimes, you know, we have to redefine success as we go. Because, like, when you're getting a rejection letter or a no not now letter --

Dr. Gregory Jantz: Yes, yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- you're not thinking, Oh, I'm so proud of me, this feels so successful. But when you look at the preponderance and you're able to look back, you can see, okay, really that was success in the making, and it built the resilience you needed. And I think sometimes we take ourselves -- Dr. Jantz, I'd be curious your opinion of this. I know for me, when I get caught up and tripped up by failure and the shame that goes with it, it's because I'm taking myself way too seriously. So I would love for you to speak about that. What is our sense of self in that connection to failure and shame and success?

Dr. Gregory Jantz: I think ultimately there's -- this is why dealing with the whole person is so important. We've got to look at our relationships, we've got to look at our past. We need to look at our emotional well-being and our spiritual beliefs. Sometimes we have been shaped early on by some misbeliefs. And one misbelief we really need to examine is I'm not worthy or God can't love me or God doesn't love me. And so look at those early beliefs. They can really set us off in a direction -- if I feel from early on I'm unlovable, I'm not good enough, I'm unlovable, even God can't love me. If you have that belief, that's going to dictate decisions you make. And so this is where I say, man, we've got to get back to -- there's got to be just some core issue healing.

You know, this is our 39th year here at the center, A Place of HOPE, and I have to say that the core issue that most clients bring -- and we work with clients from all over the country -- they bring the issue -- and they don't realize it, but there could be unforgiveness or there needs to be an antidote of forgiveness in their life for themselves or for others, or receiving forgiveness. And there's something that happens when -- maybe it's forgiveness for what happened to us in the past. And I don't mean to brush over it and say it lightly, but something happens -- when we begin to have the healing of forgiveness in our life, we begin to see ourselves differently.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. That's very curious to me, because I thought of -- when you described that -- Author Stormie Omartian. And one of the things she says is forgiveness doesn't make the other person -- or we could insert or the situation -- right, but it makes you free.

Dr. Gregory Jantz: Yes.

Jennifer Rothschild: And I can see where that freedom can usher in a right sense of self. That's really something to pray and ponder. I appreciate you bringing that out.

Sometimes, though, you know, we don't want to look back at our past because that's where the failure was or that's where the injury was, and that's also where the shame may show up. But you say that looking at the past will inform your present and change your future. How does that happen?

Dr. Gregory Jantz: Yes. Isn't that exciting?

Jennifer Rothschild: Mm-hmm. Hope, right? Hope.

Dr. Gregory Jantz: Hope. Now, hope comes in our lives when we feel like there's a plan. And so having a plan -- and plans modify. But a plan for my life, a purpose for my life that I do have. As Jeremiah 1:29, I have a future and a hope. A hope. So it's important that we understand, irregardless of past failures, past perceived failures, things that you feel like, man, I just can't forgive myself, there's still a plan, and the plan for you is good. Let's work through what we need to and let's start a new life pattern.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's good. And your book does that. Your book helps to be that companion on that path, which takes some courage.

And, you know, we talked about, Greg, the link between failure and shame. Okay? So I'm also curious, is there a link between failure and fear?

Dr. Gregory Jantz: Yes. Failure and fear, that's a very interesting link. So failure and fear. Now, worry is a form of fear. Anxiety is a deeper form of fear. Anxiety usually means I have physical symptoms. And those physical symptoms could be disruptive sleep, sweaty palms, racing heart rate, so forth. So as I look at fear in my life, if I have too much fear or too much anxiety, it paralyzes me to make a good decision. It just is a paralyzing factor.

So we must look, is anxiety -- and by the way, anxiety is the number one diagnosis right now in our country. We have social anxiety, we have generalized anxiety that -- and so people are going in to primary care providers and they're getting medications for anxiety and depression, because those are the two highest reported non-medical issues. Isn't that interesting?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah. Yeah. And I'm not surprised. There is so much that can be legitimately anxiety inducing. And I know not all of us -- and me included -- are always equipped, so I can understand why that's the case. But as you've already mentioned, there is hope. And sometimes just going to the root and getting a counselor, a friend, your book, those are the kind of things that God can use to help ease that and to bring us to a sense of enlightenment.

But, you know, I'm also curious because there's some unintended results of failure, like we just talked about, but there's also some unintended results of success. Like, in your book you say it can be a double-edged sword. So talk about why success can have its own set of baggage.

Dr. Gregory Jantz: Success. Sometimes success is, well, if I have so much money or I live here, live there, have this or that, and That's what maybe in our culture has been labeled success. One of the things we need to look at is, and I was just having a conversation with my wife not long ago, we were talking about, Hey, when it all boils down to everything, what we have is our relationship, the quality, the quality of our relationships. Build first. Have those 3-5 people in your life that are life-giving relationships. Have those. As you have those relationships in your life, you'll start to probably be more optimistic. You will feel a sense of, I believe in you. We serve one another. I think we're at a time here in even our country that Our relationships and the health of our relationships really is what sees us through. So success is number one, the health of your relationships.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, I love that because we can all do that, right?

Dr. Gregory Jantz: We can do that, and it does something. If I feel peace and joy in my relationships and a commitment in my relationships, if I have a need, I know that I can share honestly with another person. I know that this person will be there for me. There's something that happens when we have those kinds of relationships.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, and that could be one of the antidotes toward all that anxiety you just mentioned. And that's very practical, developing relationships, because that leads me to this. That final section of your book is about how to reframe our failure. And you get very practical. You give actually 14 ways. So clearly, we don't have time for 14, but give us a couple of those ways that we can very practically reframe failure.

Dr. Gregory Jantz: Let's reframe failure by maybe I need to start a journal, maybe I need to start a gratitude journal. And you go, "What's that?" Well, every day write down three to five gratitudes. And do that for a while. My wife has been doing that for nine years. I don't know how many journals she's filled up. But for nine years she's been keeping a gratitude journal. And the last I asked her, she's at 27,000 gratitudes, and I'm thinking, how in the world do you do that?

Jennifer Rothschild: Wow.

Dr. Gregory Jantz: But gratitude changes things. Gratitude promotes optimism. Gratitude will ultimately change how you view yourself. And so even if you feel like a failure, you know -- well, if it's going to be a gratitude journal, it's as simple as "I'm glad I can breathe today." You know, maybe it's that simple. But start somewhere. And I just want you to have a pattern of gratitude in your life. It begins to change some things. We know that people who score high in optimism and gratitude tend to report healthier relationships. They tend to live longer. There's been some interesting studies on gratitude. So gratitude is related to failure or a sense of failure or success. Get that going.

Number two, I want you to get going on physical movement. Well, yeah, exercise, movement. You need to do self-care and take care of your physical body like never before. This is important. Because the endorphins, the dopamine, you'll start to feel better. We always feel -- I don't care. Is it a 20-minute walk? Just get moving. And maybe you're going to keep track of that on a calendar.

Drink your water, look at nutrition. Start to build a self-care plan. And I'd have to add, look at sleep. What are you going to do with sleep? Improving our sleep, so important. Those are just a couple ideas.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. And those -- what I love about those ideas, Dr. Jantz, they're very doable. We can all get a glass of water, reduce a little bit of sugar, take a nap, and go for a walk, and then tell the Lord what we're thankful for and write it down. That is so doable. Okay, listeners, you got that? You're dealing with failure, you're struggling with shame, you just got the prescription from the doctor.

All right. Now, let's move, though, to the last question here. Okay? What can you say to the person who is -- well, let me just pause and say this. I got an email a couple of days ago, because I'm in ministry and I serve women, and a lady emailed me and she was just lamenting with such regret that she failed in her marriage because she had an affair. She did what she could to try to reconcile. It doesn't look like that will be happening. And she was just basically telling me how hopeless she felt. Okay. So here would be my question. Now, that's a very difficult and extreme example, but we've all got moments where we think, gosh, there's something I failed at that I may never recover from this. Okay? Like that sweet woman, she doesn't feel like she's ever going to recover from this failure in her life. So what would you say to that person who is in Christ, yet they feel like their life is now hopeless because they will not recover from the damage of that failure?

Dr. Gregory Jantz: Yes. I do want to really acknowledge this can be quite painful and you can feel pretty hopeless in it. There's got to be a process of -- even if it's self-forgiveness, there's got to be a process that you're working through with someone. And maybe it's going to take a little bit of time and some effort, but there's got to be -- really, there's a spiritual breakthrough, there are things you need to do in emotional health and well-being. Look for the three deadly emotions: anger, fear, and guilt. A healthy person emotionally is a person that's going to manage anger -- another word for anger could be hurt -- fear and anxiety and guilt. And by guilt, I usually mean a false guilt or shame. So look at how am I going to deal with those three somewhat deadly and disabling emotions. So that's got to be a part of the plan.

Jennifer Rothschild: So, so interesting and so hopeful, right? I mean, to quote the good doctor, how you view failure has everything to do with how you define success. So 4:13ers, let's define success like God does.

K.C. Wright: Dr. Jantz's book will help you do just that, and as always, we're giving one away. So go to Jennifer's Insta @jennrothschild to enter to win a copy of "Why Failure is Never Final." And we'll also link you to his book, all his books, plus the transcript of this powerful conversation with the doctor at

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, our people, park yourself here for a while if you need to and think about all you heard. Ask God where this message meets you. And remember, you don't need to be intimidated about things that might be uncomfortable, because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.

K.C. Wright: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, you can.

K.C. Wright: Let your setback be a comeback.

Jennifer Rothschild: Isn't that a good phrase?

K.C. Wright: That's what I'm talking about.

Jennifer Rothschild: That's what I'm talking about.

K.C. Wright: You're not who you once were.

Jennifer Rothschild: No.

K.C. Wright: You're a new creation.

Jennifer Rothschild: And your past is not a prophecy of your future.

K.C. Wright: Nope.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hmm-mm.


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