Everybody Loves A Good Comeback – You Too Can Rise From The Ashes

Watching Big Shot the previous Sunday, former NCAA Division I champion basketball coach Marvyn Korn (John Stamos) has these very words said to him by a good friend who is also a chief basketball scout: “Everybody loves a good comeback.”

For anyone who has caught up with this show, the feelgood story on Disney+ is about basketball’s most successful college coach of all time. At the start, we see Marvyn have a melt down during a baskeball game. He involved throwing a chair at the referee and, as you can imagine, he was subsequently banned from the sport. The other consequence of his explosive behaviour was he couldn’t find a coaching job, until his agent found him the head coaching job at a private all girls school far from “home.”

At his new place of employment, we get to see who Marvyn really is. Or, perhaps more to the point, through his interactions with his young athletes and assistant coach, he begins to give himself permission to let his inner being shine through. Because of the change that starts to occur, along with the humanising of the “demonic” coach, Marvyn suddenly finds himself in demand as the legendary coach once more.

Image courtesy of Disney Plus Informer Matt Jones

When it all boils down, a comeback is tantamount to forgiveness, or is it? I think this is one of the big changes we have seen in recent times: the lack of forgiveness. People are being torched unnecessarily, unfairly and without good reason. But, in the interests of this post, I will park this particular point for now.

I can honestly say though, throughout my career, I have had numerous setbacks and the comebacks to match. That’s how it is in the political arena: you either fit in or you don’t, and rarely is it something in between (see my post Rooster Today, Feather Duster Tomorrow).

So how do you plan for a good comeback?

When it is all said and done, there are a number of considerations when planning an effective comeback:

Be Calm

I know this is easy to say when your world is falling apart. However, being calm is essential at a time like this. This is not the time to burn bridges, although you might find yourself singeing them a tiny bit. Unlike Marvyn, I have never exploded, thrown a chair or abused anyone. However, when my number was up, I calmly and rationally discussed what I needed to do to close matters out and moved on. This is the same as being in the zone, or compartmentalising your thoughts and feelings. The name of the game is being professional i.e. being calm. If you want some further tips on staying calm, Linda at Spiritual Fantasia in her post (and blog) Emotional Turmoil: Navigate Rough Waters lists some simple tips on dealing with our emotional landscape.

Take Time Out

Marvyn’s managment agent was right. Marvyn needed to do “penance,” regarding his actions. Time out takes on a variety of different forms. It can be anything from reconnecting at home through to that long promised vacation. For others, it means moving to somewhere else and working in the same industry or even another industry altogether. Some even become volunteers.

As a minimum, the time out taken should be a minimum of three months. However, 6 – 12 months may have a more healing effect. There are those I know who have taken the best part of five years to make their comeback, during which time, they made their mark somewhere else.

I won’t sugarcoat what I am about to say next. Some of us have “time out” enforced on us. Yes, I have colleagues who have been dismissed or served jail time for what they have done. Of course, this means they have plenty of time to reflect on why they have ended up where they are in life. Once time is served, with their rehabilitation and/or penance is complete, they have generally been able to find themselves gainfully employed once more.


To stop the setback you experience going around in your head forever in a day, you need to do two things: see to your health and learn from your bruising past experience.

When it comes to your health, more often than not, we are talking about your mental health here. Everyone is different regarding their experience when it comes to mental health. The trick is to stop finding a way to help you stop the spiral. Caz, a former nurse has something to say about this at her blog: MentalHealth360. See 7 quick and easy tips to control your anger.

Taking time out to learn from this very bruising experience is essential for you to move forward. Often, there is not much you have done wrong and so it takes time to reconcile being moved on against your core being. However, you need to do the self analysis.


Once you are settled in your own mind, then it is time to plan your comeback. The plan shouldn’t be too complicated. As a suggestion, your plan can consist of the following, with milestones for each action:

  • Start eating better. There are much more gifted writers out there than me on how to do this. Take a look at Ang’s blog Lose Weight With Ang and see how you can start to get your head around how to better sustain yourself;
  • Undertake some form of exercise and/or look into how you can revisit your spiritual well being. Cindy with her blog Unique Times not only has great advice and videos on how to build up a gentle fitness regime, but advice on how to build up your spiritual well being as well;
  • Engage with friends and family. When was the last time you really connected with those closest to you? I know this my seem harder that it is, but just start a conversation anywhere and work your way into what is on your mind;
  • Weigh up your future e.g. ask yourself: do I want to get back into the industry?, or do I want to work for myself?, or do I want to do something completely different? Micah of Markus & Micah has some thoughts on a “holiday life or how to create the life you love;”
  • List potential stakeholders that will be a form part of your future. In other words, draw up a list of those people or organisations that wil help you reconnect.
Let Key People Know You Are Back!

There you are. You have served your time, are feeling refreshed and have your plan of attack ready to go. So what do you do next? Simply really. Reach out and let the key stakeholders in your life know that your are back and rearing to go. This may be your professional association, former work colleagues, your coach or mentor or friends and relatives. I understand that this is not easy, but once you do it, you will feel much better for it and have great peace of mind.

A Comeback Story

On one particular occasion my future as a CEO was in the balance. I had been through a turbulent eight months. Over the course of the day in question, the mediator was painting an unpleasant picture regarding what was turning out to be my day of reckoning. Although, I knew the numbers were still with me, by the end of that day (and after discussing the situation at length with Linda), I decided that it was time to move on. So I met with the powers that be and announced my decision. I calmly thanked them for the opportunity that they had provided to me in leading the organisation, however in the interests of all, it was time for me to go. In short, I fell on my sword. The majority though were not happy with my decision, but they understood. My staff, in the main, were, distraught. The bottom line, I wasn’t prepared to go through a further six months of non ending, character assassination that would eventually de-stable the organisation. My family certainly didn’t need all the nonsense that comes with this either.

From when I made my announcement, it took me a month to close things out with the organisation and a further month to sort matters out with my family. I then took three months out to contemplate my navel and stop blaming myself for what happened. My family was very patient during this time. Eventually, I improved my diet and began to get fit. At the end of three months, I had a temporary job offer come thorugh as a CEO, which I accepted, and in turn was accepted very warmly by that organisation. By the end of my four month contract, I had a firm plan in place. I then let all and sundry know I was around. A range of opportunities presented not long afterwards.

To this day, I have not had to advertise my availability. Word of mouth has been sufficient. However, I know this approach is not the best one for most people. There is no doubt in today’s world, an online presence is essential. Kally at MiddleMe has some very interesting things to say about marketing yourself here and in her post 8 Tips for Reentering the Workforce After a Long Absence, has fabulous pointers on how to pull it all together and find that meaningful job.

A Different Kind of Comeback

I remember as the relieving CEO at the Shire of Sandstone five years ago, I had been recalled there no less than three times during the year, for one reason or another. Anyway, on the last occasion, towards the end of my last tenure there, I had organised an opening night for an art exhibition over the long weekend. It was a very successful evening. When it came to the speeches, I was first cab of the rank. During my speech, I commented “This year, I feel like I have had more comebacks than Elvis.” To which those in the room replied “no, offence, Sean, but we hope we don’t have to see you again anytime soon.” And we all had a good laugh about that. When a person or an organisation asks you back time and again, you know you must be doing something right. In particular, at Sandstone, they told me I had a very calming presence and this had allowed the community to breathe and re-establish its own peace of mind 😊

What’s your comeback story? Please feel free to comment below!

Some of the artworks being prepared for the Sandstone Exhibition (Author’s own image)
Looking East at the Sandstone sunset from my humble abode. Note Venus to the left (Author’s own image)
Shire Office – Sandstone. Building is made of rammed earth (Author’s own image)

18 Comments on “Everybody Loves A Good Comeback – You Too Can Rise From The Ashes”

  1. A good comeback is such a wonderful thing. Many are so embarrassed that they would rather start anew, which takes a lot of time and energy to do and may not be the best choice. Go back and rise from the ashes, like what you said. I totally agree.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Such a colorful career you have had, Sean. We are big believers in time out, too. Space reveals so much and it is often a lifesaver most people do not take. Really enjoyed reading this one! Well-thought and thorough. And thanks for the link, too!

    Liked by 2 people

    • My pleasure regarding the link 😊 I am so glad you enjoyed reading this post and thank you for the positive feedback. We have been so brow beaten into believing that taking time out is weakness, when in reality it is the smart play. I always look forward to what both of you have to say next πŸ˜‰


  3. HI SEAN! Love the comeback story about pursuing other opportunities that honored your calm spirit. Reflection is soo important to ground us when times feel tough. Thank you for supporting my blog, I cried in gratitude about it! One of my comeback stories is being absorbed in the voice of anxiety until I discovered meditation and learned to become mindful of my thoughts! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello Linda, thank you for your humbling and positive support. Your blog is wonderful. You have a unique way of expressing key issues and your posts are so vibrant and inviting. What an awesome comeback story of yours regarding the use of meditation to help manage the voice of anxiety. I look forward to talking again soon!


  4. I’m both a lover of basketball and comebacks. I’m inspired to watch The Big Shot. Thanks for sharing.

    Donald Trump’s The Art of the Comeback has been an influence regarding the word and act. I must have read the book almost two decades ago. How time flies. I know he’s not the most favored guy at the moment, but I can tell you that the book partly helped me believe that it’s okay to go through those bruising experiences. But it’s not okay to stay down and out.
    Thanks for sharing the great nuggets to a Comeback.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your awesome feedback and I appreciate you discussing one of those names that shall not be mentioned.

      I gathered you like basketball. I like Big Shot a lot. It is extremely well written and it deals with some key societal issues and messages, without overplaying them.

      There is no doubt in my mind that DT is a polarising figure. My biggest issue with Mr T is that he had an opportunity to address some pressing key societal and international issues and he didnt take up that option. I think it’s clear he did have a very positive impact on the home economy until the pandemic hit. That being said, he wasn’t on his own here re this issue. It also doesn’t mean he hasn’t put out good leadership and managment material in the past such as his book (I won’t talk about The Apprentice. I watched enough of it to make my own self informed opinion πŸ˜‰). I am very glad that his book helped you 😊 He is right: it is quite okay to go through those bruising experiences, but it is not okay to stay down and out. It’s how we pick ourselves back up and dust ourselves off that counts the most. When we do, it is always an amazing surprise!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I cannot argue, but totally agree with all your points, including Mr. DT. Will definitely watch Big Shot. More books can still be written on Comeback. As you rightly stated, β€œit’s how we pick ourselves back up … that counts the most.” Thanks again for your valuable insights.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for this insightful and inspiring post! I have so far not been in a position to make much of a comeback, but I find myself thinking these tips are helpful for those looking to launch into a new chapter as well. Thanks also for being willing to share your comeback stories. You model an admirable dignity and self-awareness in them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I cannot thank you enough for your comments, Cerid 😊 Yes, you are right, the same points can be used to help launch oneself into a new chapter. Hopefully, you are never faced with the need to make a comeback! One’s dignity is always important, and as much as you might feel you want to lash out (like we see in movies and tv shows), it doesn’t really make you feel any better and others will rmember you for all the wrong reasons. Are you still very busy at work?

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s awesome you were able to undertake some training so that you can can perform a new duty. Training and development at work is so important in terms of not only what you do now, but also regarding what you might do next. Good luck with what happens in your next chapter 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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