Don’t Just Bounce Back, Bounce Forward: Career Advice from Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

We often hear about the term “bounce back” as prevalent life advice. Such a powerful phrase motivates people to see that though setbacks can push us further away from our original goal, we can return to our original state.

However, what if there’s a better response? Adam Grant suggests bouncing forward instead. He delves into how both he and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg have researched ways to build resilience in the face of adversity. Their recently published book, Option B, sheds insight on moving forward. ­­

In the scope of navigating careers, people inevitably run into failure. However, it is important to reassess the situation. What is truly the root of the problem? Sandberg highlights the three sources from which it can arise: you, the other person, and the relationship itself. Rather than blaming your boss or internalizing the failures, the “bounce forward” approach encourages people to evaluate the third factor: the relationship between the two people. In other words, as Grant puts it, “It’s not me. It’s not you­­. It’s us.”

“Bouncing forward” reminds us to not only heal the problem at its wound, but to also fix the problem at its source. Building strong relationships is a major factor in determining career success, and it is a skill that we continue to learn to improve. If you have encountered a setback in the workplace, just remember — not only can you bounce back, but you can bounce forward.

By: Sharon Chiang