In 1999, author and motivational speaker Willie Jolle wrote a best-selling book, “A Setback is a Setup for a Comeback”.

In this work the author explores the curveballs that life can throw your way and how successful people respond to those obstacles. The work gives twelve simple strategies that can turn your “trials into triumphs, your problems into possibilities, and your setbacks into comebacks.” I thought about that concept, turning a “setback into a comeback,” several times during 2017 and 2018. A lifetime of battling obesity and diabetes led to two below knee amputations, congestive heart failure and stage 5 kidney disease, which requires dialysis three times a week. At age 52, I was certainly facing a setback with a tough comeback road ahead.

Prior to my health issues, I had been a successful customer experience executive. At the height of my career, I was Director of Global Customer Care for a large retail organization. In this capacity I led a Vendor Management Program consisting of seven Business Processing Outsourcers (BPOs) in five countries and ten cities with up to 1000 FTEs worldwide. After eighteen months of multiple operations, extended hospital stays and rehabilitation, I was staging the comeback of a lifetime. I was challenged with recovering while building a Training/Coaching/Speaking business and releasing two books.

“Recognizing your fear does not mean that you do not feel fear!
… Feel the fear and do it anyways.”

As a new entrepreneur, I have discovered three keys to engineering a comeback:


Recognizing your fear does not mean that you do not feel fear! It does mean that you place it in its’ proper perspective. I was afraid of launching a new business and how my former colleagues would respond to me now that I was reaching out to them to sell my services. I learned to acknowledge my fears and not be overwhelmed by them. Susan Jeffers says, “feel the fear and do it anyways.” Norman Vincent Peale in his book “The Power of Positive Thinking” says, “don’t take counsel of your fear.”

REMEMBER Your Past Victories.

During my extended rehabilitation, I had to remind myself of all the great things I had accomplished in the past. Prior to my illnesses, I had built a great career developing relationships with respected leaders across the world. I also had a beautiful family and enjoyed the respect of my community. I had to recognize that I was still the same person despite my new disabilities. John Maxwell’s “Law of the Mirror” in his book 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth states that it is “impossible to consistently behave in a manner inconsistent with how we see ourselves.” Although I now had two prosthetic legs and I was learning to walk again, I had to remind myself of the great things that I was capable of doing before anyone else would believe in my potential.

RUN Towards Your Enemy.

To engineer a comeback, you have to take intentional action in a positive direction. In one of the greatest underdog stories of all time, David and Goliath, the young future King of Israel demonstrates this by taking his sling and 5 smooth stones and running towards the giant! My illness was my giant, and I would run towards this enemy by completing two books and launching a business, Korrior Inc., prior to my release from a nursing home! I literally wrote my first book while having two fifteen-gauge dialysis needles plunged deeply into my left arm three days a week while typing my book using my right arm.

My story is certainly not complete, but I am in the midst of engineering a successful comeback from my setback. Your setback may be an illness or career change or the loss of a relationship. No matter your obstacle, I encourage you to recognize your fears, remember your past victories and run towards your giant to start your comeback today!


Guest Author Bio:

Darren C. Lyons ( is a 20-year customer experience professional with expertise in diverse industries including retail, credit cards, auto loans, telephony and property and casualty insurance.

As Director of Global Customer Care for a large retail organization, he managed the relationship of seven BPO Partners in ten cities across five countries increasing Customer Satisfaction scores over 50% in a six-month period. Through his affiliation with the John Maxwell Group, he is a trainer, speaker, and coach with international executive coaching clients in 3 countries. He facilitates several training seminars in including “The Color Code Personality Assessment”, “The 5 Tools of Priority Management,” and Mastermind Groups (

His book, A Day in the Life in a Skilled Nursing Facility, is available @

His next book, With Worn Out Tools: Navigating The Rituals of Mid Life will be available spring 2019.

For speaking engagements, please contact Darren at [email protected]