Whether you like it or not, everyone loses.
You win some, and you lose some. Even if
during these recessionary times it feels like there is
more losing than winning.
But it's how
you handle your loss that determines if you are going to
be a long-term winner.
In our competitive culture, losing often means you
are "below average," "mediocre," or "not good
enough." We are taught at a young age that
being on the losing side is not the place we want to
be. Oftentimes when we lose, we just
want to pack it up and give in.
And so, we carry around negative judgments
about losing, when in fact losing is an essential part
Leaders and long-term winners not only
understand that losing is part of the process; they
learn to embrace the loss and use it as a stepping stone
for something bigger.
I have had a lot of losses in my life, but I
haven't allowed these losses to turn me into a loser
because I have learned how to become an effective
However, it wasn't always that
When I first got divorced at 29, I felt that I
was a loser at love and relationships. After all,
most 29 year old women were not only married, they were
starting families and seemed perfectly content in their
lives. I just thought that I was too independent,
too ambitious, too stubborn, and too outspoken to fit
into the traditional role of "wife."
I concluded that I was flawed, because
I didn't fit the mold
. I started to
believe that this loss would be a permanent
way-of-life. I began to identify with the loss and
for 11 years, I had several relationships that supported
my belief that I was unfit for marriage or any kind
of serious long-term relationship. It wasn't until
I started to shift this belief when at 40 I realized I
wanted to start a family of my own. I
knew I had to make some changes in how I thought about
This is when I started to understand
that we all have the power to turn our losses around
into long-term successes. Here are
the things that helped me become an effective loser at
that time of my life:
- Don't buy into the belief that losing means
you are a loser.
- Don't give up and quit. Keep moving.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Don't compare yourself to others.
- Reaffirm and revalidate your differences as
assets, not liabilities.
- Create your own definition of success.
What that meant for me personally was that I
was going to have a non-traditional relationship where I
wouldn't be put into the box I couldn't fit
into. I would need to build a new mold for
me. And so I did. And my loss
became my success.
When you become an effective loser you resist the
urge to shut down and retreat, instead you keep
going. You are driven less by the external
comparisons and more by your internal compass. You
are grounded and accepting of your uniqueness and where
you are at a given point in time. You are
forgiving and kind to yourself, not blaming or
intolerant of your foibles or stumbles. You
find new strength to forge forward.
You see our "get rich quick," "take this pill
and get thin," or "become famous overnight" competitive
culture doesn't support this approach. It says to
us that when you lose, you aren't good enough, even if
it is your own personal best. It fuels
disillusionment and a culture which says "do it great
(and the ideal defines what great is) or don't do it at
So unfortunately, many choose to do
nothing at all.
That's right; many don't decide to start their
own businesses because they feel they won't be
successful enough. Others don't try to follow
their passion in their work because they believe it's
impractical or frivolous. Many won't give love a
second try. While others just throw in the towel
at the first glimpse of failure.
During these times of loss, leaders who
are effective losers are the ones that will
prevail. They know how to be kind to
themselves, providing encouraging words to themselves
and others. They trot along, despite the
odds against them, making good headway compared to those
that have shut down and quit. They find their own
So during these tough times, when you
lose and you are down, get up, dust yourself off and
encourage yourself to recommit to do your personal
best. Keep moving. Don't compare
yourself to others. Reaffirm and revalidate your
differences as assets, not liabilities. And by all
means, create your own definition of
After all, isn't it time to re-write your own
script for success that graciously allows for some
stumbles along the