Losing isn't the opposite of winning, it can be a part of winning

1590 reads

Vince Lombardi once said, "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing."

Like most kids growing up, the importance of finishing first or winning was always stressed.  As a competitive person, I thought that second place was the same as last.  Losing was a source of shame and bitterness.  No one wants to be defined as a loser.  In short, everyone wants to win.

Brandon Steiner, the owner and founder of the huge sports memorabilia company that bears his name, gave me some good advice recently.  He told me that losing isn't the opposite of winning; it's a part of winning.

The more I think about his statement, the more I agree.  However, I would make one small change:  Losing isn't the opposite of winning; it CAN be part of winning.  I clarify that because losing can also become a habit.  But if you use losing as a learning experience, then you can be headed for success.

In the sports world, how many times do you hear championship teams discuss how a certain loss triggered their championship run?  It served as a wake-up call, an opportunity to see where they could improve.  Losing helped them change their mindset.  It demonstrated that in many cases, you have to learn how to win.  And losing provides a powerful lesson.

My advice is to embrace all results.  The most important outcome is what you learned from it.  Few people win all the time, but you can be better prepared to play the game and compete if you have experienced losing and learned what it takes to win.

Your goal should be to improve in areas where you have weaknesses and seek challenges that will stretch you and help you grow.  A good competitor will help you point out your mistakes and weaknesses, so pay attention.

For me, sales is a competitive sport.  Whenever I win or lose an account, I want to know why.  Debriefing is critical.  I have no problem being straight-forward and asking clients for feedback.  I want to know how I can improve.

If you lose an account, ask for a separate meeting within the week.  Tell your prospect you respect their decision and do not want to change their mind.  You just want to learn and improve.  At the meeting, never be antagonistic.  You are there to listen and learn.

You wouldn't believe how many times this process helped me - not only with my own performance, but in getting the business when the current supplier didn't deliver as promised.

You always want to leave your prospect on good terms.  Even if you never sell to that person, you've made a friend by respecting their decision.

You won't get serious about winning until you get serious about learning.  It's such a simple lesson, and one I guarantee will serve you forever.  Everyone makes mistakes in the course of his or her career, and no matter how much you learn, you're not immune.

My good friend, leadership guru John Maxwell, cautions:  "A loss doesn't turn into a lesson unless we work hard to make it so.  Losing gives us an opportunity to learn, but many people do not seize it.  And when they don't, losing really hurts."

Maxwell advises that it's difficult to positively respond after defeat.  He said it takes discipline to do the right thing when everything goes wrong.  To help people learn from losses, he wrote the book, "Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn," which provides the following road map:

  • Humility - the spirit of learning.
  • Reality - the foundation of learning.
  • Responsibility - the first step of learning.
  • Improvement - the focus of learning.
  • Hope - the motivation of learning.
  • Teachability - the pathway of learning.
  • Adversity - the catalyst for learning.
  • Problems - Opportunities for learning.
  • Bad experiences - the perspective for learning.
  • Change - the price of learning.
  • Maturity - the value of learning.

The important thing is that you learn from your losses.  In the comic strip Peanuts, Charlie Brown is walking off the baseball field with Lucy, his head down and totally dejected.

"Another ball game lost!  Good grief!" Charlie says.  "I get tired of losing.  Everything I do, I lose!"

Lucy replies:  "Look at it this way, Charlie Brown.  We learn more from losing than we do from winning."

To which Charlie replies, "That makes me the smartest person in the world!"

Mackay's Moral:  Your ability to learn from your losses is the biggest win of all.

Trending

133
vnbhattacharya's picture

NARCOS and the game beyond the game

A critical aspect of strategic thinking is the ability to determine one's strategy in the game at hand by anticipating games in the future. It is especially important to foresee games that may be spawned by playing the game one is offered now.Such
111
sethgodin's picture

Big crew/little crew

Software projects work better with small teams. On the other hand, it makes sense to have multiple teams of workers if you're paving a patch of highly trafficked highway. Three reasons: Coordination Learning Ramp up time As we learned from... 
103
johnsullivan's picture

You’ll Soon Need a Digital Labor Specialist and a Workforce Shaper

Not all your employees will be replaced by robots, but it’s highly likely they’ll be working side-by-side with an automated device at some point in their careers. As intelligent automation becomes more common in the workplace, businesses are
96
mashable's picture

These extremely good Google Maps features that everyone definitely wanted are finally sort of available

For all of you who've been holding your breath this past month, it's finally time to exhale: On Tuesday, Google rolled out some of the hotly anticipated new Maps features the company announced in May. And by "rolled out," we mean "some people
164
johnsullivan's picture

Ready or Not Here Comes Generation Thumb

Talking about millennials in the workforce is so yesterday. Time now to start preparing for Gen Z, or, as Chad Norman calls them, Generation Thumb. This is the generation born after the turn of the century. They’ve never known a...
159
harvardbusinessreview's picture

When India Killed Off Cash Overnight

Bhaskar Chakravorti, the dean of global business at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, analyzes the economic impact of India’s unprecedented demonetization move in 2016. With no advance warning, India pulled the two largest banknotes from
145
sethgodin's picture

The jerk fallacy

There’s a common misperception, particularly in media, business and politics, that being a jerk is a necessary ingredient on the way to becoming and staying successful. But there’s no data to support this. Sure, some people succeed despite being
203
johnsullivan's picture

New to the Profession of Recruiting? Time to Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

If you’re a seasoned and successful recruiter, chances are you have fine-tuned your skills over the years by going through a gauntlet of stressful, maddening, or even downright demoralizing work days. Most of my fellow recruiters and sourcing
215
cryptocurrency's picture

Jack Ma: Bitcoin Bubble is Real and Blockchain is the Future

 Jack Ma Bitcoin Bubble: Yet another well-known figure has come forward to express his thoughts on the cryptocurrency sector. The figure, who is Jack Ma, spoke specifically of Bitcoin (BTC) — and his thoughts weren’t exactly in favor of