When my kids were 10 and 12, my husband took them to an OU game. Our kids were wearing OSU sweatshirts in a sea of red. My husband wanted them to experience OU football in Norman like he did growing up — a national champion team, what an experience! However, it was one of the years where OSU unexpectedly won! We weren’t picked to win, but somehow we pulled it out (in Norman of all places!)
There were some drunk OU fans who weren’t happy with the loss, and they screamed and cursed at my kids during the game. It took everything my husband had not to lose his cool because he wanted to set an example for the kids. They ended up leaving the game earlier than expected because he didn’t want our kids to be exposed to this kind of behavior. How terrible is that?
I see this same situation play out in kids’ sports all the time. Parents get fired up when their team is losing and they take it out on the other team, the coach and the referees. What good does that do? It embarrasses your kids and makes them no longer enjoy the game. You have to accept that your kids are going to lose, your favorite team is going to lose, and you’re going to lose a deal at work — it’s inevitable.
This quote by Serena Williams says it all: “I think a champion is defined not by their wins, but by how they recover when they fall.” Have you seen Serena lose? She takes responsibility for the loss, congratulates her opponent and improves her game for the next match.
No one ever wants to lose because losing can feel a lot like failing. It might be your natural reaction to be mad when you lose and try to push the blame on someone else to make yourself feel better, but this approach will never get you anywhere. I tell my clients all the time that a setback is just setting them up for an amazing comeback. And no one wins all the time — most successful entrepreneurs fail at something daily, but they don’t dwell on it. They take full responsibility and figure out what they can do next time to make it better. Each failure makes you stronger and will make you want to win that much more.
Here are four tips to recovery if you find yourself in a losing situation:
Irrational people say irrational things. Remove yourself from the situation, take some deep breaths and respond when you can think rationally.
Put Your Emotions and Feelings to the Side
You will be mad and even a little hurt after a failure, but if you put your emotions to the side and avoid the blame game, you’ll be able to move on more quickly. We have all been in situations where we let our emotions get the best of us. Whether it was at a sporting event or in a situation at work, emotions don’t speak logically and can get you in trouble or make you regret what you said. A good rule is to give it 24 hours before you react. The loss is behind you, let it go and move on.
Start Looking at Factors that Contributed to the Failure
What could you have done better? I remember reading the book “Relentless” where the author talks about training Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time. Even after Michael won a national championship, he was in the gym the very next day working on what he could improve for next time. He could’ve easily rested on his laurels, but instead, he worked harder. Pivoting and constantly improving is the name of the game in business. Not all of your ideas will be winners, so you need to learn to pivot in order to succeed.
Develop a Recovery Plan
It can be tempting after a failure to constantly rehash what you could’ve done better. Recognize where you need to improve, but don’t dwell on it too much. Instead, make a game plan for the small disciplined actions you’ll take daily to create momentum in your business. Maybe you need to avoid negative people or situations that don’t bring out your best self. Figure out what you need to do, make a plan and stick to it.
After experiencing failure, do your best to calm down, put your emotions and feelings aside. Start figuring out which internal and external factors contributed to the failure and develop a plan for how you’ll be better next time.
Ultimately, every failure is a teacher. Take the lesson and use it to propel you forward!