Most of my life, I have participated in or watched sports teams either win or lose. It is not too often that you see a tie in a sporting event. Someone must win; therefore, someone must also lose. In individual sports, it appears to be even more important to win since you are the face that everyone sees. On any given day, anyone can win and the very best can lose. Just recently, Nick Saban’s college football team, the Alabama Tigers, lost the national championship title game to the Georgia Bulldogs. Nick Saban is one of the greatest college football coaches of all time, but his team lost the game on this occasion. Not knowing the outcome of the game is part of the excitement of participating in sports.
The same thing occurs in both business and non-profit organizations. This also occurs with salespeople and those responsible for development new business for an organization. Some days you win and some days you lose. On some sales calls, you win. On some sales calls, you don’t get the business and you lose.
What is more important, winning or losing? Of course, winning is what we all aspire to. What do we do when we win? Hopefully, we take the time to celebrate and enjoy the win. Also, there is the opportunity to reflect on the win to determine what worked for you or the team? Reflection is what football coaches do when they watch the playback reels for the game on Monday morning. They are taking the opportunity to reflect on what went well and what they may want to change.
Losing is not as easy. First, there are the emotional aspects of a loss. You and your team members may feel disappointed. You may hold your head down. You may be angry at yourself or others who let you down. There are some people who may even call you or your team a “loser”. No one wants to be called a loser. To me, winning or losing does not define you. It is what happens on any given day if you are competing in the world of sports or business. There doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” approach to winning and losing.
Whether you win or lose, there is an opportunity to learn from the experience. Why is it important to learn? It helps you in preparing for the next game or the next sales or business opportunity.
As a performance coach, I want to know the answer to three questions:
- What did you do well?
- What did not go so well?
- What will you do differently as you move forward?
These questions allow you the opportunity to reflect after the event. Though winning is joyful, the opportunity to learn from the experience can bring joy as well. It can propel you to be better prepared for the next experience. There is no reason to have a label of “winner” or a “loser”. Reflecting on your experience makes you a “learner”. That is part of the entire experience of life. We get an opportunity to learn from our experiences, win or lose.