The Art of Losing
12-10-2014 at 10:36 AM
Category: Leadership

Tis the season for the end of my daughter’s basketball games. It’s a non-competitive league (don’t get me started on that one) but she is growing in her skills and having fun. This past week was the Tournament Games, which they do keep score to determine who the champion will be. They played very well the first game with my daughter contributing 3 baskets for the team win. It was close, but well played. The next day, we played another team. If we were to win, we would go to the championship round to play for first place.

It was a classic underdog story, because the team my daughter played against was clearly the better team. In fact – they killed us. Three of their young players were at least three grade levels ahead of everyone else in terms of skill. They also made most of their shots. Our team? Not so much. Still, by the second half, there was an opportunity to catch back up. Yet, try as they might, my daughter’s team just couldn’t make it work. They played hard and really gave it their best effort, but with ten minutes left in the game and a fifteen point spread by the other team, it was clear to the parents, we weren’t going to win. The team knew it as well.

An interesting thing happened though that I credit to the kids and especially their coach. They didn’t give up. There was no way they would win, yet they played as if they could. It takes character to not give up when you know you cannot win. Many of us would lessen our effort, grumble, complain, make more mistakes, and so. Yet these kids did not let the score faze them. They remained true to playing the game.

Losing is not such a bad thing in life. It helps us refine who we are and improve. It is only in our minds that we make losing a bad experience. If you learn from it, you are living out the art of losing. The tragedy comes when you learn nothing from the experience.

Losing also shows what you are made of. It shows your character. It reveals the true self. As you reflect on your past losing experiences, what was revealed? Did you grumble and complain? Did you give up and quit? Or did you continue to try and learn as you went? Did your true character come shining through?

I certainly have not always shown my best side when I am losing. I’m sure you have done the same. So, when the time comes and you realize you can’t possibly win in a particular situation, what will you do?


Jeff Orr is a Leadership Performance Coach, Business Coach, Author, and Transformational Speaker. Through his coaching company, InDemand Leadership, Jeff empowers executives, leaders and business owners to perform to their full potential without leaving anyone behind in the process. Jeff's passion for seeing leaders reach and exceed their goals comes through in his one-to-one coaching sessions, keynote speaking engagements, leadership retreats, and his book, Succeed In The New Normal.

Contact Jeff at: www.InDemandLeadership.com

Keywords: win, lose, success, leadership
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