Zig Ziglar always had a way of distilling so much into one sound bite! This quote got my mind racing. Have I learned from defeats? Have I learned the right lessons? Nobody likes defeat. It’s especially hard when we gave it all we could and we still come up short.
The other day, I heard some newscasters rant about kids who receive a trophy just for participating in a sport. While I want everyone to feel esteemed and rewarded for hard work, I fear we rob kids of learning the hard lessons that come from experiencing defeat.
I have learned that when defeat comes, I get the most out of it by taking these five steps:
- Acknowledge defeat
You can’t learn from defeat if you deny it. Covering up a defeat only makes the problem worse. It is much easier to do that when you go to step two.
- No pointing! Don’t blame yourself or anyone else
Failure in an event, not a person! This is another quote from Zig that I’ve learned so much from. Steps one and two are crucial. You must acknowledge what happened without beating yourself up or blaming someone else. When you see what happened and realize you can do better, you are well on your way to solving this problem.
- Examine what happened
Take notes. Go through the steps. What went right? What didn’t? If this involved a team, how did the team perform? Is everyone in the right position? Are there strengths you aren’t taking advantage of? Are there weaknesses you need to address? Do a SWOT analysis. Write down your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. The first two are about you. Opportunities and threats are the other team, or circumstances outside of your control.
- Take your observations and make a plan
Use your strengths to their full advantage. Make sure the timing works. If you are part of a team, make sure everyone knows their role and are on board.
- Get out there and execute the plan!
Too often, we fear getting out there and risking another defeat. But if you’ve taken the time to make a plan, there is no other way to win but to carry it out. Get rid of your fear and make the plan happen.
When you learn from defeat and make a plan to succeed the next time, then you haven’t really lost. It may take a while to be victorious, but a hard fought victory is the best kind.