L3: Accept Defeat with Grace

I really hate losing. When I lose, I sometimes feel inferior, ashamed, and defeated. I will go to great lengths to prevent this monstrosity from materializing in my life. Yet somehow, I seem to lose more often than I win.

This is because I am asking the wrong question. Life is not about winning or losing, it is about learning and loving. When we position ourselves to either win or lose, we always lose out in the end.

It is inevitable that things will not always work out the way we had hoped. This often happens for a reason. We may have been pursuing something that was not in our best interest, or that of other people. What seems like a great loss may just open up space in your life for a new adventure. Usually, something even better beyond our initial visualization works out for us in the end.

But of course you don’t want to hear this if you recently lost something of importance to you. When we lose an opportunity that was truly meaningful, it hurts. If you are feeling great sadness because your dreams did not come true, allow yourself time and emotional space to mourn for what was not to be. Reconnect with your sources of joy, such as faith, family, and friends, to reinvigorate your passion for life.

Pursuit of increasingly challenging experiences will likely result in increasingly challenging defeats. If you are not experiencing sufficient failure in your life, perhaps you have become complacent and are not pushing yourself hard enough toward growth and change. Every failure is an opportunity to learn something new, expand our self- and socially-defined boundaries, and prepare for the next step. It should be welcomed with open arms.

It can sometimes feel like a callous slap in the face when we see other people realizing our hopes and dreams. One of our roles as leaders is to support others’ growth – whether or not they fall within the domain of our daily responsibilities. We ought to support not only our peers and subordinates, but also our supervisors and those who are affiliated with other organizations. Think not only of your department or organization, but of your community and society. What is in the best interest of all? When someone else achieves something wonderful, we all benefit in one way or another.

All we can do is the best we can do. There are many situational and relational factors beyond our control that will interfere with our ability to realize our perception of what we want. Congratulate yourself for trying, and be grateful for the opportunity to play.

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