How I Turn My Losses Into Wins
I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t know jack about football. For me, football boils down to cheering when the ball crosses the end zone, admiring the men in shiny pants, and hoping the Super Bowl Halftime Show will be lit. Generally, football games are all the same to me but there are two that stick in my memory. The first is the 2014 Super Bowl when the Seahawks devastated Denver and my fiancé who is a diehard fan. The other is the 2007 Super Bowl game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.
I remember because that year I was (shamelessly) riding the New England bandwagon, jumping behind the team with the perfect season record. I had talked a lot of smack to my friend, a fan of the Giants. I figured a team that had won 18 games straight couldn’t possibly lose. Oh, but they did, and to a team who had lost six games in the regular season and qualified for the playoffs as a wild card. When I got to school that Monday, my friend was waiting for me with a Cheshire cat grin and a casual reminder that her team had won the game that mattered. I learned a few valuable lessons after that: 1) the bandwagon is no place to be, 2) don’t talk crap you can’t back up, and 3) losses can often mean defeat, but they don’t have to.
Sometimes, I have to remind myself of lesson number 3. When the losses come, I’m tempted to get down in the dumps. I wallow in my defeat and replay the loss over and over again in my head. Cue the unnecessary misery. I say unnecessary because I don’t recall a single time my agonizing has ever made me anything but more defeated. You think if the Giant’s had dwelled on the six games they didn’t win they would have won that Super Bowl? I’m betting not. So lately, I’ve been focusing on ways to make wins out of my losses.
For one, I’ve learned to find the lesson in my loss that will help me do better in the future. There usually is one. It’s the reason why teams re-watch their losing games and pinpoint their errors so they can correct them. When I missed a phone meeting because I mistakenly set my alarm for 8pm instead of 8am, I came up with a plan to make sure that would never happen again. I followed my fiancé’s advice to change my phone clock to 24 hour time, plus I’ll be triple checking my alarms, getting more sleep before morning engagements, and scheduling meetings for later hours whenever possible (because I am not a morning person at all!) It may be cliché, but it’s true when they say: there are no losses, only lessons.
Another thing I do to convert my Ls to Ws is use my losses to motivate me. Locker room pep talks post-loss are no joke, at least not according to every sports movie I’ve ever watched. So now I give myself pep talks too and I put them into action. This week I found out I wasn’t going to be getting the transfer I needed at work. I wanted to wallow, but instead, I told myself to suck it up and take the opportunity to go out and get the job I’ve always wanted. I spruced up my resume—it looks killer btw!—and started job hunting. How much do you want to bet having to find a new job is going to seem like a win when I’m working somewhere I love? A loss is nothing but motivation for your next big win.
All in all, losing is still painful, and even as you’re fighting to make wins out of your losses, it’s easy to feel defeated. But remember, just like the Giants, don’t stress the losses if you’re getting the wins that matter. In the same week that I was struggling to make the best of missing a phone meeting and having to find a new job, I acquired two new clients for my writing business and nailed projects for two of my current clients. How’s that for killing it in the playoffs? Don’t let a few losses throw you off your game. Convert those Ls, glory in the Ws, and never forget you've got more winning to do.
How do you convert your losses into wins? Let me know in the comments.