When we lose, we must reflect on the experience and determine if it was actually a win or a loss. If it was truly a loss, we need to figure out what went wrong and learn from the experience. However, if we had our doubts while pursing the opportunity, losing is often the same as winning. Our lives are filled with wins and losses, and our interpretation of which is which is often masked by our emotions and how things appear to outsiders. The determining factor is really if we are better off because of the outcome, regardless if it was a win or a loss on paper.
Losing results in winning when the lost opportunity was a bad fit, or if we continue pursuing an opportunity when “what we know” falls out of favor with our various criteria (financial, gut-feeling, vision, internal culture, operational skill set, etc.). This concept applies to everything we pursue, whether it be a relationship, hiring a new employee, going after a large new deal, acquiring/merging with another organization, developing a new product, offering a new service, etc.. Leaders are risk takers and cannot avoid losing altogether, but losing can be minimized by carefully selecting opportunities, and also knowing when to say no.
When an opportunity is lost, we must have enough self-awareness to realize if it was actually a win. This lifts our spirits so that those miss-guided losses do not affect our motivation moving forward. We must always be moving forward because if we are not winning or losing, what are we really doing? Here is to always having more wins than losses, and to being smart enough to realize which of our losses are actually wins.