Remember when you were young and your parents told you that you could be anything?
You want to be a doctor? Absolutely, work hard in school, get good grades and you’re on your way.
You want to be a football player? Absolutely, work hard in school get good grades, improve your coordination and you’re on your way.
You want to be President of the United States? Absolutely, work hard in school, get good grades, gain an in-depth knowledge of foreign and fiscal policy and you’re on your way.
Unfortunately, not everyone can be President of the United State, a football player, or a doctor. Not everyone is cut from the same cloth, so to speak, and therefore not everyone has the abilities to run a country, run for a touchdown, or run up your medical bills.
Everyone does, however, have potential. Will that potential lead you to a career in aerospace engineering or brain surgery–not necessarily. But giving it your all and living up to your potential is all a part of the idea of business as a game, particularly that you won’t always win.
It might come with a bit of heartbreak, but the fact of the matter is that you’re not going to win in every aspect of business or in life. You’re not going to get every job you interview for. You’re not going to come out on top of every business negotiation that you enter. You won’t win every company award, you won’t be given an Employee of the Month plaque every month.
Sometimes, no matter your best efforts, you’re going to lose. It’s all a part of playing the game.
The Warriors, the NBA’s dream team, lost last season’s NBA finals to the underdog Cavaliers. Muhammad Ali, the greatest boxer of all time, lost five of his 61 career fights. David beat Goliath. Sometimes, even the best, brightest and biggest people lose. And when they do, it should be viewed not as a total loss, but a learning experience.
You should be able to leave every situation in business–whether it’s a meeting, negotiation or anything else that you strategized for–content with how you approached the situation, even if the end result wasn’t what you wanted. If you entered with a proper strategy, made adjustments and tried to stay a step ahead of your “opponent,” then you did what you could.
You gave it your all.
And you lost.
So why dwell on the loss? Instead of going home and drowning the loss in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or a few pints of Budweiser (pick your poison), sit down and learn from your loss. Think back to the meeting and determine where it went wrong, what steps you could have taken to avoid it, and how you can better prepare yourself for next time.
Chalk it up as a loss, and make sure you win the next one.