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As I watch critical sporting events this time of year, I remind myself that in every rivalry, there can only be one winner. As winners bask in their victories, I often think of those defeated. Some handle it better than others.

In business, one cannot expect to always win. Losses are part of the game, but can be viewed from a positive, optimistic perspective. If you develop the right mind set, there doesn’t have to be a major difference between victory and defeat. If you can learn to accept defeat and learn from it, you’ll maximize everything you try, no matter what the outcome.

You’ll need to put your ego aside, which can be difficult, but necessary to recognize where you might have gone wrong, so you don’t repeat unproductive steps next time around. Even though others in your company may have attributed to the defeat, and you’ll need to address this with them, don’t put the blame on them, or others. Take the time to dissect what really happened and how it can be handled differently in the future.

Stay positive and recognize that every failure can get you closer to a success. If you’re willing to be open and adapt, it’s often a numbers game, so keep trying. At times it is difficult to honestly assess where you might have gone wrong. Talk to others who you trust and listen to what they have to say, no matter how much it might hurt.

Often, it is difficult to find someone who is willing to be brutally honest with you. Fortunately for me, that’s where the role of a business coach comes in. But not all my client relationships are successes. Despite what many clients say, I’ve found some that really can’t handle what I tell them, or even what they discover on their own as we work together. I’m usually the first one to break off that type of relationship. My greatest successes are with people who stay positive and keep an open mind.

Defeat is inevitable but it doesn’t have to be crippling. You can’t control everything that dictates success versus failure; there are just too many external factors that can come into play. But as Doug Sandler states in his book, Nice Guys Finish First, “Challenges, defeat and failure will present great opportunity while you are on the road to victory.”

Looking forward to being in the passenger seat with you in ’22.