Losing Gracefully

by | Sep 1, 2023 | Personal Development

Growing up, you likely gave appreciative high-fives to your opponents, even when you lost the big basketball game. Or, you respectfully shook the other contenders’ hands, even when you lost the debate. But, what does it look like to lose as an adult? Since we can’t win all the time (though that does sound appealing) it’s important to learn how to lose without losing your cool.  

Be an example.

Your actions have an impact—and other people are always watching you. Set a great example for others! Fellow business leaders, other potential customers, parents, children, neighbors, and so on, are all paying attention to what you do when things don’t go as planned. Conduct yourself in a way that others want to emulate. Losing with dignity means acting with integrity even when all you really want to do is stomp your feet and pout. It might be tempting to throw a temper tantrum every time you don’t get your way, but it’s not worth getting upset over. Instead, focus on what you can learn from the experience and what you can do differently next time. Discover how to train your losing muscles, here.

Prepare yourself for any outcome.

Just like a politician must write both their acceptance and concession speech heading into an election, there are times when it’s helpful to be prepared for an alternate outcome. If you’ve already created a plan B, then if plan A fails you don’t have to be upset, you just have to fluidly pivot to your new plan. For example, save up money before taking on a big risk that could put your income in jeopardy. If you’re going to start a new business, know that it takes time to be profitable. Have alternative income options ready until you get a customer base built-up. Being prepared for failure means knowing that things might not turn out exactly as you’d hoped.

Find joy in the journey.

A woman sits on top of a rock looking out over a green field with a path running through it.

If you focus solely on winning, you’ll lose out on learning opportunities along the way. Instead, find pleasure in the people you meet and the experiences you encounter on your quest for success. Take a moment, take a breath. And come back from failure knowing that you’re stronger, wiser, and more prepared for what to expect next time (because there will be a next time!). Reflect on what you unveiled about yourself along the way, too. Failure has a lot to teach us. What do we mean? 

  • You’ll discover your priorities in life.  
  • You’ll be challenged to come up with new creative solutions.
  • You’ll learn that there’s more than one right way to do something.  
  • You’ll observe your natural reaction and how to better regulate your emotions.  
  • You’ll recognize new motivators to keep you going toward your dreams.

Losing is a part of life. It’s not always a fun part, but a necessary one just the same. It’s important to understand you have a choice in your response when things don’t go the way you hoped. You can act with maturity and an open mind, or you can lash out and regret your actions later. We encourage you to be proud of how you respond as you continue to go after your goals. And remember, as the “wins” start coming, handle those with humility, too! 😉 

Losing gracefully is a skill both adults and kids benefit from learning. Check out our other suggestions for instilling important values in your children by helping them to establish a growth mindset.