That’s right. You didn’t misread the headline. It isn’t a typo. I’m a loser and I’m very good at it. If I wasn’t such a loser, I wouldn’t be where I am in life. If I wasn’t a loser I wouldn’t have a company that generates millions year in and year out. If I wasn’t a loser I would not have graduated high school, then college, then law school all to the chagrin of the haters in my life. But, at the end of law school my loser self came up again to remind me that I’m a great loser. I didn’t pass the bar exam the first time. But this is the point that I want to show you how being a loser actually makes you a winner.
It goes back to my childhood. A childhood in the 80’s where there was no such thing as a participation trophy. A childhood where I suffered personal defeats everyday in my family life to my academic and athletic life. To striking out more than I hit the ball in baseball to being ostracized as being the poor kid who was excluded from events because I wasn’t good enough.
The loss of striking out with the chance to win the game and be the hero is gut wrenching for a little kid at any socioeconomic level. It does not feel good. It sucks and you are a loser. Period. No other way to describe it. But the key is, how you respond. The key for me was how I responded. I didn’t respond well, I was like any other kid who was devastated when I lost. But, it’s when I won is when it all clicked. I appreciated the loss, I felt the sting of the loss and I hated it. I internalized the loss. I knew that the loss happens. It’s a part of life. It’s getting up to bat again and again that matters. At some point you will connect. It’s the connection with the bat and ball of life is what matters. It’s how we respond.
When I did not pass the bar exam the first time, I felt like a loser. But only for a second. At that point in my life, I had lost so many times I knew that eventually if I hung in there and persevered I would win. I also knew that I didn’t put the work in necessary to WIN. You see I was great at being a loser and that gave me the ability to become a winner. The second time I took the bar exam I learned from losing the first time and crushed it.
In my almost 45 years on this planet I’ve become comfortable at being a loser. In fact, I appreciate it and I respect it. Especially in business.
Recently, I was talking with someone about a new business that I had launched about a year ago. They asked hey how’s that business? I responded and told them I had shut it down. Now this person I’m very close with and they looked at me like I was a loser. It actually stung for a second. But in my head I was like if it wasn’t for my losses this person would not have what they have.
My losses, the pain of those losses both financially and emotionally were absorbed by me so this person didn’t have to feel the pain that I feel. Although, I have explained to them the benefits of losing. Losers are better at winning and to be candid this person gave up a long time ago.
It’s hard explaining this to people. It’s hard telling people that they should embrace the loses. No one likes it. So much so that most eventually give up. Most cannot take the emotional, and physical pain of a loss and they just give up. They can’t be honest with themselves to make the adjustments necessary to win.
As an expert loser I want to give up all the time. I suffer gut wrenching losses almost everyday in business. Sometimes they almost put me out of business. Many times people from the “outside” see the loss and you know what they are thinking.
What a loser. They are right. But what makes me smile and laugh is that I’m good at it. I’m good at withstanding the pain to get to the WIN! Winners are GREAT losers.
So when you suffer losses, over and over again, it’s okay. Get good at it. Get good at responding well. Don’t pay attention to what others think and embrace your ability to be a great loser. The best losers eventually become our greatest winners.
Learn from the losses, feel the pain, absorb the pain, remember the pain. Then adjust and do what is necessary to win. When you win, which you will if you hang in there, the win trumps the pain of a loss ten fold. Before you know it, you will string together win after win and it feels amazing. But when that loss comes, because it will, you now know that what makes great winners are great losers.