Saturday, June 18, 2016

Remember Me By How I Handle Losing, Not By How I Handle Winning

Winning is great isn't it? When somebody wins something you can immediately sense the joy on their face. They love it. Who doesn't love to win and be praised for it? Athletes all over the world will be converging upon Rio for the Olympics to try to validate and create the payoff for all their years of work and dedication. They are coming to Rio to try to win gold medals and make their country and themselves proud. We love winners. There's nothing like watching the winner of an event stand on that podium with those big smiles and sense of accomplishment. However, the response to winning is easy if you really think about it. Its not hard to be happy when you win. Its fun! And people remember winners and measure their success based on their wins. Its just human nature. We love winners and the feeling behind winning. Its blissful, euphoric and as human beings we love to find reasons to celebrate. I totally get it!

On the other hand, when you lose anything its a terrible feeling. No one likes to lose. No one likes to feel rejected or inconsequential to others. When you lose people often cast you aside and forget about you. They certainly don't celebrate you. And how do people react when they lose? The feeling of losing not only elicits sadness, but sometimes it elicits feelings such as anger and denial. Winning just feels great! Losing in many ways is just more complex and challenging.

And that's why I want you to remember me by how I respond to losing versus how I respond to winning. The response to winning is easy. The response to losing is hard. Remember me by how I handle how hard circumstances and situations in my life. How you handle losing says so much about your character, values and attitude. Everyone loses something or someone in their life at some point. Everyone has to deal with hard situations in their life from time to time. Its how you handle the losing that makes you amazing. I truly believe that.

Remember me by how I handle losing, not by how I handle winning...

I remember in the early years of working at the club I run dealing with a very difficult situation. A consumer was greatly upset that we were enforcing rules related to club usage. Well, this consumer decided to berate my staff, but then he really came after me. He called me some of the worst things you can call a person. He threatened me and my job. It was really hard to sit there and hear those awful things he said to me. However, after he was done trying to tear me down verbally, I just told him I'm sorry he felt that way. We were just doing our job as a staff. He hung up the phone on me right after that. Now, I could have responded in several ways to that incident. However, my choice was to go to work and continue to do my job well and to be kind towards this person who greatly insulted me. After a few weeks of being genuinely kind to this person, he came up to me in the locker room and apologized for how he treated me. He gave me a hug and I accepted it. I truly believe that my actions during a difficult time where I felt like I was losing helped to turn around the situation. If I would have responded with anger and rage it would have escalated the situation and the outcome would not have been good for me.

Remember me by how I handle losing, not by how I handle winning...

One of my other big moments of losing was during the process of completing my doctorate. The whole process of earning a doctorate is grueling in my opinion, but it was made even more grueling by one thing in particular. I was nearing the end of my doctoral studies and I was ready to submit my dissertation to my committee. Unfortunately, my committee chair left the university during my studies and I had to change my committee. The new committee was filled with great people, but they saw a different pathway for my dissertation and wanted me to start over. Now, I had spent the last year writing this 100 plus page document and they wanted me to scrap it and begin with completely new research for my dissertation. That was hard to take and I knew that most people would say forget it, I'm not going to finish my doctorate. I can't start over. However, I knew that was not the right way to respond to a situation that felt like losing for sure. I refocused and picked myself up and created a research project that was even better than the one I did before.

Remember me by how I handle losing, not by how I handle winning...

What have you lost in your life? How have you handled it? I'm not perfect for sure. Those two circumstances I told you about were positive reactions I had to losing. When I was much younger I didn't handle losing the same way. However, getting older and gaining wisdom should help you see the bigger picture. It definitely has for me. And that bigger picture is that when you lose in life you have a tremendous opportunity to shape your legacy in a very positive way. Handling losing with class, dignity and a sense of determination to be get better will always lead you to a better outcome. I truly admire people who handle losing with grace, but also pick themselves up and burn with a fire to improve from that loss. There will always be obstacles in life. That's just living as my wife says to me all the time. Life is wonderful, but it can also have several moments of difficulty and loss. Definitely enjoy the good times, but make sure you come with your A game in how you handle losing.

Remember me by how I handle losing, not by how I handle winning...

Until next time...

Dr. D


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