I don’t follow soccer closely. However, it’s hard not to get sucked in to the global phenomenon called the World Cup. Nor is it possible to miss the significance of a margin of victory of 6 points in a game where ONE goal is like finding a four-leaf clover. And, it’s hard to escape the fact Brazil had not lost a competitive match on home soil in 39 years – unbelievable!

Even if you’re not a sports fan, there’s a lesson here for us. You and I must learn to deal with defeat. Leaders don’t always win. Every strategic bet we place won’t payoff like we would want. Sometimes we lose. What do you do when you face the inevitable defeat? Here are a few ideas to consider…

Assess – What happened? Why did it happen? What are the facts? No excuses. Try to move above the emotions of the moment. Assessment includes both a review of where you failed, and where you succeeded. Clarity at this stage is crucial. If you don’t assess well, you’ll have little chance of entertaining my next suggestion.

Learn – Based on your assessment, what can you learn? I’ve said before, if we don’t learn from pain, it is wasted. If we don’t learn from our defeats, they are wasted. Armed with the facts, what will you do differently in the future? Maybe nothing. But I’m guessing you can find a way to learn something from every defeat. If you do, you significantly increase the chances of winning in the future.

Lead – Everything rises and falls on leadership. I’m assuming you already know this. What you may not have considered is how much leadership matters post-defeat. People look to their leaders for direction and assurance; they look to us for hope and vision for a better tomorrow. We set the tone for our team. Our attitude is contagious. This is never more important than when we lose. Defeat, more than victory, showcases our leadership character. If we can lead well in the face of defeat, we’re well on our way to our next victory.

Well, now it’s off to the finals. Will Germany prevail once again? Who knows – games, like leadership, are not always predictable. What we do know, one of the teams in the finals will have a chance to deal with defeat. The choices they make after the game will determine the long-term affect of the loss. Your choices post-defeat will also mark your future.

My final encouragement to you… win or lose:

Learn from the past, just don’t live there.

Enjoy the game![GLS_Shield]

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.