I have to say, the outcome of the college football national championship game wasn’t what I’d hoped for: in the final moments, a heartbreaking loss for Georgia fans like me.

But the next day, I started thinking about those times in life – and in particular in our career – when we lose something. Looking back over my own career, one of my most defining moments came when I lost my job. I learned more from that event than from any of the ‘wins’ before or after.

Maybe you’ve been passed up for a promotion or were erroneously accused of unethical behavior. Regardless of the circumstance, there’s something to learn when we lose at work.

  1. Self-examination – When the Georgia Bulldogs headed back to Athens, you better believe the coaches sat down to review the game footage in order to pinpoint exactly what they could have done to keep Alabama from coming back and winning. When it comes to your career, learning to self-reflect can be a good thing. Take time to explore what happened and what you can do to grow from it.
  2. Communication –After reviewing the game footage, a good coach will help his players improve going forward. So, if you’re denied a salary increase by your superior – ask why. Your boss will most likely be impressed that you have the motivation to succeed and happy to help you reach your goals. However, if you encounter resistance or feel like you’re being held back, you may need to work harder to convince them that you have what it takes. If you still don’t get the support you need, it may be time to look for a new job. Either way, it’s a great opportunity to improve your communication skills at work.
  3. Flexibility – Come next season, it’s possible we’ll see some new plays between the hedges. When we lose, the experience affords us the opportunity to get up and try again. For you, this may mean putting in a little extra effort, or maybe even a career change. Learning to adapt to adversity will help you survive – and even thrive – in the future.

Whether it’s the big game, or that big promotion, no one likes to lose. But choosing to focus on what you can learn from it can make all the difference. As for the Bulldogs, there’s always next year.

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