Picking Up After a Loss (Lessons from the Football Field)

If you’re a sports fan, then you know by now that yesterday’s championships game produced two winners and two losers. My team, the Pittsburgh Steelers were, unfortunately, in the later category; the Green Bay Packers were as well. Hope were given and relied on in both ‘nations’ but, as they say, there can only be one on the winning side.

However, I don’t look at it quite this way, despite the scathing comments I’ve seen in the newsfeeds I’ve read this morning. Sure, there were mistakes made by some of our rookie players; sure, the play-calling could have been adapted and better; sure, there were some missed calls by the refs; sure, there could have been more fire in our guys. But, there are positives and lessons to be learned.

For one thing, we started off with a 4-5 record, with many writing this season off. On the positive side – we won  9 games in a row and made it to the Championship game; how many other teams can say that, lest the 4 on the ‘stage’ last night? Another positive is that we did make some good plays; our quarterback threw for 314 yards, becoming the 9th on the all-time passing touchdown list; we did sack Brady twice. But, unfortunately, there were not enough good plays to capitalize on. This loss has been really tough for Steeler Nation (I’ll throw in Packer fans, as well).

Business, and life, are like football games. You can have the best game plan, the best players, and not come out on the winning end. There may be challenges to deal with (can we say fire alarm?) but, in the end, it’s all about execution. It’s about firing up and motivating the team; it’s about adjusting and adapting to challenges; it’s about stepping up and owning your part in the plan. There are times that you will be outplayed and out-led.

So how do you deal effectively with a loss like this? Fortunately, we’re not on the big stage, like these teams were but the world is watching. The best is to take responsibility, especially as the leader, celebrate the wins, and vow to move on and do better for the next times. You do have to ‘lick your wounds’ but don’t stay there or you become a victim – be the hero in the story you tell and present.

Win or lose, I love my Steelers. I pray that they don’t let this get them down. Leadership has to evaluate and make adjustments, but that’s the beauty in loss – we all have the same ability to do the same. But, we do need to move on. We either can let failure keep us in the dark or we can move to the light. Which will you choose when you have a setback? I have no doubt that the Steelers will be back and up on the stage next year. I have no doubt you will be, too!

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