If you don't learn the lesson, you will repeat the problem.

BOOM! I’d just won an incredible contract. Ah! Winning — it never gets old. I love it! Don’t you? But what you don’t know is that the road to this contract win wasn’t all that fun. I have several scars and bruises to show for it. There were several hideous losses on the way to this win. It wasn’t pretty. In fact it was a bit ugly.

The road to this win included several bad experiences over recent months: a partnership gone terribly wrong, an incredibly poor job of assessing the competition on a contract bid, a complete miss on interpreting the client’s requirements, an unbelievably horrible job of choosing and assigning people to a contract opportunity. Ouch! This was a costly road, too. All of these lessons expensive.  Or were they?

Wisdom Is Cheap, At Any Price — IF YOU GET IT!

My father used to say, “Wisdom is cheap, at any price — IF YOU GET IT. If you don’t, then it can be very expensive.” Each of those bad experiences I just listed above were a learning experience. They were a step on the road toward my winning destination. The key was to make sure I learned the lesson, and did not repeat it.

I’ve heard it said that “you’re either winning, or learning.” I love that. When you lose, you don’t necessarily lose…you can learn. And that will inform your next moves toward your win. Just make sure you learn the lesson. If you don’t it can be doubly painful.

Steps To Take After A Loss

Here are my suggestions for what to do when you’ve experienced a loss:

Step away for a brief time. How long you step away will be situationally dependent, but mentally and physically step away. Get out of the office. Go for a walk. Have lunch with your spouse or significant other — someone who gets you and can speak into your life and encourage you. The goal here is to get back to a place of emotional stability after your setback.

Record what just happened. Find a quiet place where you can record in your journal what just happened. Record all the details: the client, the opportunity missed, the circumstances, everything. (What? You don’t journal? You should! No, you must!)

Discuss it with your mentor. If you don’t have one, get one. You need fresh eyes, fresh brainpower, new blood looking at what just happened. Get their perspective on these events, and their recommendations.

Identify the lesson and learn it. If you could do it over, what would you have done differently?  What should you do going forward?

Bring your team together to discuss. All of those involved need to talk about this, too. They need your thinking on this. They also can inform you. Discuss and update your lessons learned with whatever comes out of this meeting.

Inform your future strategy and next moves. Write this down, share it with your team and partners. Make sure you and your team “get it.”

Execute. Now just move forward. You’re now wiser, smarter, more prepared. You’re in a better position to win — and win you will.

Let me know what you think. Leave me a comment below.


Author Wayland Coker

My goal is to help entrepreneurs learn as much as they can about themselves and their businesses, and the vital connection between the two. I don’t intend this to be a monologue, but a dialogue. Please give me your feedback in the comment sections located at the bottom of each article. I will read every comment and respond as I am able. I am looking forward to connecting with you!

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