Sometimes, It’s Good to Lose

In All, Business, Entrepreneurship, Motivational, Personal Development by Don AlleyLeave a Comment

We all have that one person that we compare ourselves to, that one team that consistently wins, that one entrepreneur that irritates you to no end when you see them succeed. Right?!

Maybe it’s a brother. Maybe it’s your friend. Maybe it’s a co-worker. But usually it’s someone relatively close to you in some fashion, and when they succeed, or, God help them, they surpass you, your blood boils and you want to claw out your eyes.

Oh, you don’t have someone like that? You will. Maybe it’s just me and my personality, but I know there is someone else on this planet who claps and cheers on the outside (because that’s the mature and right thing to do), and yet on the inside, loathes them from afar.

Tell me you haven’t watched someone you are in competition with FAIL, and either outwardly or inwardly, curled your fist in gratitude and power, and whispered a silent “yesssssss.”

Their business took a hit this month, and yours didn’t. Ahhhhh, I’m all smiles.

They missed the three foot putt, and it cost them the round. Booyah!

And, if you have felt those gleeful feelings at the peril of someone else, then you have also felt the reciprocal…intense competition, turned to anger, jealousy, and envy.

I know, I know. It’s petty and ridiculous, and I need help. So do you.

So what do you do with those emotions?

Use them. Let them serve you. Let them drive you. They hit their goal. Damnit! I mean, awesome. Feel the jealousy. Feel the competition. Don’t go bash their face in or act like a child who didn’t get their way in the game of Monopoly, but go ahead and feel it. And use it.

Next time you see them post some enormous success on Facebook and you want to launch a smear campaign, try these 4 steps instead:

  1. Review your own personal goals. They hit a milestone. Super for them. Are your milestones clear? Do you know exactly what you want? Are you 100% clear on what you are trying to accomplish, both personally and professionally?  Does the way you spend your time reflect your goals? If you want to have your own successes, the answers to these questions will make sure that you are on track. And if not, readjust and get the hell back on track.
  2. Review THEIR output. Success leaves clues. Look back at what they did. Have they been putting in the work? If their golf game is improving and yours isn’t, have they been hitting the driving range more than you? Did they just open 4 new locations in one year? It’s quite possible that they have been focused heavily on training staff for the last year or so and their “overnight success” is more honestly the fruition of their hard work. The good news? You can do it too.
  3. Feel the anger. Don’t call your therapist to schedule a time to talk and figure out which parental figure to blame for these negative emotions. Lean into them. Feel them. Let them ignite a new passion on the inside of you. Have you lost your spark? Get it back. Have you become complacent? Get off your ass and tackle your project or goal. Competition makes us better.
  4. Review Your Own WHY. I have found myself in the position before where I watched a friend succeed in one of his goals, and immediately I was angry. Jealous. “I should be doing that, too!” But why? Why should I do that? So then it forced me to think it through, and I reminded myself that that wasn’t part of my goals. That wasn’t part of my narrative. Only with a strong WHY should you do anything, and if your reason is something to the effect of, “In order to beat him/her/them”…you’re missing the boat. Have your own why. And work like hell to accomplish YOUR dream, not someone else’s.

I tell my martial arts students all the time that they need to be competing, because they will learn and grow, and also because sometimes, losing is a great motivator. You won’t win every time.  Every great fighter has his or her downfall. Everyone at the top of their game is surpassed by the next up and coming. Where do you think they got their motivation?!

What matters is that you stay in the game. That you don’t let their success beat you up. Let it rile you up a bit…and then get refocused and get back to work.

Don Alley
Don Alley is an artist and entrepreneur. He is known as the karate guy, the preschool guy, or the video guy. He runs Super Kicks Karate as the chief instructor in Ashburn, Center Stage Preschool, and Lucky You Media. He is also the co-founder of Testudo Addiction Recovery, a non-profit organization serving families across the country.

Leave a Comment