I often think about how society wrongly puts success and leadership on an invisible pedestal. I often fear that our children already view success and leadership as a road full of glamorous victories and spotlights. I often regret how easy it is for us to label people as leaders or losers without any second thoughts. Who are we to constantly make this fatal judgement? Everybody should have a voice and a purpose, but sometime we consciously or unconsciously rob people from their own precious voice.
I sometimes think back to some of my former high school classmates and how their life would have been different if they had not been exposed to this drastic culture of winners and losers; this ruthless culture of leaders vs. losers. This culture of leadership does not accept losing as part of the hallmark of humanity; in other words, it does not accept losing as part of the essence of leadership.
Indeed, from our earliest years to adulthood we learn that the only way to succeed is to aggressively compete and to be a winner at all costs. Every day, we are facing more and more competitiveness at school, work and at home. Does leadership always have to be about victory though?
We all know how difficult it is to explain to our children that losing is a normal part of the game, because they are used to this dangerous idea of always winning even if it causes for them to cheat. Leadership starts at home and at school, and this is where we should encourage children and adults to learn that losing is part of the essence of leadership itself.
We Are All Leaders Who Can Lose
Obviously, I do not know one single person who loves losing or failing, however by accepting the notion that leadership is also about, mistakes, failures and lost battles, we will also be able to accept the responsibility of losing as a main part of our leadership identity. To tell the truth, taking responsibility for a failure is a hard thing to accomplish, but it undeniably reveals the leader we truly are. We all know how easy it is to own a victory and share it with the whole world, but it takes strength and character to acknowledge a failure.
In fact, just one of our failures will undercover who we really are as leaders, compared to many loud victories that will tell us so little about ourselves. We should undercover our self-control and ability to cope with a lost battle. As bitter, painful and frustrating it could be, a failure will reveal our true leadership and our gracefulness. The elegance of our actions in a situation considered a failure will show our abilities as a leader and how we are still able to lead when the glamour and spotlights are gone.
The ultimate challenge of losing or failing is how we are able to respond to this kind of event. Actually, every difficult time is a great opportunity for us to learn how to better ourselves. In truth, failures and defeats teach us a great deal of humility, grace and empathy. We have to learn from these situations considered defeats to be able to help ourselves and others. We have to embrace our failures, move past them, and allow ourselves to be stronger and better than who we were.
We were all taught how to succeed, but not how to face a failure that will inevitably happen one day. By learning how to deal with a failure in a positive way, we will develop our resilience and adaptability to better face unusual situations. We must realize that the fear of failure holds us back and limits how much we can achieve.
Let’s embrace failure in order to truly succeed. The next time we feel the need to label someone as a loser, we should remind ourselves that sometimes we can be losers too, but what really matters is how we are able to cope with a failure and help ourselves and others to rebound. The moral of this is to not give up and to be able to learn from these life lessons in order to move on. Failure is an important part of our development as leaders and should not be hidden. I deeply believe that everybody is a leader, a unique human being, who faces victories and defeats.