It amazes me how critical people, who have not made it anywhere in life, so easily criticize the reactions of how others respond in defeat in a major event. We all know the results of the Super Bowl now and those who won celebrated to the max and those who tasted defeat had various reactions including one of the Panthers players ‘breakdown’ pictured above. Losing is hard to take, all the more so, when you are so close to being #1. Having a mindset of winning internally, is a worthy battle, but a virtue we all can benefit from, it takes Defeating Defeat.
Even in winning the biggest annual sports event played, people found reason to criticize Peyton Manning’s performance in the game. And, Oh so quickly do we forget what was accomplished yesterday, not just on the ball-field, but in the work world as well. ‘What have you done for me lately’ is a sad but common plea. Likewise, Cam Newton the defeated quarterback in the game, was lambasted for all sorts of reasons including ‘how he should have acted in defeat. All the experts who have been in that type of status before (.0001%) smashed his character as too often happens in our social media nowadays.
In lesser news, what can an Average Joe learn from such happenings? I thought I would break down what happened with me on the last day of the sales meeting I attended in hopes my scaled down similar win and defeat scenario would benefit you all.
After the awards banquet and rah rah sessions, as is common, we focus on how to do better in the coming year. Training is crammed into another long day. Being part of the #1 sales team (yay a win) I walked off with as I call it, a piece of glass to put on the shelf in my home office -(although I was honored to receive it), but the moment was soon short-lived when I received an email from a customer with a very big title in their signature.
Multiple people were copied stating a solution of ours was not working, and our support has no resolution to the issue. I was warned the customer was ‘at the end of their rope’ , if did not rectify the situation ‘asap’ this customer would return everything. I knew from past history, this could equate to them and every other one in the future would ‘never’ use my stuff ever again. My honor of being the supposed ‘high paid sales-manager’ is the ownership of this technical problem. The world was soon about to end, in their opinion, and it was my problem t0 solve.
Very quickly my brain and all others on our side in the email had to try to avoid the Men in Black memory eraser from wiping out the positives we possess; great engineers, great design, great support, great products and a great sales team. All the trophies and accolades won the night before may as well have been tossed out the window.
Long story short, after going through the panic we found they had not engaged our support staff at all. I/we pulled a team together and within a couple of days stabilized the situation and all ended well. Although wanting to crawl in a hole and hide, or cry, or blame somebody for this mess, calmer experienced minds prevailed, and all ended well. I cannot say it always turns out that way, but I can say lessons learned from the past helped us defeat this problem. How did we not let it get the best of us?
I teach our youth group on how to deal with panic attacks. In a slightly modified set of how to avoid anxiety attacks is my similar list for Defeating Defeat:
- Put things in perspective: Will the world end if this problem is not solved? Will the earth still be spinning when you wake up? Of course it will.
- Remember all the good things of the past that brought you where you are today. Minimally, you are breathing and are alive. All is good has to be the mantra you repeat to yourself internally.
- You’ve worked hard, studied hard, and gotten to where you are now, you can handle this.
- Relax and take a deep breath, or take a walk before you do anything or make any decisions or over-react. If in a high pressure situation like the email I received, stop and count to 10 before responding and gather yourself together
- Soften the situation if others are involved replying you have received the message and will begin immediately evaluating the situation. – 8/10 times the end of the world scenario is drastically reduced just by acknowledgement. People need to know someone is doing something. Have guts and let them know it is you.
- Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help and ask soon in such situations. Often someone who does not carry the weight and responsibility of the issue that is not emotionally involved in it will have a clear head to help you through it. Plus the rest of the story has to be discovered, the fire is usually not as big as described.
- Don’t internalize the problem. A problem by itself is just that, a problem, not ‘you’. Realize everyone has problems to deal with, whether you are the cause of this one or another person, don’t blame yourself or lash out at another blaming them.
- Look for humor in the situation and get a good laugh going. (on the inside only if others are around as they may see no humor). But you need it to lighten up the load.
- Begin assessing the problem and creating solutions and gathering solution helpers one step at a time, and if it is crucial, eliminate all other distractions. (Even in this sales meeting, I pulled out for few hours to take care of the issue)
- Be aware, problems will happen in every job, we’re paid to solve them. Be prepared and ready knowing they will come. Defeating Defeat, starts with being ready for it.
(If this is your first time visiting Average Joe’s Portico, you have to read the Do you Dare tab to understand the shift, click here before you read below and come on back if you dare)
So you came to the Portico thinking, I’ll bet he says if you become a Christian, all of life becomes perfect, didn’t you?
On the contrary, listen to what Paul had to go through as described in a letter to the church in Corinth:
2 Corinthians 11:24-28
Five Times I received at the hands of the Jews forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
Paul’s advice on Defeating Defeat, is all in perspective for steady living as described in this letter:
ROMANS 12:1-3 (MSG) So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:
Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work(/Super Bowls), and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, and develops well-formed maturity in you.
I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.
And Jesus brother James put it this way:
James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
Faith in God and a right perspective on all that confronts us in the world is the only real solution to any problem, no matter how bad our circumstances past & present. It is the solution to Defeating Defeat.