Lessons Learned in Losing

One of the biggest cheers I ever got was during a fitness competition, in fact, for a loss.  When in my mind I had lost in the competition by placing 4th, there was a thunderous ovation. I was clueless. Another competitor saw my confusion and said, “Don’t you even know what you just did?”  You, took a chance to put yourself out there, in a bikini and worked hard to get here, more than most don’t have the courage to do!!

The competition had been close, and I had competed for the first time. If I won, my coaches would win and our team of athletes would too. But if I didn’t place first like I had hoped and trained for the team would still win.

I know I can be headstrong, and felt that I could have beaten my opponents, but I played it safe. I didn’t risk enough, and place confidence in all the training I had done, in myself and not only that felt my coaches didn’t understand what I had personally put on the line and trained for.

I marvel at what I did and learned. My training led me to learn more about myself, my behaviour, how I affected others, musculature and performance. My need to gain weight and lose it for the stage gave me a strong sense of nutrition, and how to manipulate exercise and eating like the gas and brake pedals of a car.  And, gave me skills to build upon and teach others.

My interest in the protein powders and dietary supplements helped me learn how to research the effects of how they effected my body. My own research on steroids and banned substances inspired me to eat and stay clean!  And in the next 3 competitions I entered, I placed top 5 out of 20 competitors!

If at the moment I shared my views on the value of losing,  I would have made my feelings clear: losing stinks.

But, losing teaches you to deal with disappointment. You learn how to cope and not just winning.  Infinitely better. And, be gracious about it too!

I wouldn’t have had to worry about learning how to deal with a win, I learned that in the loss I also won.  I was stronger and would be more confident and trust in my training, for next time!

I’m happy with the way things have turned out — even happier.  I think, if I had been on overwhelmingly winning teams, I might feel differently.  I earned each victory, and didn’t fall into the easy arrogance that comes with being No. 1.

We tend to frame things in terms of contests and wars that must be won or lost. Many challenges, however, are about hanging in there and managing a bad situation.  The CANADIAN WAY!

Losing prepares you for the slog that is life. The world doesn’t give us many finish lines, but it does give us the long run. Let other parents scream and curse at the opposing team, and berate their own kids over their performance. I’m just glad that I was in the game, and my parents were proud of me win or lose!

I didn’t always win. But I am a winner.