Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Olympics are about losing too

I watched this year's Olympic Games more than any other year. I watched Canada snag gold in events I've never watched before and loved it.

I saw Canadians win and lose. I watched a bobsled crash before my eyes, and two women pop up okay. (If you consider having painful friction burns as being okay.) I watched the United States hockey team win a silver medal - or did they lose the gold to Canada? I'll let you decide.

I watched hockey teams shake each other's hand after a hard-fought game, a tradition I've loved to watch for years. I watched athletes wave to the crowd after hard falls and crashes.

One of my early sales mentors warned me about my mindset towards winning and losing. He said, "Anyone can be enthusiastic when they win. The true sign of character is how you act when you lose."

He also told me he was a successful failure; his closing rate was 1 out of five presentations. "Dave," he said, "I see five people a day while many others see 5 people a week or less. I hear four "no's" a day. They hear four "no's" a week. That's one of the secrets to success. How many "no's" can you handle?” Tolerance for hearing "no", or handling the disappointment of losing, is a little-recognized secret to success. 

Would you hire a silver or bronze medalist? I would - in a heartbeat. The Olympics are over in a flash, but the character, dedication, and commitment it takes to get there lasts a life-time.

Don't misunderstand, I love to win and hate to lose. But I also know that every hockey player on the losing team has been on a winning team and vice-versa.

Yes, you win some and you lose some. But losing is part of winning.

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