Have you taught your kids how to lose? (Olympic Lesson 3)

by | Oct 5, 2012 | Emotional Intelligence, Relationships (Self and Others)

As Neil Sjoberg said in the BBC’s 60 Second Idea, “Children need to be taught that failure is frequent and normal, it is not the end of the world and we should all help this by a cultural shift in admitting that we failed. Only by learning to lose can we achieve success.”

Everyone likes to win. But where there are winners, there are losers. One of the hardest things to learn in life is how to handle losing — graciously. At the recent Olympic gymnastics finals, Nastia Liukin had an epic belly flop that, in addition to other mistakes, sealed her fate against going to London. After the end of her Olympic career, which played out in front of thousands (and millions on TV), she received a standing ovation and hugs from the other competitors. She was so thankful, gracious and grateful! That’s what it is all about. Let’s take Key Steps this week to…

Learn how to fail

Your Key Steps Coaching for the week ahead:

1.    Face failure and accept it for what it is. Failure isn’t usually fatal or permanent. We are all human. And if you never fail, you’ve never really tried. Accepting responsibility for your mistakes and facing them is the first step to learning. Do this graciously and without excuses.

2.    Don’t be content with failure but don’t keep replaying it. Replaying it, wallowing or beating yourself up isn’t going to help. Let yourself off the hook and rather focus on how you can learn from it, get better (not bitter) and not make the same mistake again. Always be teachable and humble.

3.    Focus on your strengths. Reinforce your strengths and focus on them, so when you do have a failure it’s not as devastating. Don’t let your – or others – negativity magnify your failures and minimise your successes. There’s ALWAYS things you do well. Focus on those while overcoming failure.

4.    Persevere and keep your sense of humour. Don’t take yourself so seriously. We often sweat the small stuff instead of remembering to laugh at yourself and to laugh at life. It’s often better than crying or can lighten things up after a good cry. Continue to stretch yourself. The only real failure is when you give up. Don’t! And…

“be the difference that makes the difference




NOTE: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free bi-weekly  ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.

Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, EQ Expert, Founder and CEO

Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 25 years’ experience in leadership development and organisational transformation. Her PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that was published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of numerous business schools and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. In 2020, Sharon was inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame, which is a lifetime achievement award, recognising excellence and her contribution to the field.

Sharon is one of only three women in South Africa to hold the title of Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – the Oscar of the speaking industry. She is also a COMENSA Master Practitioner (CMP), a qualified Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT™) and an accredited Global Virtual Speaker. Sharon is also a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner.

Most important to Sharon is that she has become known for her genuinely caring manner, practical and transformational approach, and for providing valuable tools and that allow people to take Key Steps to really… ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’