5 Ways to Lose the Loser and Lead the Leader within You

Joan Marques - Ed.D., MBA.
Burbank, California

I am not sure whether there is anyone on this earth who – in his or her right mind – would acknowledge that he or she is a loser. Oh yes, many of us have faced various circumstances under which we would readily admit that we failed, but then there are other moments - when our self-esteem is somewhat more intact - that we will find multiple justifications for the less fortunate outcomes we encountered at some time or another.

But you know what? Failure is not just a thing for losers. We all fail regularly. We just don't admit it, and part of the reason for that may be that the world has taught us not to see those regular failures as such. They are generally accepted as the way to go. Nonetheless, they are failures, and our spiritual awareness alerts us about them, whether we want to listen or not. Even when we are at the height of success in everyone else’s eyes, we know our own dark secrets: We are aware of our deepest thoughts and feelings, and the actions, perceptions and tendencies we are less proud of.

So, what could be some of the loser elements in even the most successful seeming person?
Let's name a few and analyze them right away:

    1. Trying to catch people making mistakes instead of trying to detect the best in them. Few people would list that as a failure, but it is just that when perceived from a spiritual perspective. Now, one could ask, "Well, if we know that, why, then, do most of us still maintain that tendency?" The answer is simple: we love to excel in the eyes of colleagues, supervisors, or subordinates, and if we can catch another person doing something wrong we can show off how smart we are. It is much harder to learn how to focus on things done well by others, and genuinely express our respect and admiration for that, than to find others making mistakes.

    2. Going for opportunities only after they have proven their profitability rather than seizing them in their earliest stages: It is the excessive cautiousness that is ingrained in most of us that leads to mediocrity instead of excellence. Most of us are too scared to take the risk of being crushed, so we wait at the sideline to see what the daredevils accomplish. And, of course, by the time that the results from those daredevils are in, the best chances have been taken as well!

    3. Analyzing trends instead of setting them: No matter how many gurus will write about radicalism, and no matter how many times reality proves to us that the art of living is about anticipating and being prepared for surprises, we continue to analyze trends. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but we should also know by now that the most successful people arrived in their privileged position, not because of analyzing trends, but because of creating the surprises that ridicule those trends: They decided to be the change they wanted to see in the world...

    4. Assuming that there can only be victory if one of the two negotiating parties loses. We all fall into that trap now and then, because it is build upon an old pattern of thinking: We want to prove others wrong to establish our right. For the longest time, indeed, business was about winners and losers. But by now we should realize that business can also be about winners and winners. What better feeling is there than when all parties are satisfied?

    5. Making change a one-man show rather than a collective effort: Too many change strategies, although fundamentally justified, have derailed because the implementer failed to involve all stakeholders. This is one of the critical parts of a spiritual approach in every workplace: making people feel that their opinions matter: listening to their points of view, and then setting out a strategy that entails: 1) creating a level of dissatisfaction with the status quo, in order to fertilize the soil for change; 2) detecting the change proponents and building a change coalition with them; 3) systematically working with the change-proponents to astutely convince the reactionaries of the benefit of this change for all.

In sum, here are thus the 5 ways to lose the loser and lead the leader within you:

    1. Catch people doing good things.
    2. Go for opportunities early on.
    3. Be a trendsetter.
    4. Focus on victory for all parties.
    5. Involve everyone all the time.

If you manage to scrutinize your behavior and thought processes from now on, and install an inner alert button whenever you tend to deviate from the 5 points above, and slide back into the 5 earlier mentioned failures, you will be able to lastingly lose the loser and lead the leader within you.