Overcoming the Agony of Defeat

courage hope Jul 17, 2022

It's been a while since I've written a blog - but that's not say that I haven't been writing.  I just came off a writing season for the forthcoming book IMAGINE.  I'll post more about the new book in a future blog.

What I want to focus in on today is something that affects us all. It's falling short, and overcoming that feeling of defeat.

Let's face it, we are all human.  We all fall short.

The Bible even says for all have sin and fallen short.  If you look back at every successful leader, you'll find that they could tell you a story of defeat.

Falling short can be the most discouraging thing ever.  What starts as optimism, and resolute hope, can sometimes come up a yard short of the end-zone, or the feeling that we didn't deliver, or worse the feeling you failed. When this happens you feel deflated.

The question is -- how do you deal the agony of defeat?

If you are like me, I usually need some time to rebound.  I can't automatically jump up,  brush it off and say, "oh well."  That might work for cheery cartoon character, but it doesn't work for me. In fact, if I see someone else just jump up after defeat, I'll wonder if they really cared about it in the first place.

The feeling of defeat, and the painful feeling actually means you cared about it.  And that's not such a bad thing.

When I feel defeat, what I tend to do is wallow for a bit.  If you want, you might think I'm having an inner pity party. Maybe, but for me its reflection.  I need to mull it over for just a little while. But I'm learning i need to set a clock. I don't want to stay there for long, otherwise I'm making myself even more vulnerable and less valuable to others.  My wife and colleagues don't need a grump. They need me as much in defeat as much as they need me in victory.  Maybe even more so. 

When I feel defeat I need my candle relit.  The best way for me to get my candle relit is three fold.

  1. Pray -- I simply ask God to intervene. Sharing a little bit of my sorrow, but then what I hope for.  Some times these prayers are written in a journal, or when a conversation I have when I cut the grass, or talk a walk.  BTW - I following the same pattern David did in the Psalms.  That's how he dealt with defeat.
  2. Lean In - I then look to see who I can get near, and I quietly let them light my candle.  In the process I might open up about my struggle, but sometimes I don't need to. God already knows.  I just need to get in the presence of someone who can help me change the subject. and who naturally pours courage into others. 
  3. Continue On - What I need to do next is get a boost in my endorphins.  Just moving forward can help. But sometimes to aid the restart, I'll go to my playlist of music, and pick songs that get me out of the funk and onto what's next.  Sometimes it might be be a quote or a bible verse. 

I call this three step process the PLC treatment -- as in - I just need some PLC. 

When I put the PLC into play -- pray, lean in, continue on --  I find myself in a better position to take the experience of defeat and learn from it.  At the end of the day, my best stories - are stories of struggle but with a PLC treatment that helped me get through it.  PLC is what allows me to persevere. It gives me courage.


Churchill has a great quote that reminds us that the best antidote to discouragement is courage.

Defeat is never fatal. Victory is never final. It's courage that counts.

So ,next time you are feeling defeat, find some PLC.  And know that courage is a choice.  When you feel defeated, Pray, Lean In to others, and Continue on. What else can you do?

Remind yourself that your story of defeat can one day be a story of hope. 




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