11 Ways to Gracefully Lose A Battle But Still Win The End Game!

Whether you own your own business or work for a company, you have to be prepared to lose something at some point in your life.   As business owners, we will inevitably lose clients, sales, vendors and employees. As a staff member, you may lose those same things and could even lose your job.  People lose games, arguments and position every minute of the day.   But, whatever type of loss you encounter, learning to face it gracefully; without bitterness, envy or anger; will always take you to an ultimate win.

I have to admit that I don’t like to lose and I don’t do it very often but it happens.  As an athlete, I learned that Second Place is the First Place Loser.  As a violin player, second chair was as bad as playing in the balcony.   As a singer, get the lead and not the chorus.  As a wife, I wanted everything in my relationship and home to be flawless.beethoven

As a mother, my child should be perfectly wonderful.  As a business owner, I want client relations to be great. And as a person, I want my life to work well and be complete.

News Flash!  Life has a way of doing as it pleases. Perfection rarely, if ever, happens and when things don’t happen the way you want or think they should happen – it can seem like a you’re losing!

People lose jobs, marriages, friendships, businesses, relationships, loved ones and sometimes we even lose a dog or a cat.  Losing and winning are both a part of Life.  We all know how to win at things. Winning always feels good.  The easy emotions and good vibrations that come along with a win can be very addictive.  Everyone loves a winner!  Winners are applauded, showered with accolades, complimented and admired.

But, when we lose something, the “winner” in us can go into a tailspin, leaving us empty, enraged and feeling alone.  When we lose things, it can often affect our self-esteem, work flow, damage relationships and make us resentful. But, there are some things that can help us turn what seems to be a loss into an ultimate End Game Win!

  1. Accept that you are human and human life is about loss. Everyone loses something. There is not a human being on Earth that has not lost at one time or another.  We can go back to the beginning of human history and see that Adam and Eve lost the Garden of Eden. Then they lost their son, Abel.  Moses lost out on being a Prince of Egypt. Haman lost to Mordecai.  For a just a minute, it looked like Samson lost to Delilah and Joseph lost to his brothers.  At one point, it looked like even God Himself, had lost.

In our modern times, politicians lose races, companies fold, reputations are trampled and jobs, friends, money, houses, husbands, wives and even children are lost.  Loss is a human condition that happens from time to time.

  1. Know who you are as a person. When loss happens, you have to be sure of your confidenceidentity and in touch with your authentic self.  Stress and deep disappointment will seep into your soul, if you don’t have a connection to who you truly are.  If you have been living inside of other people’s perceptions of who you should be and what you should be doing, loss will overtake you because you won’t have a firm foundation to stand on when it looks like things are falling apart.

We’ve all heard of the husband or wife who died and the spouse couldn’t find a reason to go on living, so they died shortly thereafter.  People lose jobs and commit suicide; they lose a big client and delve deep into alcohol or substance abuse and depression.

You can grieve a loss but grief should not take such a stronghold that it kills you or leads you into an abyss.  You had a life before that loss. Make sure that your foundation within yourself is so strong that loss cannot take you out of the game.  Learn how to get back up again.

  1. This too shall soon pass. Whenever I was angry at my parents, saddened by something they said or did, or whenever something at school or with friends did not go the way that I expected it would, Mom would say to me, “This too shall soon pass.” Basically, she taught me to accept grief as a part of moving forward.  She taught me that whatever I was feeling at that moment would diminish and go away. The pain would become less, the stinging would ease and I would be just fine as long as I got out of my own way.

I can clearly remember the first time I was ever fired from a job. I had actually been self-employed for about eight years, when this company pursued me to become their Director of Plan Education and Communications.

Job-LossIt sucked from the start.  I had the title and the money but no autonomy or authority.  And even though I felt totally trapped and was very unhappy, being terminated felt like a train had hit me. My vision blurred and the pain in my heart was actually physical.  In just a few minutes, I experienced a gamut of emotions ranging from utter disbelief to deep and overwhelming sadness.  I even got sick to my stomach and I sobbed as I packed my belongings.

I had been so invested in how good I was at my job that it never occurred to me that someone could or even would set me up for failure and dismissal.  The words, “We’re letting you go,” cut through me like a knife and I could barely breathe.  I went home that day and stayed there for the next three days.

Fortunately for me, I have a strong foundation about who I am and after I held my brief Pity Party, I got up and started to make plans to move forward.  Within a week, I had re-launched my company and never looked back.

  1. Practice the Art of Surrender to the Situation. Simply put:  Most things that happen in our lives happen externally. They are things that we didn’t create and cannot control.  How others act or feel, who likes or loves us (or doesn’t), acts of nature, rising tides, the animal kingdom and the setting of the Sun (along with many other things) are surrendercompletely out of our control.  And there is nothing we can do about it.  So, we need to develop the Art of Surrendering in order to cope and maintain our balance.  Surrendering the outcome is a freeing experience because you are not tied to results but committed to right action.

I remember in the early 80’s, the mudslides that happened in and around Santa Cruz, California.  To go to bed during a rainstorm and wake up to 3-4 feet of mud covering yards, driveways and roads, houses smashed to bits by uprooted Giant Redwoods, death and destruction all around, was a shocking and horrendous event in my Life.  Being without food, power, water and the ability to drive was a frightening experience.  It looked and felt like a war zone and it was all entirely out of my control.

The only thing that we could do was to focus on day-to-day survival issues; getting food, water and staying safe and warm.  Anyone who has ever been in a natural disaster has learned two important lessons: (1) How to release control of the outcome and (2) How to prepare for anything that comes your way.  I also learned that when mud moves, it smothers sound and you don’t hear it coming until it is so close that you cannot possibly get away.  Loss is like that too.

  1. Avoid Anger and the Blame Game. Sometimes loss can be directly attributed to another person. Other times loss is nobody’s fault. There is nothing and no one to pin it on.  In either case, don’t get caught up in the need to blame someone or something.  Anger and blame are like a pair of fraternal twins.  They may not look exactly alike but they come from the same source.  Both can affect your mental health, your physical health and impede your everyday activities.

Ongoing anger at external events can destroy your self-esteem, do great harm to your relationships and can even kill you.  Anger has been linked to heart disease, strokes, Cancer and a host of avoidable diseases.  If you have out of control anger, then you need to seek professional help. But, most often talking your anger through with someone whose counsel you trust can help you bring it under control.

The saying, “Laughter is the best medicine,” is absolutely true. When I catch myself falling into anger, I look for things that will make me laugh.  I might turn on a show, pop in a movie or call one of my funnier friends.  Comedy Central has helped me more times than I can count!

  1. Guilt is a wasted emotion. Feeling guilty about loss is ridiculous unless you did something to feel guilty about. But, even if the loss is your own fault, get with someone and confess your sins.  You will find that simply opening up and talking about what you’ve done will make you feel better. If you’ve wronged someone and created your own loss, simply say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. It will never happen again.”  If someone can’t forgive you after that, then move on and lose the guilt.

Young businessman lost in depression sitting on ground street subway

If you are feeling guilty and you’ve done nothing wrong – STOP!  Access the situation, talk it out with a friend or confidante and get on with your Life.  If someone is trying to make you feel guilty when you have nothing to feel guilty about, lose them!  Life is too short to worry about nonsense.

  1. Shame. Shame. Although many people believe that guilt and shame are synonymous, they are two entirely different emotions.  Guilt is externally focused on behaviors and expresses itself by saying, “I did or said something bad.”  While shame is internally focused and expresses itself by saying, “I am a bad person.”

The shame of losing a job, divorcing a spouse, losing your freedom in the judicial system or even losing a baby can make you want to hide yourself away and pretend that things never happened.  When people experience shame, they want to hide, if not literally, than most certainly figuratively.  They may hide their true selves in order to avoid further hurt and pain. They may hide behind a cloud of denial to the true circumstances surrounding their loss.

This type of shame is based on how others might or might not view your loss.  It is based on how others perceive you and your value system and judgments.  Until you come to a genuine and clear belief about who and what you are, you will continue to be a mere reflection of what others think and how they feel about you. And when that feeling turns negative as a result of your loss, you will feel shame.

  1. Stand your ground. The hardest thing to do is to stand your ground in the face of unfair and erroneous accusations – but do it anyway.  Your integrity to you and your own values and standards is more important than going along to get along.

All too often people become boiling cauldrons of resentment because they back down when standing up to adversity, accusation and misplaced dominance is the thing to do.  If you know you are right then stand firm in your righteousness.  Don’t be bullied into taking a position that you are opposed to no matter how much the pressure of loss weighs on you.  In the end, you will be happy that you drew that line in the sand and stood firm in your convictions and the people around you will be happier with a happy you.

  1. Release and forgive. No matter the situation, you have to be willing and ready to release and forgive.  You must release the negative emotions that you are feeling and forgive the person, situation and sometimes God for what is going on in your Life.

Significant loss can trigger fear.  Even small loses can trigger a host of negative releaseemotions including anxiousness, insecurity or helplessness.  You have to be willing to let these things go.  Get a piece of paper and write down all the feelings and emotions you are experiencing. Write down how you feel about the person, place or thing that created your loss.  Take a match and set that piece of paper on fire. Make sure you go outside. You don’t want to burn down your house and, depending on the size of the fire that is a distinct possibility.

I’m being facetious but I want you to burn those feelings and watch the smoke rise into the sky and dissipate.  Let that ish go and move on. You will be happier, those around you will be happier.  Your world will become a safe place for you again.

  1. Get on with your Life. Now it’s time to make your next move.  You’ve accepted your loss, reckoned with the outcome, overcome your anger and grief and it’s time to rebuild.  I know a woman who completely reinvented herself after the death of her husband. She went from stay-at-home wife and Mom to CEO of a very successful business. She took her baking hobby and opened up a cupcake shop. Now she has nearly a dozen shops in three States.

new lifeIf you don’t have a hobby, now might be the time to get one.  Do you love to walk?  Take up hiking!  Got an eye for design?  Get a degree in decorating. Don’t let age be a barrier to your dreams. Remember that Colonel Sanders didn’t become a professional chef until he was 40 and he started Kentucky Fried Chicken at the tender young age of 62.

If your loss is work related, think about taking your genius and starting your own business. If you can’t do that, don’t wait too long before looking for a new position.  If it’s a client loss, replace them as fast as you possibly can or reassess and move in another direction.

If your loss is more personal, take time to fully grieve but don’t get mired in it.  Whether someone left you or died, there is nothing you can do about it. When my uncle died, I looked back on his life with profound happiness. I remember everything he taught me and how much he loved me. I could see that he lived a good and full life and I chose to focus on the more positive aspects of it.

  1. And finally, remember that no matter what happened, who caused it or the implications of the situation, you will be okay.  Not only will you survive, you can thrive and live fully after loss if you remember that “This too shall soon pass.”  Know that your feelings are normal and with time, they will soften and eventually go away. The sun will shine in your world again. helping-hand

Try to keep loss from interrupting your daily routine.  Keep exercising and eating – but don’t overeat because of grief. Continue to interact with your loved ones on a meaningful level.   Maintain your hobbies and those things that bring you deep joy. Don’t let loss steal your Happy.

If you are a person of faith, pray about it and hand it over to God.  If you are not a religious person, think about it and give it to the Universe, chant over it or bury it in the earth.   Just get those negative emotions and feelings out of your head and heart. and turn them over to something bigger than yourself.

When I was a kid, I wrote poems, music and short stories about my pains and perceived losses.  As an adult, I talk about it with God, close confidantes or my Mom. Then I take it to paper and write or blog about it because I know that if I am having this experience, others are too.  No man or woman is an island unto themselves. Use your experience to help others find their way in the darkness.  But, please remember that whatever you are going through, you are not alone.  I and many others really do have your back!  In the end, handling loss with dignity and grace will lead you to the Winners Circle.


What Will You Do For Love?

me n gabeGabriel and I have been in Atlanta for nearly 4 months now.  It is by far the biggest transition I have ever made in my life.  I have moved to 4 major cities, including leaving the country, completly alone and knowing no one.   But, I have never moved with a child — especially a special needs child.

These first few months have been filled with making sure that all of his services; every therapist and doctor as well as specialists are duplicated here in Georgia.  I have personally interviewed each and every one of them to make sure of his level of care and that he progresses at the same level of speed that we had achieve while living in Florida.

Gabriel is a trooper always ready with a laugh and a giggle that can make my clouds virtually disappear!  He would live in a card board box as long as his Mommy was there with him!  Fortunately for both of us, that will not be an option he will have to explore.  Things are tight as I restart my life and business here in Georgia but the move was necessary in order to give Gabriel the best pre-school education that I could.

Gabriel is blissfully unaware of anything except eating, sleeping, playing and pooping!  His days are currently filled with wreaking havoc at his daycare — all the while batting his big browns and flashing his wonderful smile — as we wait for his first year at the Buice School to start this August.  It is absolutely amazing how much progress he has made physically!

This summer we focused much of our attention on a few basics like getting in and out of his toddler bed and walking.  Once we settled into our duplex townhouse, I decided it was time that Gabriel moved from his baby bed into a toddler bed.  Up until then, he had only experienced entrapped sleeping. 

I needed to teach him out to get in and out of bed.  It took one day!  For about four hours we worked on getting in the bed one leg at a time.  He used the sheets to pull himself in and didn’t use his legs too much.  For him, it was a gargantuan effort.  It took so much out of him but by the end of the day, he could get in and out of bed on his own.

A few nights later, I awoke to the intense feeling that someone was in the room with me watching me.  My heart froze in the darkness.  I slowly opened my eyes to find Gabriel standing at the end of the bed — just looking at me.  I burst into laughter and took him back to bed.  It happened again the next night!  I decided, for safety’s sake (we are on the second floor) to put up a barrier that would keep him in bed at night.  Not only had he mastered the art of getting out of bed, he was able to maneuver the safety gate at his bedroom door to complete the escape.  I can’t help but smile at how smart he is.

We also started walking this summer.  He is adept at walking down the stairs (holding my hand of course) and can walk (albeit wobbly) all the way to the car.  Once at daycare, we take the long walk to breakfast with Gabriel waving to everyone along the way.  His legs grow stronger everyday and he is able to stand alone for about 10 seconds.  This may not seem like much to anyone else, but for Gabriel this is a monumental accomplishment!

Gabriel has also learned to color!  And the walls of his room are proof of his artistry.  I have had to remove all crayons (unless I am in the room.) From walls to doors to window sills — Gabriel’s artistic endeavors tell me he is truly a master at horizontal and vertical lines.  A Van Gogh is on the horizon.  More to come soon!


If Obama Is the Answer … Then What the Heck Is the Question?

iron curtainNorman Thomas, six times candidate for president on the Socialist Party ticket, said  the following:

  • “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism.  But under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”
  • “The difference between Democrats and Republicans is: Democrats have accepted some ideas of Socialism cheerfully, while Republicans have accepted them reluctantly.”
  • “I no longer need to run as a presidential candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform.” 

The election of Barack Hussein Obama, has ushered in Thomas’ dream of a Socialist America.  Against all believable odds, a Socialist America, lead by Barack Obama, is indeed coming to pass.  Most American’s do not want or support Socialized Medicine. But, our illustrious leader and his cronies do — so the American public will once again be forced to submit to programs and policies that “We the People” not only do not  accept but are vehemently against.  

“We the People” will not be offered the oppotunity to vote on this issue (as we should be able to in a Republic) because a handful of politicians, who happen to control our government, and a litany of loud talking Liberal activists — do want this policy.  We will have to bend over, cheeks spread wide and take in another loathsome and cumbersom government program that will plunge our country further towards the brink of destruction.  And yet we wait –silently — teeth clinched in pain, as Dr. Obama says, “Can you cough for me?”

Two thirds of US citizens DID NOT vote for Mr. Obama (How many votes did Barack Obama and John McCain each have? — Wikipedia.)   And while it is true that Obama did indeed triump in the election, his win is hardly a sweeping National approval of his mandates or his ultra-Liberal policies as Democrats would have us believe.

Commandant Tax Cheat, Timothy Franz Geithner, wants Congress to bestow on him the ability to independently determine when a major company is in trouble and then take it over — for our own good of course.  At best this is Socialism — at worst — Communism.

Our government leaders forced the retirement of the head of General Motors because he disagreed that the company needed to go into Bankruptcy (putting tens of thousands of Americans out of work and onto the Welfare rolls.)   Since when did the president of the United States hav the authority to intervene in a private business matter?  Not only is it unconstitutional, it is absolutely illegal and amounts, basically, to theft of property!  The American people did not want this!  Most of us don’t even agree with bailouts of private businesses.   But no matter, now we are saddled with Goverment Motors, which we, of course, share with a foreign power — Canada.  More KY Jelly, PLEASE!

I’m not rich.  But, even a blind duck can see that overtaxing those who spend the most; employ people and contribute to the economic development of our society is plain stupid!  Instead of proposing something reasonable, like an across the board Flat Tax, President Tax and Spend wants to penalize you for using your brains and motivation to get ahead in this world.  If you are old enough to remember Jimmy Carter and the dark ages of the late 70’s and early 80’s, the nightmare of double digit interest rates alone should frighten you into becoming more Conservative on the economic policies for this country.

If Obama and his Socialist friends were to focus on what “actually works,” they would make school choice the law of the land, crack down on drugs and gangs, lower taxes in urban areas to encourage the growth of the private sector, and a host of other free market solutions that have been advocated for decades. Instead, we get the same old tired bromides about government intervention.”  American Thinker, June 1, 2009.

Yes folks, believe it!  We have “Change!”  But is it really a “change” that we can live with?


Are-you-living-your-life-on-purpose-Calgary-PsychThe gulf between fear and perceived reality is a minor one for me because I can choose what I want to believe!

I am not afraid of the dwindling economy.  I am not afraid of terrorists.  I am not afraid of the credit crunch.  I am not afraid of my home being foreclosed.  I am not afraid that I will be out of work forever.   I am not afraid of running out of food.  I am not afraid of running out of money.  I am not afraid that my son cannot attend his school. I am not afraid of home invaders or robbers.   I am not afraid of the IRS.  I am even not afraid that my car will break down.  I am simply not afraid.

Fear is not an option in my life.  I have a promise from God that “All things will work together for good, for those who love Him…”  And I am standing on that promise!  I no longer live in the economy of this world and so, I am no longer afraid of its repercussions.   I give because I want to – I have to – give!

I stand confident on that promise!  I believe that God would bankrupt Heaven on my behalf!   I believe that if I were the only human on Earth, he would have sent a Savior just for me!

He created the Heavens so that I could have something to look at.  He created flowers so that I could have something nice to smell.  He created the mountains so I could have something big to climb.  He created the seas so that I could have something vast to swim.  He created the sand so something would feel warm on my skin.  He created the Moon so that I could read at night.

I choose God’s Word over the “Wisdom” of our American culture.  I choose Life!

I choose to not be afraid.  I choose not to take a path that will leave me shaking in my shoes.   I choose what I will think about.  I choose what I will become.  I choose who I am today.  I choose truth above the lies that this world’s society presents to me.

I choose.  I choose.  I choose.  And in the end – I will win.  Because God said so!

It’s Not Easy Going Green

If Sustainable Living is the new Buzz Word for this Millenium then Going Green is its bastard child.  

There is no question that if we are to continue to exist on this planet; with a modicum of comfort-ability; something must change.  We need a new attitude to produce a New Earth.

Thinking about Solar and Alternative Energy sources give most folks a headache.  And the idea of Going Green in your home can be both daunting and expensive if you face the task without solid advice and guidance.

Herein lies the dilemma:  Most people support the idea of saving the planet, but have no clue sd to how to implement the changes necessary to Go Green. 

For you who are over tired, over taxed and over it all, we provide the top fifteen  things they can do to move boldly and confidently into a Green lifestyle:

  1. Adopt one Green Living practice per month.
  2. Think globally – buy locally!
  3. Take advantage of natural light whenever possible.
  4. It’s not that hard to build one.
  5. Use natural flooring but do consider carpet tiles which are easy to replace where there’s damage and have a longer life than roll carpet.
  6. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. The quickest way you can save energy is just to swap out your light bulbs.
  7. If you can, use your own cloth bags; even better!
  8. Service your HVAC system at least every two years and replace filters with each season.
  9. For every chemical, there is a natural alternative.
  10. In the summer, shut down your drier and hang your clothes on a line.  Nature smells better!
  11. Plan your driving trips carefully; make them linear.
  12. Grow your own.  Plant a garden!
  13. Don’t throw it away… donate it!
  14. Lower your water use by lowering your flushing!
  15. Recycle cans.  Recycle plastic.  Recycle paper.  Recycle your mind.  Just recycle!

And there you have it!    There is so much more that you can do, but we can begin here and move forward towards A New Earth!