Florida lost to Alabama on Saturday, just as most college football fans figured, but by fewer points than the handicappers in Las Vegas guessed.
Not that it matters. I am a Florida fan, and losing is always the pits. Losing to Alabama, arguably the greatest war machine ever developed in 150 years of college football, by two points stings like a wasp, and the welt figures to linger around for a while.
I hate losing. I don’t have much patience for it. Growing up in the 1990s, when Florida was winning almost every game, I learned to come to The Swamp with an expectant heart, one ready to see us win — and win big! When faced with a big loss, I compound the loss with some bad decision making.
Saturday night? I chased down the Florida loss with fried chicken and donuts for dinner. This decision made the night a little longer.
In business, the stakes are much higher, and the results can have much more real impact on us. But the losses come just the same.
Not every proposal is a winner. Not every big idea works. We all lose work, lose colleagues, lose a pitch. Hell, we all lose our minds.
When we find ourselves on the wrong end of a result, it’s OK to feel bad about it. It’s OK to not believe in moral victories — Steve Spurrier, Florida’s greatest football coach, said, “Please don’t clap when you lose a game. There’s no moral victories in any sport.”
I agree with him. So, what are we to do after taking a big L?
I think we have to greet them with a resolve to move forward. Moving forward may mean recognizing bugs in your big plan and fixing mistakes. It could mean accepting failure of one idea and trying something new just as earnestly.
Moving forward may require a paradigm shift. It may require new thinking and new risks to set a new path. It may require a commitment to working harder, learning more and building a better mousetrap.
When the extra work pays off with a W, you’ll be ready to celebrate a win that will be a little sweeter.
So get back to work.