Defeat Isn’t Bitter…Unless

Defeat is only bitter if you choose to swallow it. Sooner or later everyone who tries something new to improve their lot in life will experience failure. Trying anything is a risk and the fact is, the more we are willing to risk the more we will fail. Defeat, at least occasionally, is inevitable. 

The people who eventually turn out to be the most successful are the ones who viewed their early defeats as part of the process of achieving ultimate success. They accepted the defeat, learned from it and moved on. 

Learning from a failure or defeat is essential to ultimate success. Truly successful people do not endlessly repeat the same mistakes. They keep the lesson from the mistake top of mind but they let go of the mistake itself. They linger on the mistake only long enough to be certain it’s not going to show up again. Once that certainty exists the mistake is quickly forgotten. 

People who refuse to swallow the bitterness of defeat do not blame others for their failure. They analyze what worked, what didn’t, why it didn’t and then they accept responsibility to make whatever changes are required to avoid repeating the same mistake. They may make new ones but they understand that even new mistakes indicate a level of progress. 

People who succeed despite the occasional defeat keep their emotions in check. They don’t get too excited by a win and they don’t get too low from a loss. Defeats simply build their resolve to try harder next time. Defeat spurs them on to develop a better plan for the next attempt and provides them energy to implement the better plan. 

People who refuse to swallow the bitter pill of defeat consistently validate themselves. They remind themselves that even champions rarely go undefeated. While they accept responsibility for what went wrong they don’t wear failure like anchor. They remind themselves of past successes and the failures it took to achieve it.

They know they can succeed. They believe in themselves. They trust themselves. They push themselves. They hold themselves accountable. They know they are a product of the decisions they make and the decisions they don’t. They know mistakes of omission are as costly as mistakes of commission so they take action even when the outcome is uncertain. 

When you start tasting the bitterness of defeat spit it out. Spit it out, a take a sip of a new, fresh tasting idea that helps you change direction towards success.

Like most things in life swallowing defeat is a choice to be made…or not. 

Choose not!

The Enemy Within a Me

People get frustrated with me when I tell them that it’s very likely the greatest obstacle to success they face is themselves. 

They tell me I don’t understand, but I do. They tell me I don’t know, but I do. They tell me I don’t know how tough it can be “out there,” but I do. 

I also know that in any situation where I’ve struggled to advance or accomplish a goal my greatest enemy was within me. That enemy slowed down my progress. My doubts about my own abilities prevented me from moving forward. Those doubts opened the door to my true enemy which was fear of failure. 

Despite the compliments I get about my speaking ability, the things I write and other stuff I do, I know this undeniable truth about myself…overall I’m a pretty average person. I don’t say that about myself in a bad way, in fact my “averageness” is one of my greatest strengths. It helps me relate to the people I’m trying to help. 

That’s why I can say with a high degree of confidence, I do understand, I do know. 

I also know my main enemy is within a me! 

I know the best way for me to block that enemy is to believe in myself. People who believe in themselves are pretty darn near impossible to stop. When YOU believe in yourself you are pretty much unstoppable.

Believing in yourself leaves no room for doubt. Without doubt to open the door fear has no way into your head. 

Any battle is halfway won when when your enemy within is kept away. Obstacles become opportunities when the enemy within you can’t mess with your head. 

So the next time doubt starts to creep into your thoughts you need to immediately ask yourself,  “is this an actual problem, or is this the enemy within a me just tearing down my confidence?”

If you’re average like me, and most of you are, (see, that’s how “average” works) you’ll know it’s the enemy within. You should also know you can defeat it by ignoring it. I know that if you believe in yourself you will be unstoppable. 

I know that about you cause I know that about me. I’ll never let the enemy within a me make me doubt my ability and neither you should you.

Why Are You Hesitating?

There are many things that can limit a person’s ability to lead. Hesitating when action is required is one of the more common characteristics of weak leadership. 


There is rarely a perfect time to act. If you wait for that perfect time when all the stars are aligned and every conceivable obstacle has been removed then it’s likely you’ll never act at all. Sitting still makes it impossible to go anywhere so unless you’re already exactly where you want to be you better do something.


Some leaders hesitate because they are afraid of risk. Well here’s the deal…risk is mandatory if success and growth are your goals. The legendary Randy Gage (if he’s not a legend he should be) wrote a book in 2013 called “Risky is the New Safe.” The title pretty much says it all. I highly recommend this book if you’re struggling to take the leap of trying something new. It’s available on Amazon for under 10 bucks but it’s value remains priceless. 


The fact is the riskiest thing you can do in almost any situation is nothing. Yet nothing is what way too many people in leadership positions do when action is called for. That’s a direct path to failure.


Limited leaders also hesitate because they know that they need help yet they refuse to ask for it. They see acknowledging that they need help as a sign of weakness. Even the biggest most powerful trains sometimes need an extra engine to get going. Perhaps you need a boost too. It’s not a weakness to ask for help, it is in fact a sign of strength. If you need help ask anyone and everyone until you have the help you need to succeed.


Many failed leaders procrastinated past their window of opportunity. They may have convinced themselves that they were being patient. They were really hiding in their comfort zones waiting for the opportunity to pass. Their belief is that if you didn’t try then you cannot fail. They didn’t realize that their failure to try was their biggest failure of all. 


Patience is the acceptance that things can happen in a different order than you had in mind. When you don’t know what to do next just do the next right thing. The “order” of things will work themselves out if you keep doing the next right thing. 


Joseph Addison said “He who hesitates is lost.” He said that in 1713. I’m thinking life moved a little slower back then. Today that phrase might be updated to say, “if you even think about thinking about hesitating you have zero chance to succeed.”

Business and life in general move so fast these days that not only do you lose if you hesitate, you’re not even in the game. 

The Folly of Accepting Failure

When is failure not really failure?

Let’s look at some of the biggest “failures” in history to determine if we can answer that question.

Harland David Sanders. This guy knew chicken! He had himself a great recipe but not everyone agreed. Perhaps better known as Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, Sanders had a hard time selling his chicken at first. In fact, his famous secret chicken recipe was rejected 1009 times before a restaurant accepted it. 1009 rejections, or “failures” and yet no one can deny the Colonel’s incredible success. I guess this isn’t really an example of failure.

Akio Morita. Not exactly a household name but maybe you have heard of the little company he built. It’s known as Sony. Sony’s first product was a rice cooker that didn’t actually cook rice so much as burn it, less than 100 units were sold. This setback didn’t stop him and his partners as they worked to create a multi-billion dollar company. I guess this isn’t really an example of failure either.

Thomas Edison. Early on, teachers told Edison he was “too dumb to learn anything.” Work was just a bad, he was fired from his first two jobs for not being good enough. As an inventor, Edison made 1000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. 1000 unsuccessful attempts by the guy who eventually gave us light. I guess this isn’t really an example of failure after all.

Abraham Lincoln: While today he is remembered as one of the greatest leaders ever, honest Abe’s life wasn’t so easy. In his youth he went to war as a captain and returned a private. (failure of that magnitude is truly amazing) Lincoln didn’t stop failing there, however. He started numerous failed businesses and was defeated in several runs for public office. But then he became President, the rest as they say is history. If this is what failure looks like we should all be so lucky to fail.

Vincent Van Gogh. During his lifetime, Van Gogh sold only one painting, and this was to a friend and only for a very small amount of money. While Van Gogh never appeared to be a success during his lifetime, he plugged away with painting, sometimes starving to complete his over 800 known works. Today, they bring in hundreds of millions. Sometimes you may not have the opportunity to experience your own success but that does not mean you’re a failure either.

The Beatles. These guys haven’t made a record in a while but nobody can really deny the lasting power of this incredible group; still popular with around the world today. Yet when they were just starting out, a recording company told them no. They were told “we don’t like your sound, and guitar music is on the way out,” two things the rest of the world couldn’t have disagreed with more. The lesson here is that failure doesn’t last…. unless we allow it to.

Babe Ruth. You probably know Babe Ruth because of his home run record, (714 during his career), or the candy bar NOT named after him, but along with all those home runs came a huge number of strikeouts (1,330 in all). In fact, for decades he held the record for strikeouts. When asked about this he simply said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” Yet another lesson in the incredible power of perseverance.

Coca-Cola. My personal favorite example of perseverance however comes from a company that I do business with nearly everyday. Coca-Cola sold 25 bottles of Coke their first year. It would have been so easy to simply accept their failure and give up. They kept going. Things worked out okay. Today 1.7 billion servings of Coke, (in bottles, cans, and glasses) are served each DAY.

Each of these examples provide a lesson in the power of fortitude, the power of never never never giving up. Imagine if these people had given up just one day sooner. We might be sitting in the dark, listening to ABBA on a 78 RPM record, eating bad chicken, and drinking water in a divided USA.

Failure, as it turns out is only failure when we fail to try again. Never never give up and most importantly, never never never give up on you!

“Too Little” is all You Need to Fail


Ever wonder why some people fail and others succeed? I don’t think it’s all that hard to figure out. Almost all successful people have one thing in common. Now, different types of successful people have different things in common; athletes have great skill, professional people tend to have educated themselves well. Successful parents have great empathy and listen well.

But all successful people (regardless of what they do) seem to have this in common: they have done the things that less successful people simply didn’t like to do.

Successful people do the things that must be done, whether they wanted to or not. Less successful people(what some people would call failures) do the things they felt like doing.

Almost without exception, the less successful people have done too little to succeed. Too little school, too little practice, too little planning, too little effort. Too little of whatever it was that they needed to succeed at what they were doing.

Here is the saddest thing about people that do too little; they have it completely within their power to do enough. They can even choose to do more than enough, just in case they need a little extra down the road.

The difference between failure and success is the difference between too little and a little more.

So, here you go, just fill in the blank: I doing too little ______________________ to achieve my goals and succeed. (Make sure you’re not giving yourself too little honesty here.)

Now you know what to work on so quit reading this and eliminate “too little” from your life!