A Blessing or A Lesson? 8 Ways to Turn Life’s Losses into Wins

“I never lose. Either I Win or I Learn.”

NyRee Ausler
Women WInning – Photo Cred: Shutterstock

I don’t know who originated the quote above, but throughout the years, I have made it my own, internalizing it and applying it to every aspect of my life. I strongly believe that everything that happens in life is either a blessing or a lesson. Every success is an opportunity to celebrate and every failure is a chance to learn a valuable lesson; I consider both epic wins. This mindset has been pivotal in my ability to bounce back, reinvent myself, and create new opportunities. I have compiled a list of 8 ways to always win in life, even when it feels like you’re losing.

Change Your Perspective:

In times of challenge, it’s easy to see the glass as half empty. Early in my career, a company I was at suddenly made the announcement that they were shutting down and laying everyone off. I immediately started to panic but when I settled down at home that night, I realized that I no longer had to endure a three-hour daily commute, had run out of opportunities for advancement, and was only there for a paycheck. I enrolled in training courses and secured a higher-level position that paid more, offered growth and provided continuing education opportunities. Every time one door closes, another one opens. You just have to decide on which door to try.

Self-Analyze:

It’s easy to blame other people when things go wrong. Having the ability to be introspective and identify how you contributed to a failure or an unsatisfactory outcome is important in turning that loss into a win. No one is perfect, so there should always be something that you can find to improve on or do better next time. The fact that you survived and are able to look back at the situation is a success in itself.

Empathize:

I used to believe that any time I lost, someone else had to have won. In my mind, there was always a supervillain behind the scenes praying for my demise and celebrating when that prayer was answered. Okay, that’s a little extreme, but you catch my drift. As I’ve grown, I’ve found that there is not always a clear winner and loser in every situation. Sometimes it’s a win-win and in others, everyone is mourning a loss. Putting yourself in another person’s shoes can help to ease anger and emotional baggage, freeing you to find the lesson and blessing.

Stand Up for Yourself or Someone Else:

I’ve always been a fighter. I stand up for what I believe in and refuse to stand by idly watching as another human being is treated unfairly. But when I started my career, I toned it down; as a black woman at work, I was careful not to be labeled as “aggressive” or “angry”. I wanted to fit in and not make waves. Every time I stood down when I should have stood up, I went home and almost couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror. It wasn’t long before I decided to be myself; no more going along to get along, no more code-switching or smiling in the face of disrespect, microaggressions, or disregard. Standing up for myself and others taught me to deal with my emotions and conflict effectively, what motivates others and what circumstances to avoid in the future.

Identify Opportunities:

I was once working as a payroll specialist but doing the work of a supervisor. When the supervisory role opened up, I figured I was going to be selected; I had proven I could do the job and do it well. My manager thought differently. She hired an external candidate and asked me to train her in her supervisory duties. I asked about why I have been passed over and was told that it was because I didn’t have a payroll certification. That day, I signed up to take the certification exam and began studying. After passing a few months later I moved to a supervisor role elsewhere. I decided that no one would ever be able to hold the lack of credentials over my head again. Even in times where you know you’re being treated unfairly, there are things that you can do to eliminate that roadblock going forward.

Find Clarity & Direction:

One of the first places that I worked for several years was at a cell phone provider. For years, I received accolades as a top customer service rep. I had built my phone persona and no matter how many customers cursed me out, yelled at me, and disrespected me, I stayed in character and did everything by the book. The company loved me. After a few years, employees were notified that the organization was relocating and I got offered a chance to move with them. I recalled the dread I felt pulling into work every day and the willpower and self-control it took to listen to people verbally assault you in one call after the next. I declined and dedicated my efforts to my payroll and human resources career. Sometimes we are well aware that we are not happy with the status quo, but need a push to move in the right direction.

Take a Break:

Nothing is more important than your mental health. In a culture where accomplishments, titles, and wealth rule, finding the time for self-care is hard. As many know, I left a “good job” six months ago. The pay was good, but not what it should have been for the work I was doing. The company was international so I was online early in the morning and late at night to meet with co-workers in various time zones. I had no job lined up and didn’t care. I needed a break. Since then, I have pampered myself, grown closer with my family, rediscovered my love of writing, and released years of stress. You can’t win in life without your health and mental wellness. Your first priority is to take care of yourself. Don’t sell out your God-given talents to make a buck or fill the emotional tanks of others while yours is running on empty. Plan, prepare and take a break when you need to.

Let it Go:

I used to hate when people told me that forgiveness is for me and not for the person being forgiven. I always felt as if I were being too passive by moving on from the transgression. However, the person that had wronged me would be past the situation and living their best life as if it never happened. I finally recognized that I was staying in a negative place and inflicting further suffering on myself. I began to practice the art of letting go. When I encounter something that I consider to be a bad experience, I ask myself two questions: Can I change it? If not, is there a lesson to be learned? If I can’t change it, I take the lesson and move on. If there is a lesson to be learned, I write it down, meditate on it to avoid a recurrence, and move on. If I can find no lesson in it, I stop the proverbial bleeding and move on. Either way, I move on. Erykah Badu famously said, “Bag lady, you gone hurt your back… dragging all them bags like that…” in one of my favorite songs, Bag Lady. The message was about moving on and not carrying excess baggage with you. So change things if you can, take in the lesson and lighten your load.

Whether the loss of a loved one has taught you to love your family while they are still here, you are starting out new with a fresh outlook on life, or you have simply cut your losses and kept it moving, every situation in life has been a stepping stone to get you to where you are today: alive and of sound mind with a world full of endless possibility at your fingertips.