October 7, 2014

How Do We Respond to Defeat?

The thrill of victory is energizing and exciting and the agony of defeat is unsavory. While victory and defeat stir up tremendous emotion, neither is final but simply present us with a decision.

As a Washington State Cougar fan, I know all about the agony of defeat, and the thrill of great victories. The Cougars have made famous the term “Coug’d It.” Simply defined as the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Yes, we have turned some great victories into improbable and unbelievable losses. 

On Saturday night, I journeyed to WSU, in Pullman, Washington for our homecoming game with Cal.

With 19 seconds left, on a night Cougar quarterback Connor Halliday set the NCAA record for passing yards in a single game, Halliday drove the Cougars down to the one-yard line, setting up a 19 yard field goal to win the game.

“The Cougars are lined up for a simple field goal, to win the game. Here’s the snap, the hold, and the kick is up.” To everyone’s disbelief the kick sailed wide. In one of the most thrilling and exciting games in college football history, the Cougars lost 60-59. The thrill of victory yanked from our grasp and replaced with the agony of defeat.

Everyone, and every team has “Coug’d It,” and it is in the wake of the agony of defeat that we make a decision, either actively or by default, to press-on or give up.

Committing to press-on assures us we will come face-to-face with challenges, obstacles and risk.

“Failure is the inevitable companion of a large vision. No one can take on a significant and difficult challenge without stumbling a few times. The important thing is how we respond. The goal is not a fail-safe record but a pattern of increasing effectiveness.” 

— Harold Myra

While some may say they are not interested in a large vision, isn’t failure also the companion of a lack vision and purpose.

Each of us are uniquely skilled and gifted. No one has our unique place in history to serve and impact the people and circumstances around us. We will never know how good we can become, what we can achieve, or who we can positively serve or impact until we are willing to press-on and finish strong.

I don’t know what the coaches said to the players in the Cougar locker room or will say on the practice field this week. But it will likely be a challenge to press on and finish strong.

To finish strong, we need not worry about a fail-safe record simply defined by victory or defeat, but instead a pattern of increasing effectiveness that makes victory and the attainment of a large vision possible.

Don’t give in and routinely let the circumstances and events of the day define your outcomes and ultimately your legacy.

“It’s not enough to do our best; sometimes we have to do what is required.”

—Winston Churchill

Press on, wake up each morning and commit yourself to pursuing your most important roles and goals with energy, focus, and discipline. When we do what is required, we will enjoy increasing effectiveness.

What do you know about "Couging It?" Had you ever heard the term "Coug'd It?


2 comments on “How Do We Respond to Defeat?”

  1. Love the quote from Winston Churchill. Shared that with my board of directors. The stumbles in life give us necessary perspective to Coug It going forward. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Robert! I too see so much in the quote from Churchill. We can get stuck on thinking our best is as far as we can go. Continued growth is always a good option!

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