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I Either Win or Learn

This week we have rockstar Pastor Josh Lue giving us some advice on Leadership that matters to him and his application. He is not your normal minister! Take a read and even better, go see him in person! If you do, I promise, he will have you coming back to hear more of what he has to say because he will fill your soul! - Nels


To keep things simple, I am going to share with you the quote that I live by when it comes to leadership. For me, this quote, more than anything else I have run across, sums up what I think it means to be a great leader. The quote is this, “I don’t ever lose, I either win or learn.” Before you move on, I want you to take a moment and read that quote about 5 times so it will really stick.

Lesson 1: No such thing as losing

The first lesson this quote helped me learn is that there is no such thing as losing. The only way you can lose is if you choose it, or if you choose not to learn from your mistakes. If you can learn to grasp this mindset as a leader, then that means even when you don’t accomplish what you set out to do, it is not a loss, but instead an opportunity to learn something you probably wouldn’t have learned any other way. When you learn to shift your thinking in this direction you are able to embrace the perspective that failure is not the same thing as a loss. Failure is simply a normal natural part of life that we can learn from, and a loss is just giving up. In my experience, some of the most important lessons I have learned about doing things well didn't come from the wins, but from my most miserable failures.

Lesson 2: Lessen the Fear of Failure

Choosing to live and lead with this mindset has lessened my fear of failure and freed me to take bigger risks. No longer am I being held back by the questions, “what if I fail”, or “what if I get this wrong,” or at least not as much because no doubt I still ask those questions. Now I also spend my time thinking about how great the win would be, or how much I could learn through the process. This mentality has set me free to dream bigger, take bigger risks, and with bigger dreams and bigger risks you often get a bigger reward.

Lesson 3: Change your Culture

This one principle holds the power to change the culture of your staff or your business in amazing ways. For example, what we have experienced at First Christian Church Great Bend, KS, after making this one of our core values, is that our people are now motivated less by trying not to lose, and more by playing to win. All because when we do lose (which happens often), it is not something we punish or get angry about, but is simply just another great opportunity to learn from and get better. Oftentimes, what we learn in our failure is exactly what we needed as a church to take a program or a service to the next level.

Lesson 4: Proven Method

For me, what really makes this quote so powerful is that it didn’t come from some coach trying to help the team overcome adversity, it didn’t come from some self-help book trying to help us feel better about our failure, this quote came from Nelson Mandela. A man who not only spent 27 years in prison for standing up for the rights of his fellow South Africans during Apratheid, but a man who after he was released from prison helped to put his broken country back together again in a peaceful way. A man who learned so much from his failures that he became a global leader. Helping the world to become a safer, better place for us all.


If you are looking for a leadership principle that works, I don’t think it gets any better than this. If you don’t believe me, I would encourage you to take whatever issue you are facing at this moment (because we all have something) and begin to look at it through the lens of “I don’t ever lose, I either win or learn,” and I think you will begin to see just how powerful this quote - this mindset can truly be when it comes to your business and your life.

Thanks, Dr. Nels, for this incredible opportunity to share something meaningful to me on your leadership blog. Not only that, but thank you for your leadership in the church, and for being a good friend.


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