This is the third of several blogs inspired by NCAA basketball’s “March Madness” championship tournament.
As described in my previous blog, a few basketball players will become instant heroes when they hit a winning shot during March madness. But for every one person who makes the highlight reel, there will be several who walk off the court with their heads hung in despair. They’re the ones who miss a key free throw or make a bad pass or just have a bad game. And because of that, they feel that the team’s loss rests on their shoulders.
One of the oft repeated sayings during March madness is “win or go home.” It refers to the reality that this is a single elimination tournament. When a team loses, they’re eliminated from the tournament and their season is over. For most of the seniors on the team, it will be the end of their basketball careers.
As a leader, how do you respond to “losing a game”? When you put your energy into a major initiative and it doesn’t go well, how do you feel? When you push for an important decision and the board doesn’t support you, how do you handle the rejection? Do you treat these setbacks as if you’re solely responsible and as career-defining?
If your son or daughter was one of the basketball players whose team had just been defeated, what would you say to him or her? You’d probably point out that they weren’t solely responsible for the loss; that others also made mistakes. You’d eventually remind him or her that this chapter might be ending (as a college basketball player) but that God still has great plans for the future. Let me encourage you to apply the same advice to yourself. A Christian leader should never view their journey as “win or go home.” God is still in the business of redeeming mistakes and giving second chances. So work your hardest to win, but don’t give up and go home when you experience a defeat.