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You’re a loser

For some of us, September signifies the footy finals of various codes.  And I get it … for many it’s a case of “Who cares?!”.  Stick with me.

These days, we often get an insight into the behind-the-scenes action at many clubs and, after their loss and elimination from the AFL finals, Essendon gave us a glimpse into their response to losing.

In team sport, you will statistically lose half of the times that you try.  It means you get plenty of practice at coming up short.

In schools, we often don’t handle losing as nobly as Essendon did.  We can be quick to defend our mistakes and shortcomings or turn to blaming colleagues, parents, leaders, departments, ourselves or even students when things go awry.  On occasions, we let those mistakes define people as hopeless, bad leaders, naughty or just plain stupid.

The threat here, of course, is that we lean into doing nothing risky or new, so fearful can we become of being labeled by our losses.  That’s unhealthy for our entire education system, let alone your school.

Our losses and mistakes are nothing more than expected steps on a bigger journey.  Given the playing field that’s tilted against many Australian schools right now, you should even expect more mistakes to occur at the moment.

But it’s the journey that matters.  The relentless determination to learn and grow from lessons of success with humility and from lessons of loss with healthy disrespect.

Your school is on a journey.  A worthy journey to be an institution that grows fine citizens for our communities.  Citizens who not only thrive in the world but make the world a better place.

It’s difficult and treacherous work, prone to moments of fallibility and perceived catastrophe.

What I like about Essendon’s approach to loss is that they refer to this loss as a hard, yet expected, part of the journey and they lean into the pain of the loss with gratitude and without blame.

By the way, this annoys me immensely because, as a Richmond supporter, I’ve long wished nothing but misfortune to the Essendon Football Club!

These moments of losing are inevitable.  You will lose.  You will be a loser.  And when your turn to be a loser comes, be a noble one, ok.

Keep fighting that good fight,

PS. I’m running a free webinar on Thursday 9th September at 2pm AEST for School Leaders interested in joining The Inner Circle in 2022.  Register here.  There are only twelve spaces available for a chance to work personally with me for 12-months on leading the implementation of Restorative Practices in your school.  See ya there!

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