Losing sucks for a reason. In the 2000’s parents didn’t want to be the bad guys. We didn’t want to take our kid that lost the soccer game and teach them how to harness that energy into positive actions. Instead of teaching our children how to deal with failure and how to come back stronger we accidentally taught them that it’s OK to lose, that it’s OK to fail and worse yet, that you still get rewarded for failure.
Being rewarded for failure is why we believe that Millennials are entitled. We didn’t teach them to deal with the feelings of rejection and loss. We shielded and protected those kids and at the same time reduced the satisfaction and reward that comes along with winning.
We all love our children and we want everyone to have positive and healthy ideas about self-worth. The failure is not recognizing that competition is natural and that we need that fire in our belly to keep innovating, to keep growing and to keep coming up with ways to improve. Competition creates friction and that friction is what we needed to spark our internal fire.
How do we fix it?
It’s now up to us to show the benefits of winning and the repercussions of losing. It’s up to us to show that it’s not about losing and getting knocked down, it’s about how many times we can get back up. It’s up to us be able to lose the battle but win the war. I often reference a book called “Go for NO!” (co-authored by Andrea Waltz ) and it’s a great way to show how we want to LOSE the BATTLE in order to WIN the WAR. We want to get those No clients so that we can quickly get to those YES clients. Rejection isn’t a bad thing, it’s necessary, it makes the acceptance and success that much better. There are plenty of Millennials who have proven that they aren’t entitled brats who want to work flex hours with free tater tots as a perk. There are also Millennial business leaders of massive companies and they learned to compete.
Why should we bother?
The trick is then to figure out how to pull the best out of everyone, including our Millennials. Will competition bring out the worst in us? Will there be backstabbing and cheating? Will we suddenly turn into work places with bullies because everyone wants to win at any cost? I doubt it, but it’s up to us to create an atmosphere of friendly competition. Competition has always brought out the best in America and the world. Competition could be our secret weapon and our competitors will wonder what we’ve done if only we could harness the competitive spirit of everyone.
Please let me know your thoughts on the millennial competitive spirit. I’d love to hear more.
If you want to fire up your team take a look at “99 Sales Team Incentives” and watch this video.
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