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How to find gold in losing

How do you handle losing?

2 min read



Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

We live in a culture that worships winning. Be it sports, business or entertainment, we love winners.

And by extension we don’t care much for losers. So what’s it like to be on a losing team? A team that didn’t just lose once in awhile, but all the while, winning just 19 of 82 games one year.

Well, that was the life that two NBA broadcasters Tim Roye and Jim Barnett lived for decades. Their team, the Golden State Warriors, routinely finished at the bottom of the league, posting a dozen consecutive losing seasons.

“I always said, ‘OK, here’s how they can win tonight,’” Barnett told the Scott Cacciola of The New York Times, “I think I kept up my enthusiasm that way.”

“We have to be ready to do our jobs,” Barnett added, “because everybody is watching and everybody is listening.”

This was not just words but also an approach. Roye, along with his producer, would take interns out for a meal in order to set them straight on expectations for the season. Be professional.

Then fortune smiled. Their team started winning. So much so, the Warriors set a record for most victories in a season. The Warriors have won two NBA titles in three years.

Roye and Barnett are good examples of remaining professional in losing situations. While their spirits may have flagged at times, they kept focused on doing their jobs and reveling in the opportunity to practice their crafts.

Winning is more than a sum of wins and losses; it’s an approach toward work that demands professionalism and positivity.


John Baldoni is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2018, Trust Across America honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Trust. Also in 2018, named Baldoni a Top 100 Leadership Speaker. Global Gurus ranked him No. 22 on its list of top 30 global experts, a list he has been on since 2007. In 2014, named Baldoni to its list of top 50 leadership experts. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including his newest, “MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.”

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