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Bouncing Back from a Loss

Adapted From It All Adds Up: Designing Your Game Plan for Financial Success by Devon Kennard

It’s inevitable that we will lose some of our games, but some losses are harder to handle than others. During my time with the Arizona Cardinals, we started out the 2021 season strong, winning seven straight regular-season games. Heading into week 14, we were 10–3 and about to face the 1–11–1 Detroit Lions. Comparing the two teams on paper, it should have been an easy victory for us.

We lost, 30–12.

This loss was a great lesson about not resting on our laurels. Every NFL player needs to come to every game with the right mindset, ready to play with a level of humility, toughness, grit, and hard work. Just because the Lions had won only one of thirteen games before playing us didn’t mean they were unable to beat us.

That being said, I hate losing. To deal with a loss, I try to maintain a short-term memory. Otherwise, if I hold on to a loss too long, it has way too much of an impact on my mindset and possibly my performance in next week’s game. So I try to keep a level head and not get too high with the victories or too low with the losses.

When we lose, I become very analytical. If I missed a game-saving sack or interception or my team suffered a soul-crushing loss, I analyze what I could have done differently. How can I make sure that it won’t happen again?

Every NFL team has either Monday or Tuesday off after a game, depending on each team’s preference. If we aren’t playing Monday Night Football, the Arizona Cardinals have Mondays off; on Tuesdays we watch film. Here we are very honest and transparent with ourselves about how we played as a defense and how we played as a team. We analyze everything and figure out what we need to improve on, what we need to keep doing, and what we need to let go of to move forward.

When something goes wrong in your business, how do you handle it? What things can you control, and what things can you not control? Let go of the things you cannot. For example, I play on defense and can’t control what happens with the offense; the most I can do is encourage and talk to my offensive teammates if they aren’t scoring. Beyond that, I need to be hyperfocused on what I can do on defense when I’m sent into the game. This is to reinforce within myself that I’m playing a role in stopping the other team’s offense from scoring.

As I write this, our whole world is spinning because of a pandemic that has taken the lives of millions of people. Businesses have struggled, and many have closed for good. Individuals have lost jobs and homes. Maybe the pandemic (thankfully) didn’t affect you financially and maybe you didn’t lose your job, but maybe you find yourself thousands of dollars in debt. Maybe you are stuck in a nine-to-five job and can’t seem to get your side hustle up and running. As a result, you are feeling defeated and like nothing is ever going to change.

Life is hard. At times like this, maximizing a positive mindset can be difficult, but you need to try. It might take time for your situation to change, but it will change if you stay focused.


It’s common, even logical, to believe that sometimes we are going to fail at what we are trying to achieve. Here is what I tell myself about failure: “Let me do it on my terms. If I fail, I want to look back and know that I did everything I could. I want to know that if I failed, I did my absolute best and never wavered. If I fail, I want to look at myself in the mirror at night and still be proud of the man I see. If I fail, I want to know it’s because of something I had absolutely no control over and it just wasn’t in God’s plans for me to accomplish, not because of things I can control.”

So, if you’re facing adversity, ask yourself, What steps can I take to change the outcome the next time around? What habits and skills can you bring to the table to improve your situation? What are the things that you can do to start implementing the right changes that will make a positive impact on your business?

When nothing else is working, work will work.


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