March Madness Upsets in Life

15 Mar

“Upsets” are never positive unless you’re the lucky person who predicted one in a March Madness bracket pool. Upsets make the game interesting. Upsets mean that you can predict the game outcomes by best team outfits/colors/coaches/attractive players and still beat the guys who know all the stats and religiously follow the games.

Upsets seem entirely -un- in every way: Unfair. Unpredictable. Unexpected.

But in business and in life, upsets are a given. How you weather them, how you shape them into positives, how you keep them from controlling you – these are the traits of a strong leader.

My MBA cases are full of leaders with great visions who got bulldozed by an upset. And since upsets can come from external sources, you can’t always control them or prepare for them.

You can ignore them (bad choice). Or you can embrace them as a game-changing opportunity. Worst case scenario – you will learn something. You may lose money or clout or momentum but you will learn about yourself: how to lead others through a bad patch, how to manage your emotions, how to pick yourself up and start over, how to predict an upset in the future, how to be grateful for other things previously taken for granted. Upsets teach more lessons than smooth sailing successes.

If you are willing to stop looking at them as pesky roadblock.

Ironically, we all like upsets in other people’s lives. Why else would we read biographies? Cheer for the underdogs?Support a team other than Kansas, Duke or Ohio St? Internally cheer when someone bucks the norm?

And we like upsets in certain areas of our own lives. Otherwise, no one would invest in the stock market. Gamble. Have a child. Take on new jobs.

But if we can be flexible in all aspects, upsets won’t seem so monumental. When “March Madness” bleeds into “April Aggravation” and we sweat it out into “May Mayhem”, we will learn a lot from the experiences. And upsets will become synonymous with opportunities.


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