‘There Is an Art to Losing’: Five Tips for Reframing Your Losses Into Wins

Michael Maslanka, associate professor of law at UNT Dallas College of Law, advises that losing “deserves equal billing” on an attorney’s career trajectory. 

“There is an art to losing, not just to winning, and it hinges on the ability to reframe,” writes Maslanka. His guide for the art of losing includes five main tips for reframing the loss.  

Reframe No. 1: Move the Goalposts

Maslanka advises that while you cannot change circumstances, you can change stories. An attorney can focus on minimizing damages and losses and escaping the worst case scenario. An attorney can pivot their mindset and change the reality of the situation.

Reframe No. 2: Different Mindsets, Different Tactics

Maslanka recognizes that there are different strategies in court. If one is deposing a plaintiff, they could start with damages instead of liability. For a wrongful termination, the legal team could make an unconditional offer of reinstatement which, if rejected, cuts off lost compensation at the point of rejection. 

Reframe No. 3: Retreat to Advance

Maslanka draws upon Adam Grant’s book “Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things,” in which Grant states: “Making progress isn’t always about moving forward. Sometimes, it’s about bouncing back. Progress is reflected not only in the peaks you reach, but in the valleys you cross. Resilience is a form of growth.” This means that learning is not always a tidy and linear progression, but often punctured with messy failures and losses. Learning occurs after these losses and rejections, but will be more fully appreciated. 

Are you interested in learning more about reframing losses into wins?  Read more in this law.com article.

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