A single loss does not define you as a person. Multiple losses do not define you either. If anything, losses are crucial to personal growth through learning from your experiences and mistakes. But no one ever said they were easy.
When I joined Key Club my freshman year, I never considered the possibility of running for any office positions. It took me a little while to become involved, but as I did I worked up the courage to run for my club's Vice President position my sophomore year and won. Throughout that year, as I developed more leadership skills and a larger passion for service, I became familiar with some of the different levels of servant leadership, and with some inspiration and help, I took the leap and ran for my division's Lieutenant Governor position. I lost that day, and it hurt more than I thought it would. But I knew there were still more options out there, so I picked myself up, learned from the cumulative experience, and submitted an application for a District appointed position later that spring. I lost that position as well.
When I suffered these losses, it felt like all my hard work had been wasted, and that I hadn’t come out accomplishing anything. But as I contemplated my options, I realized that if I truly wanted to make the most of my Key Club journey and continue to love service, I would need to move on. It took me a while to accept these defeats, and to be honest, I'm not sure if I even have moved on completely. There's always a part of me that wonders, what if I had done something differently that could change this outcome? But in those moments, I realize I need to focus on what's ahead of me, not behind, because otherwise I'll stay fixated on my regrets, a path I refuse to choose.
The truth is though that people everywhere have experienced very similar circumstances. Although you may think you’re approaching this challenge alone, whether it be related to a Key Club position or a general life outcome, everyone has gone through a loss at some point. But people choose to deal with their failures differently. They either accept them, learn from them, and move on, or they never really overcome them, continually blame themselves, and stay focused on their past. While it's the ideal to choose the former path, you'd be surprised with how many people never recover from their losses, and I've seen people on both ends of this spectrum.
In the beginning I mentioned that your losses don't define who you are as a person, but how you deal with these obstacles does say something about your character. Going back to Key Club, many people choose not to acknowledge their defeats when running for positions, and while it's ultimately your personal choice as to how you regard this, I can safely say that those who have moved on encounter greater outcomes than the others who have never really recovered. Learning from their experiences can change people for the better and put them on a more promising path for future success. Overcoming these defeats was one of my most difficult personal challenges, but I'm grateful I've done so because now I can embrace my final year in Key Club with a much more positive outlook. Even without a position title I've found more ways to serve as a member and impact my school and community, my love for this organization only growing stronger with this journey. Everyone who learns to overcome their fears has the potential to experience the same.
Your losses do not define you as an individual. You are no less of a person if you've ever lost something. But take them as learning opportunities, opportunities to grow, move on, and become an even better individual. Never be afraid to try, because even if you fail, you'll never regret taking the chance.