Can we learn a business lesson from England’s World Cup defeat?

So England are out of the World Cup in the group stages for the first time since 1958. They didn’t play well enough to go further but I do feel a bit sorry for them.

Before they had even left for Brazil many pundits were predicting that they wouldn’t get beyond the group, it’s almost like they were being set up to fail. I watched them play Italy and thought they were the better, more committed side. However they couldn’t score enough goals and goals are what wins matches so they got even more criticism.

When they came out to play Uruguay they looked anxious and almost beaten before they’d kicked a ball. I suspect that they had been very self-critical after the Italy match and that, together with the expectations from home, placed a heavy burden.

Dealing with criticism

Critical voice

Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes. Learn the lesson and move on.

I read something recently that says it takes us three days to get over criticism including self criticism. I suspect that there was an element of this in the England dressing room and I know that there is more than a little of this with most small business owners. We beat ourselves up over complaints and criticisms and whenever we think we could have done better. If we’re not careful we allow those thoughts to dominate everything and that leads to a spiral of decline.

Instead of beating ourselves up we need to turn the criticism into a more positive thought. We need to take a leaf out of Thomas Edison’s book ‘I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.’ We need to concentrate on the lesson learned, focus on what we can change and imagine a positive outcome.

So the next time something goes wrong or someone complains or criticises don’t take it personally. Thank your complainant for helping you to understand how you can do better and then take the positive action. Ask the person who criticises for suggestions of what you could do differently. Learn the lesson and move on.

And England will be so much better in the next European Championship because they will have learned lessons in defeat. Ever the optimist!


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