Sometimes you do everything right and still lose. In poker it’s known as a “bad beat.”
It’s happened to us all and it’s amplified during these unusual times. You played it perfectly but you didn’t get the job, raise, promotion, or relationship you wanted.
Janel’s bad beat started with a job interview at a supplement company in Phoenix. She had been selected from more than fifty people based on her résumé and a zoom interview. They flew her to Phoenix (pre-COVID) to meet the key company executives. She spent an entire day with the team and thought she aced the interview. She clicked with everybody. And as an added bonus, it turned out that she knew one of the executives from her previous job who was a big fan.
When the interviews concluded, HR told her they were going to have three candidates back. Janel was sure that she would make the cut. But she got an email a few days later saying that she wasn’t one of the finalists. She was devastated, and couldn’t understand what had gone wrong.
You can play your hand perfectly at the poker table and still lose.
Sometimes, someone else is just luckier; even if they’re doing everything wrong. All you can do is fight through your frustration and move on to the next hand or deal.
Failure to shake off a “bad beat” (or even a series of them) can lead to a phenomenon called “going on tilt.” In poker, this means letting your game go off-track because you’re so upset or angry over what happened that you’re just not playing your game right and sticking to your strategy. As in life, when your emotions take control, whatever game you are playing is in jeopardy.
We frequently go on tilt in our everyday lives as well, firing off a nasty response to a colleague’s poorly phrased email or yelling at an incompetent customer sales rep and letting it ruin the day.
Back to Janel. About six months later, she learned that the company’s new hire was brought over from Europe. It was somebody that they had promised would be brought to the U.S., and this was the only job that they could find for them. In other words, no matter how well-qualified Janel was, she was never going to get the job due to office politics. She did everything right, but for reasons she couldn’t control, the job was never going to be hers.
Janel could have gone on tilt, but instead, she sent an e-mail checking in with the company president saying she hoped things were going well. It was gracious without a hint of bitterness, and when the president heard of a great opportunity at another company, he recommended Janel to them. She didn’t “go on tilt,” and in the end she wound up winning sticking to her strategy.
Everyone has a bad beat story.
Most poker players have many of these. In fact they are more likely to recall the details of a bad beat then a win. Does that sound familiar? But they understand that if you have a bad beat, the worst thing is to go on tilt, losing focus or taking foolish chances in a desperate effort to get even. The key is to get past it and go on to the next hand. Whatever you do, don’t let it influence your next round of play.