It may be the snow that is barreling down on Toronto right now, it may be the Porsche I drove by at the bottom of the hill, hopelessly spinning its wheels until it resigned into a bitter (without the sweet) defeat. Feeling defeated in your personal or work life is a natural reaction for many people who tire away endlessly at a particular task to no avail. Defeat can be an all-encompassing emotional beast, it is dangerous and dark, especially for the impressionable young professional. However, admitting defeat and feeling defeated are two very different things.

Admitting Defeat

As lawyers, there are many moments in our careers where we must draw certain lines and limitations. It would be negligent not to do so. The law, like people, can only stretch so far. There are some answers that cannot be known on the basis of the black letter law alone, and the best and most accurate response we can muster is the famous lawyerism, “it depends.”

There is nothing shameful or discreditable in admitting defeat in these moments. Rather, being able to recognize the futility of a specific argument and cutting off any further expenditure of financial or intellectual resources is a wise and mature decision.

Accepting a New Challenge

After admitting defeat, accept a new challenge. To rely on another famous lawyerism, “when you can’t get through the front door, go around the back.” Lawyers are facilitators. This means we must regularly accept that certain paths are not possible or are too cumbersome for our clients. Use that reservoir of energy to tackle and craft a new argument, a new direction, and a new challenge.

Feeling Defeated: Battle the Beast

Recently, HuffPost OWN took its own take on the latter case, that is, feeling defeated. For more tips on how to battle that emotional beast, take a look at Amy Shearn’s “What To Do When You’re Feeling Defeated.”