Losing an election at any level of government can be a tough pill to swallow. You wake up the next morning knowing you put up a valiant effort and still came up short. It is a very humbling experience, but it doesn’t have to be the be all end all. History has shown that candidates who can regroup and prepare for their next race are successful in their second go-around. After all, people from Thomas Jefferson to Ronald Reagan all lost in their first attempts, but were still able to attain our nation’s highest office. Here are some ways that you can also bounce back after an election.
Get back to work
This might seem easier said than done as the transition back to your regular life will be a tough one in the beginning, but it is important that even after a loss you do what you can to get back into the swing of things. This might include going back to your day job or spending more time with family. You have spent months on this campaign, and while it may not have gone the way you had hoped, you must show that you will not be down for long. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a little distraction from the loss as you work on recovery.
Redirect your focus to a local charity
This is a good way to keep yourself relevant. Charitable organizations can provide a platform for candidates and help keep a well-oiled campaign even after a loss; so, try and shift your efforts to helping a charitable mission that goes along with your values. By doing this, you will be able to keep your volunteers sharp, you will keep your fundraising list active, and you will build another base to use for volunteering when the time comes.
As the saying goes, “Once you’ve been knocked down, you have to get back up.” It doesn’t hurt to announce your intentions to run again following a recent loss. You want to be able to rebuild and organize a base of volunteers and funders who truly believe in your campaign. Think about that local charity you dedicated your time to: You worked hard in helping them achieve their mission—which is also just as important to you—and it wouldn’t hurt to reach out to them for that kind of support in your second go around. You also want to keep yourself present in public consciousness by maintaining active email lists and making yourself part of the public debate on key issues that might arise.
Having done all this, you can prepare yourself when the time comes to get back into the world of campaigning for another attempt and don’t forget to use the experience you gained from your previous loss. Think about things that you did right and things you could have done differently and find ways to adjust the next time.