Losing is a choice…

“When you reach an obstacle, turn it into an opportunity. You have the choice. You can overcome and be a winner, or you can allow it to overcome you and be a loser. The choice is yours and yours alone. Refuse to throw in the towel. Go that extra mile that failures refuse to travel. It is far better to be exhausted from success than to be rested from failure.”

Mary Kay Ash

Winning is a choice.  But then, so is losing.  

I was watching game four of the World Series between the Red Sox and the Dodgers on Saturday night.  In the bottom of the 6th inning the Dodgers scored four runs to take a 4-0 lead in the game with only 9 outs remaining for the Red Sox to try and come back and win the game.

The night before the Dodgers had won the game with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the 18th inning to win the game 3-2!  (the longest game in World Series history).  So a 4-0 lead going into the top of the 7th inning was a commanding lead.  But the Red Sox players are professionals and they are winners and they didn’t panic.  They chose to overcome.  The Red Sox scored 3 runs in the top of the 7th, and then another run in the top of the 8th to tie the game.  

Then in the top of the 9th they went on a rampage and scored 5 more runs to move the score to 9-4.  But did the Dodgers give up?  No way.  They lost the game but not before scoring two more runs in the bottom of the 9th.  Final score 9-6.  I love that neither team quit.  They just keep slogging it out. 

My point is this.  At any point someone could have decided “this is too much, we can’t win, I need to quit and rest myself for another game.”  But that isn’t what champions do.  They win, they persevere.  They rise to the challenge and if they lose, they get up and they try harder.  Failures quit.  Winners don’t make that choice.  

Someone has to win a game in the end, but no one has to quit…

Struggle builds strength…

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Given the author of this quote the first thing that I thought of of course was the physical process of working out and strengthening your body through exercise.  In order for the muscles to be stronger they must be used and strained; only then will they grow back stronger.  Think of the ‘day after’ feeling when you have had a great workout and your body is sore.  That soreness is the body rebuilding after “hardship” and an indication that strength is building.  What a great feeling.

Why don’t we approach life the same way?  We want everything to be easy.  As a rule people desire no hardships, no challenges, no struggles.  In today’s Instagram world everything has to be staged and we envy those with “perfect” lives.  We never see the private struggles and when those struggles happen to us far too often there is a victim mentality vs. leaning in and embracing the suck knowing that you will emerge on the other side far far better.

You have to tear down the entrenched positions of the moment so you can be prepared for the future.  If you are struggling today with anything think of this reframing question.  Instead of “why me?”  Think, “what am I being prepared for?” Struggle builds the muscle of life.

 

Winning is a habit…

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while, you don’t do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

Vince Lombardi

Winning is contagious, it spreads like a wildfire on a dry and windy summer day.  But losing is contagious too.  I am sure that you have been on both winning teams, and losing teams.  The difference in behavior and attitude is remarkable.  As a leader the key to building a winning team is to find wins and build on those wins.  Find the little things that are wins on a moment by moment or daily basis.  Create the momentum that allows a team to lean in and seek new and greater ways to grow.

You can apply this strategy in your self-leadership as well.  Reflect on your day and ask yourself “what were my wins today?”  Far too often, for me at least, it is easy to spend the time and energy thinking about all that you have to do, or all that you didn’t get done.  Instead, spend some time focusing on the wins that you did have.  You might find yourself building and reinforcing a habit of winning.

 

What winning looks like…

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

Vince Lombardi

People that lean in always impress me.  I am talking about those who look for ways to serve others, serve the organization, serve a higher purpose.  The type of person that drops  everything to go get it done; to do what matters most.  They don’t wait to be told or asked but they raise their hand and volunteer.  They exhibit and live an ethos of  “whatever it takes to get the job done.”  They just see what needs to be done and do it.  No complaints, no focus on “what does this mean for me, what am I going to get out of this” they just get it done.  

This type of person doesn’t know how to quit.  This is the athlete that is committed to excellence and doesn’t take plays off.  They know the ball isn’t coming their way on the next play but they are committed to performing at the highest level no matter what.   

This is what it takes to create success.  The determination to grow, persevere no matter what, to find ways to contribute and add value without making it all about yourself.  When you do this, regardless of the score, you win…

Speed + Simplicity + Self-confidence = Success

“The 3S’s of winning in business are speed, simplicity and self-confidence.”

Jack Welch

I love this!  When you think about it these are mutually dependent variables.  You just can’t have one without a good dose of the other.  

In today’s world speed is more critical than ever and you just can’t be fast if you allow complication to creep in to your processes or thinking.  Do some problems require complicated solutions?  Of course.  But the essence of creating speed is simplicity, and you simply can’t be fast to market, fast to grow, fast to learn, if complexity rules the day.  If you want to be fast, you have to find ways to keep things simple.  Period.  Simplicity is the great enabler of speed.  

Self-confidence (never to be mistaken for arrogance or high ego) enables speed and simplicity through decisive action and the ability to learn and adjust.  All too often we measure our own self-worth not on the results, but on the complexity of whatever solution we have created for a given problem.  Self-confidence is knowing that simple is good and that just because we are keeping things simple it is NOT an indication of low-value or low worth.

The road to mediocrity and irrelevance is paved with slow and complicated projects/programs/products.  I can’t imagine that much self-confidence was created through these failures…  

 

 

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