A winning mindset is a good thing. Until you can’t stand to lose.
Winning – making the sale, hitting your metrics, gaining influence, moving forward in your career – are all noble pursuits. Yet if none of these make you a better person or better leader, then what’s the point?
I knew a baseball coach whose desire to win was so intense, over the years he created tension in his players. You could also see the deterioration of the coach’s health as well. He said he was relaxed, but his drive to win became an unhealthy mindset. And as this coach’s position was their second job, he came close to making a shipwreck of his primary job as that drive to win at baseball consumed him 24/7.
This drive also started to create friction at his home and in the community, as he became known as someone who used to be a pleasant person to the coach that no one could stand to be around.
It would have been absolutely alright for this coach to allow himself to lose. It would have made his players less on edge, they would have had a more enjoyable time playing and developing their skills, and the coach would have become a better all-around person.
If you have to win at all costs or win by running over people, you are quite likely to be out of balance in all other areas of your life. Thinking of winning from the moment you get up until the moment you retire at night – because you HAVE to win – is a race to the top that eventually drives one to the bottom at some point in their careers.
Knowing how to lose, and when to lose is a healthy balance. But losing creates something far better than winning. It gives one perspective as to how to improve as a leader and be better the next time. And if that next time is a losing effort as well, it provides another opportunity to learn, grow, get perspective and learn how to lose.
Winning isn’t everything. Everything else is everything.
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” ―Ernest Hemingway
Leaders that know they have areas to improve on are usually defined as great leaders.
That’s due to the fact they take the time to be self-aware and find various means in which they can observe and take in new ideas and ways of thinking to make themselves better.
It’s what Kevin Eikenberry writes about in his blog post “Why Leadership Development Is Self-Development”. All development is an investment in yourself.
Leaders who believe they know everything because of their years of tenure, past experiences and – worse – their title – are not working towards being superior to their former self. In fact they are at risk of producing diminishing returns by not allowing themselves to allow for an influx of new ideas that produce growth.
A leader’s best friend is their ability to learn about themselves and the world at every opportunity. Reading, podcasts, asking questions, connecting in spheres outside of their comfort zone and attending seminars and learning modules (both IRL and virtual) are more available to a leader than any time in history. There is nothing holding back a leader from being more effective, if they desire to learn and grow.
A leader’s output – measured in numerous ways such as reputation, legacy, development of others as well as reporting metrics – can only be multiplied by the amount of input they are willing to digest on a regular basis. And as Lolly Daskal writes, it’s how great leaders are constantly improving.
If you want to do better, learn better. Take your accumulation of facts and experiences and allow new information, new ideas, new thinking and new approaches by others from every walk of life influence your ability to create a better world for those around you.
Learning is the food that feeds the leader. Feed your leadership on those things that make you superior to your former self and bring others along to a better world.
It’s New Year’s Eve and we’re greatly looking for the advent of 2021 and ready to leave 2020, with all it’s pandemic-induced collateral damage behind.
What’s great about January 1st is that every year we have been given a motivational and psychological gift. That the coming year will be a great one, and a new chapter in our lives, perhaps the best one yet.
And while we all look forward to a new year in which to write a new page in our book of life and career, let’s be reminded that we don’t need a new year to do that.
Every day, every hour we live, is always an opportunity to write a new chapter for ourselves.
When we understand what we can control – which is far more than we give ourselves credit for – we can break the bonds of circumstances, bad luck and poor habits. We can give a new start to our lives be the decision to do so at that very moment.
We don’t need a new year to write a new chapter.
So as 2021 ebbs and flows, and we start off with renewed hope, let’s remember that at any time we can change our course. And then again, and again, any day, every day, of any year.
Write your new chapter TODAY. If not now, when?