In life we have enough people and institutions telling us what we should be doing. They tell us what we should aspire to. They tell us what “winning” should look like for us. I’m here to tell you this is not one of those pieces of content. I’m a live and let live kind of guy. If there is no one being hurt by your “winning” it’s not my business to have an opinion about what success looks like for you. I do have some ideas on what a successful life looks like, but that’s not the point of this content.
The point of this content is to share the three keys to winning at whatever you want to win at. When I say winning another person may say success. My style of learning, my demeanor, and my experience have shown me that it’s important to look at the words we use and try to find other people who really speak to us. There are plenty of people that have great things to say that I do not connect with for one reason or another. There are people who will read this and won’t connect, but for those that do connect to my words, this will benefit them and help them to win.
Winning is as much a daily state of mind as it is looking at a scoreboard after a designated period of time. It’s about being able to look yourself in the mirror at the end of the day and know that you did the things that were required of you today to be on the right side of the scoreboard when the time runs out.
The time will pass regardless so you might as well win.
There are three main things that one must do in order to win at life. Again, as to what winning looks like for the individual, I leave that up to them.
Without further ado let’s get into meat and potatoes of winning.
Step Number One: Know what winning looks like.
Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
From “Alice in Wonderland”
Without having a target to hit you’ll miss every time. With a target to hit you’ll still find yourself coming up short from time to time, but at least you’ll have the benefit of knowing where to aim so you can get closer to it. Think about shooting an arrow into a target. The target has several concentric circles that are colored differently all around a bull’s eye. When you shoot a target into the outer circle and see that the bull’s eye is below and to the right you can make an adjustment. Same thing with winning in life. With a target you will know how close your actions are taking you to the bull’s eye.
We have to know where we want to go. We have to know what we want out of life. This desire could be an overall arc for your life or it could be for a season and in a specific area. Either way we have to know what winning looks like.
How does one do that?
The best way for me to tell you how to do it is to show you what that looks like. If you were to ask me what winning looks like for me I would say “Winning looks like generating $200,000 in revenue during this current quarter.” If you can’t answer the question of “How will you know when you’ve won?” then you don’t know.
Step Number 2: Find someone who has fruit on their tree.
Success leaves clues. If there is something that you want to do I can promise you there is someone who has done it, or is working on it right now. One must give up the idea of doing everything on their own. No one is self-made. If they are self-made, chances are they haven’t made much. If you’re trying to reinvent the wheel and figure everything out yourself and do everything yourself that will take all of your time and energy and what you can muster as one person will pale in comparison to what you can accomplish while standing on the shoulders of giants. Look for someone who has won at what you want to do and copy them. I hesitate using the word ‘copy’, but I use it to illustrate something that really held me back for a long time. We don’t want to outright copy someone. The reason being is one need to do things one’s own way. Allow your strengths strengths to play. Do things with your own style and personality. I like to think of it as an art in this sense. What’s art got to do with it you ask? Art is expression of the individual. An artist’s style is unique and that’s what makes certain art valuable. Spending your energy trying to be someone else is a drag. It takes your energy. Conversely, taking from others, putting them through your personal filter and creating something new on the other end adds to the world. It’s creative.
We are living in a massive orchard with fruit trees everywhere and most people don’t even realize it. There are people everywhere who are leaving clues. It’s never been easier to find clues. There has never in the history of man been such an advanced information dissemination network. Think about it: the Internet brings unlimited discovery opportunities…and it fits in your pocket. There is literally a solution for everything.
Need to work on your car? There’s a YouTube video for it.
Need to learn about diet? There’s a medical journal available online.
Need help with personal finance? There’s a blog about it.
Want to learn a skill? There’s an online training course available.
Want to network with people who’ve done what you want to do? There’s a facebook page out there.
I could go on, but I don’t want to belabor the point.
Find a mentor, hire a coach, find a resource online. Don’t sit in your basement for five years re-inventing the wheel. The wheel has been invented already. Instead, start using it to your advantage. Use other people’s knowledge to give you a headstart. There are no rules in life that say you have to do everything by yourself. That’s a limiting mindset and that doesn’t serve you. I know because I did that for far too long and it’s important to me to keep you from doing that too.
Point Number 3: Execution
Before you get ahead of yourself and jump on in waist deep and start slogging away you need to know what your plan is. That’s why you just went and got yourself some fruit off someone’s tree. Their experience that you’ve borrowed has set you up to know how to make a plan. Everything that they’ve learned, you’ve learned. Now you know what skills you need. Now you know what steps you need to take in order to win. Once you commit that plan to paper you’re ready to go.
The key to execution is being consistent and doing the things daily that are required. The key to consistency is persistence. Persistence is “firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.” It’s doing what you need to do regardless of your feelings and emotions. Personally, my biggest shortcoming in this regard was not lacking tenacity or persistence. It was forgiving myself when I came up short. In order to win, you have to forget the screwups, the failures, the hiccups along the way. You must be willing to forgive yourself and let go of all that weighs on you when you miss the mark. Carrying that around gets heavier and heavier and it will keep you from doing what you need to do.
One day, I made a simple choice that I wasn’t going to beat myself up anymore. I had realized that doing that wasn’t helping me. It was making me worse off. If you find yourself kicking your own ass because you didn’t do what you were supposed to do yesterday, let it go.
Given a long enough timeline and consistently executing your plan you can do almost anything you can imagine.
In summary, the only way to win is to know the game, find someone to teach you the game, and then execute those steps daily. It’s not something mystical. It’s not a secret. It’s not something unattainable. With these three steps you’re now armed to make a game plan for winning, whatever that means to you.