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Redefine Your Win

Do you like to win? I do. In fact I am not sure I know someone who does not like to win.

When we talk about winning we used to talk mostly about winning at games. These could be games of chance, strategy games or fun games within our friends or family. These tended to be games that were on the lighthearted side. We also would watch our favourite sports team and cheer them on to hopeful victory and get a lot of enjoyment along the way.

I feel, right now, we are at a point where winning has become less enjoyable and more something that is expected as well as something that we tend to be judged on. You are successful if you are winning at something - whether that be a game, sports, your job/career or your marriage/family life. 

Why exactly this is the case I am not quite sure. When I researched the question, volumes of theories are out there. Many bring up the capitalistic world in which we live in. Others say we are still not that far removed from the combative nature of the earlier versions of our species.

Regardless of why, what I believe this has done to us is added a level of stress that might not have been as prevalent if one was able to see the win as the journey and not the end. And this stress is ironically a factor that leads to less successful results when trying to achieve a goal.

For an organization, this win mentality is showing up as individual work units, whether they are a department or a branch, competing for resources with their counterparts in the bigger collective. The win shows up in one area getting more budget or resources than another. Congratulations on missing out on what the bigger win might have been - success in organizational goals and the healthier workforce culture that comes with thinking more globally.

For individuals I sometimes see people charging ahead in their career or health goals while perhaps neglecting family goals.

I feel it is much better for organizations and individuals to embrace the now and not get bogged down by stressing about winning. In fact, recognizing the ability to do this as a win, will help motivate you to continue to stay in the now. Success here will breed more success, both individually and collectively.

An excellent illustration of this is team sports. How often do we see a TEAM beat a collection of individuals acting like a team? Every now and then you will see the TEAM lose to a group of really talented individuals but historically the TEAM wins more often. 

Two examples come to mind for me personally - the Edmonton Oilers of the early 1980's and the current New England Patriots. Both these teams have been recognized as one of the greatest in their each of their sports. Both had amazing all-time greats on their rosters. But, both stressed TEAM before individual accomplishments to become great.   

For the Edmonton Oilers, they had an amazingly talented group of players prior to winning their first Stanley Cup in 1984. However, their individual successes had not led to a championship until they witnessed the previous champions beat them in the 1983 finals. Many have likely heard the story of several Oiler players seeing New York Islander players in their dressing room after their 1983 win. Oiler players said the room was full of ice bags and band-aids more than champagne. These players shared that they did not fully understand all that it took to win until they saw the collective results of blocking a shot, making a hit and perhaps turning the other cheek in an altercation.'

For the New England Patriots, the story is one of stressing the role of each and every player as being part of that family. Players are known to pass up longer and more lucrative contracts to play with (not for) the Patriots. The coach is famous for being able to get the absolute most out of every player he coaches. I have heard that it is because the individual player is asked to think about their own play and trust that their teammate will do the same. That trust is key. 

Bringing this all together....

One can really only control what they personally bring to the table. Embrace your individual role as part of a collective. 

One should really try and see how they can be successful in the here and now. Recognize what it is you can do right now that will have a positive impact going forward. Success today leads to bigger success down the road. 

Trust that others will do the same. If they do not, see the first statement. If everyone does - just imagine.

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