Win or Go Home
Winning matters, or should I say striving matters.
I know I’ve talked at lengths about how much more important the process is than the outcome. Although the emphasis on winning may sound counterintuitive, hear me out on this. It’s an important aspect of excellence that is often ignored.
Teams are created to do something individuals are unable to do on their own. When we are competing within our team, the goal should be to help the team perform at its very best.
The primary competitor isn’t the opponent, it’s ourselves. How far can we push and stretch ourselves in that moment? This is the competition. It is personal and collective. The competition is always internal, against ourselves, not against an opponent.
The opponent is important, however. They provide friction that highlights and pushes our boundaries. This is where winning becomes important.
Striving to win thrusts us out of our comfort zone, into a whole new arena of growth.
The word strive is important. ‘Try’ is not enough.
Why Should We Care?
Strive means ‘to make great efforts to achieve or obtain something; to struggle or fight vigorously’. The pursuit of winning demands striving. And, it’s the striving that provides the growth and fulfillment we are all pursuing.
It seems obvious that everyone is trying to win, which is generally true. Most people engaged in any competition want, and try, to win. As a matter of fact, there’s a growing number of people completely comfortable with the mediocrity of simply trying. For some, it’s become enough to try.
Here’s the problem with trying: it ain’t striving.
If we’re committed to trying we’ll show up, we’ll work about as hard as the people around us, we’ll win some and we’ll lose some. We’ll listen to the comforts of those around us when we fail, awarding us with half-hearted praise like ‘at least you tried’.
Then, at some point, we’ll look in the mirror and know the truth. We left something on the table. We had more to give that we chose not to. We decided our comfort was more important than what the challenge required.
We decided to try rather than strive.
If we’re committed to striving we do more than show up, we attack opportunity in front of us. We don’t consider how hard the people around us are working, we do whatever is necessary to complete the task in front of us. We don’t hear the comforts or criticisms from those outside our arena, we’re too busy pursuing our best.
Then, when we look in the mirror, we know the truth. The table is clear, there is nothing left to give. We chose our goals over our comfort, our team over ourselves.
Striving produces fulfillment.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
I’m not supporting a win at all cost approach. But, I am suggesting that the willingness to do whatever it takes to win separates us now more than ever. Here are a few thoughts on maintaining perspective in your striving.
The willingness, and desire, to do what it takes to win is a talent. The constant strain of striving is not something many are willing to consistently choose. But, what an advantage for those that do.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.