How To Know If You're Winning.

leadership and professional development personal development sports and leadership Nov 22, 2023

Since the title seems a bit overly obvious- let start with a definition. 

win·ning: gaining, resulting in, or relating to victory in a contest or competition.

Oxford Dictionary doesn't make mention of a scoreboard so I think it's fair to say we can expand our definition to something other than a sporting event! {I have boys who would be rolling their eye at me for that statement!} 

I've recently spent some sleepless nights wondering what winning would look like- for each of my children, for myself, for my company, for companies I do consulting work for, etc. Winning is challenging because it is somewhat subjective and is measured in a variety of different ways. Historically in my home, with a household of athletes, there's never been a question of what winning looked like. My kids would tell you: There are numbers that clearly define a W vs L, end of discussion. Having a child that's always been particularly passionate about those numerical details, this subject is covered frequently in our house! Nevertheless, I've pondered the bigger picture a lot over the years.

I had a day earlier this spring where from behind a baseball net, I watched a group of teenage boys {teammates} do what I believe may be one of the purest forms of "winning" I've seen in a long time. And I can't remember what the scoreboard said, it was irrelevant for once. {Rewatch video}

Winning looks like a band of brothers who have your back.

Winning looks like bringing a newer kid into the flock and saying, "You're one of us."

Winning looks like having no shame in using a previous players old Prom King hat, a terribly cheesy Party City fake gold necklace, getting down on one knee and "crowning" a teammate for a big play. Mind you, this is in front of EVERYONE on the baseball field AND both sides of the stands. There's no shame in their game!

Winning looks like a slap on the butt- the universal sign of "atta kid."

Winning looks like being celebrated, with arms in the air and cheers that could be heard a block away.

Yes, it would have been great if the scoreboard was in our favor (maybe it was, I don't remember) but, as I've watched and re-watched this clip, I can't help but to wish this moment for every worker, leader, executive, CFO, COO, CEO, and owner. In the long run, having people like this in your life will always be what winning looks like. And here's why:

The scoreboard will eventually be turned off.

The fans will go home.

There will always be another awesome play.

People forget what you did 2 years ago.

What seemed so significant in the moment, will simply be a sweet memory eventually. 

But the relationships, true and genuine friendships- having a group like this in your corner is what winning truly looks like. These boys don't know it yet, but this will be what lasts far longer than a scoreboard. It has the potential to last a lifetime. 

So, as I look back at the things I'd been wondering and worring about, I can use a different measuring stick than a scoreboard.

Do I see winning happening in the lives of my children? Absolutely.

Do I see winning happening in my own life- personally and professionally? You bet.

What about the companies I coach? While I may have some suggestions on another way of thinking, altering an approach, a different choice of words...I hope they all have a moment where they see me with my arms up in the air, cheering for their progress and accomplishments! And if I need a Prom King hat, I have connections! {wink}

One last thought I want to offer regarding winning, especially when there's not a scoreboard involved. Winning is not the same thing as being "right." I see this go sideways in many organizations, leadership teams and within the mindset of those in management. Some will swear otherwise, but I often witness behaviors that unfortunately indicate that winning is confused with being right. Funny thing: keeping score of right's or wrong's tends to not have positive impacts when it comes to relationships. It's an ineffective way to manage people, lead a team, and live. As a friend once shared with me, wise words from his then-wife, now ex-wife, "There is such a thing as being right, and alone." *Just sit with that one for a minute!*

So here's some questions for you:

How are you defining "winning" right now? Is that working? Ask someone you trust who will give you an honest answer- In what areas do you see me needing to be "right" and how might it be self inflicted wounds?

I'd love to hear from you- if you feel so led, feel free to scroll to the top and shoot me an email through the CONTACT tab! I will respond to every email!

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