I am a competitor. Everything to me is a competition. When my sister, Mom and I would play cards, I would use every advantage to win the hand or the game. In most board games, the instructions include the rules of the game and how play. I have never read the instructions in any game on How to Win! Strategy to win is learned by playing the game, learning from others and observation. This sound familiar? Strategy for how to be successful in business is learned the same way.
My son, Nathan, is also a competitor. He has always been that way. Nathan always wants to play a game, race someone or challenge someone in trivia. When Nathan was in the fifth grade, he was playing Little League baseball and had already proven himself as an All Star. The team he was on had some kids who had not ever played baseball. As a pitcher, Nathan would pitch a great few innings, then the team would sometimes lose the game due to inexperience of some of the new players. He came off the field visibly frustrated. I could understand the frustration and I wanted him to be a good teammate.
I was once taught to say after a child’s sporting event, to say, “I love to watch you play”. In fact, that is the reason you are there, to watch the joy in your child’s face when they play a game they love. This particular instance, Nathan was not loving the game. I have to admit that I was not happy with his attitude. So after he had a minute to vent his frustration, I reminded him that this may not be the season that they win a lot of games. This would be a season of learning. Did you learn anything today? Did you watch someone make a great play and learn from it? Did you watch someone make a mistake and learn from it? Was there a previous lesson that was reinforced by your performance or the performance of your teammate? Did you learn how to be a better leader, to be more compassionate, to be a good friend? What lesson did you learn on the field today? If you lose the game and don’t learn anything from it, when why play? Losing doesn’t feel good, and, it is rarely fatal. Losing is a reminder of how badly we want to win and to test our commitment to getting better.
Failure is part of playing in any game. In sales we win and lose clients, negotiations and opportunities. Did you learn anything? There are so many examples of great leaders that have failed and continued to learn to get and do better. Oprah, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, Anthony Rizzo, and the list goes on to people you know personally. What lesson did you learn to make you better with your most recent loss? Are you still committed to your dreams, whether it be to become a Hall of Fame baseball player or take amazing vacations? The dream and the commitment to it is up to you. Keep failing, it is the best teacher. Win or Learn…Never Lose!