My daughter Nicole (age 24), is off the “payroll” so-to-speak, as she has departed for London England this past Sunday for a minimum of 5 years to pursue her passion in the world of Brand Marketing. She is truly an expert in this field and London is the perfect city for her, as it is the headquarters to many of the world’s leading Brand agencies. (Check out her blog at More Than A Logo Blog to learn more). She had this dream over a year ago and through unrelenting determination and perseverance she has met or exceeded all her objectives and will begin a new career in a foreign country, while experiencing the diversity of cultures throughout Europe.
Many people say they’re going to do something BIG with their life when they’re young and 24, and for whatever reasons (or excuses), they never seem to WIN. According to Mr. Webster, the word WIN is defined as: “to achieve victory // to persuade (another) to accept one’s point of view, cause, etc // a victory in a contest.” Winning sounds pretty simple and straight forward according to this definition, but is it really?
When I compete in triathlons, running or cycling races, the person with the fastest time, regardless of age group, gender or other handicap system is the winner. I measure my performance in sport and the results within my career in absolute terms. Or in my daughter’s case, winning is setting a “Big Harry Audacious Goal” and making it happen. She either made it to London, or not, there's no grey area. But is winning in these absolute terms really true for everyone?
Well, for most people winning isn’t defined in black and white terms, but shades of grey. In fact, most people rely on their subconscious to define winning in abstract terms. If your subconscious mind doesn’t want you to win; for example, to be successful in your career, it won’t allow it to happen. And you will justify your loss as some other form of winning just so you can deal with your loss. Over the past year, as my daughter’s dream became an unstoppable reality, many people have said to me, “I wish I did what she’s doing when I was young”, or “I should do what she’s doing, but I can’t, because (insert excuse here)”. It's almost like there's some invisible force that’s preventing them from pursuing their passion and all that's left is “Regret”. “Regret” being the true cancer of life.
People subconsciously define winning five different ways in order to justify their “Regret”.
#1 You win when you’re comfortable. This person’s primary goal is to just go through life as comfortably as possible. They don’t want stress. They don’t want to be pushed or challenged. They don’t like conflict. They just want to go through life on cruise control, hanging out with their friends, and having a good time. Everything they do is designed to support their pursuit of comfort. This is your average, life-long employee who’s more than happy to have a safe, stable, comfortable job. If you push this person away from that goal, and challenge them, or their routine lifestyle, watch out.
#2 You win by being liked. This person’s primary goal in life is to be liked by everyone. They want acceptance from everyone they interact with, and will do just about anything to reach that objective. They’d rather be liked, than be right. When you put someone like this in a leadership role, they usually fail because they won’t be willing to make hard decisions that may anger someone. They will try to please everyone all the time because their ultimate motivation in life is to be liked by everyone.
#3 You win by being right. This person is usually an expert in a specific field like a life-long university professor (no disrespect to university professors, we’ve all had some great ones). People who win by being right, don’t accept criticism and aren’t open to new ideas. They tend to reach a glass ceiling when it comes to their career, and relationships, because they can’t accept their short-comings in order to move past them and achieve personal growth. Arguing with this person never works because they’ll always find a way to prove you wrong, even if it means sabotaging you in the process. In order to win, this person must be right and you must be wrong.
#4 You win by losing. This person wins by being a victim. They want sympathy from others. Just when things start to get better, they will sabotage themselves, and say, “I knew it wouldn’t work for me, it never does”, giving them their victory once again. Their lives are always filled with problems because they don’t win unless they lose, so they create circumstances and excuses that help them fulfill that destiny. There is generally drama associated with this person’s life. Finally, the most common words that this person uses is, “I told you so”, when things fail for them, so in their mind they have won again by losing.
#5 You win by winning. This person is the antithesis of the previous four. Their primary motivation is to win in absolute terms. They are very competitive, and will do whatever it takes to win. They won’t quit, and they’ll constantly push themselves to gain the edge they need. This category describes all successful entrepreneurs, athletes and people that set challenging goals for themselves. Winning is their reward for their hard work. This type of person doesn’t care if others don’t particularly like them, as they have got used to people criticizing their “can-do, keener" attitude. That said, they usually have the closest friends that will go to battle for them. They live in a world of “positive” discomfort because it provides them with new opportunities to win. Finally, winners in this category attract other winners and they feed off each other’s energy. People in the other four categories find it uncomfortable being around these people, as they represent everything they’re not.
So, there are people who choose not to be healthy because they like being comfortable with their sedentary lifestyle. There are people who are stuck in the same job without a promotion for 10 years because they want to be liked by everyone. There are people who are addicted to struggle because they win by losing. There are people that never move forward because they’re afraid they’re going to be wrong.
And then there are people like my daughter that just make life happen in absolute terms and have a track record of success to back them up whatever they say. She represents the "winning" in winner and she inspires me every day.
Make Life Happen and Enjoy the Ride ….. Rob