Thoughts on Leadership: What It Means to Win

By Gino Blefai:

This week my travels find me starting Monday at home, completing my typical WIG calls. On Tuesday I had the Berkshire Hathaway Energy call, then traveled to Las Vegas to attend Tom Ferry’s Elite Retreat. I’m in Vegas until later today, listening to Tom speak, learning from the inspiring keynotes and meeting with a business prospect for one of our brokerage networks.

As I write this, I just finished the morning session, which featured a presentation called “Winning: The Unforgiving Race to Greatest” with Tim Grover, author and trainer to some of the world’s greatest athletes including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. (The accolade is especially poignant as January 26 marked the two-year anniversary of the tragic death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant.)

Most recently, the best-selling author released a book entitled, “Winning: The Unforgiving Race to Greatest,” which breaks down how the elite athletes he trains describe and define the concept of “winning.” Not only their definition of winning on the court, but also winning with the right attitude and mindset to be the greatest.

Tim has unique insights about winning. He spent countless hours on private planes with the greatest ever – Jordan, Tiger, Gretsky, Jeter, to name a few. When he recalls his time with these athletes, he recalls their fierce competitiveness to always, always win.

Kobe once said, “Winning is everything;” and it is. But why can’t everyone win at the highest level? Why can’t everyone claim NBA championships or Super Bowls? Because it’s just too hard. (As I say, it’s the hard that makes you great. It’s the hard that separates you from the competition.) If winning were easy, everyone would do it.

As Tim explained, while fiercely pacing back and forth on the stage like a lion, winning is in us all. Everybody has the capacity and ability to win. But winning isn’t what you think it is. Winning aren’t the celebratory parties, the fireworks, the trophy ceremonies on glittering podiums. Winning is everything you have to endure, the grit and the grind, to get to a place where you’re finally successful. That is what winning takes.

Winning is also whatever you want it to be. For some, it may be doing three more deals a month. For others, it may be placing No. 1 in your local tennis tournament. Winning is highly personal and unique, but what’s not unique is that winning takes everything we’ve got.

Tim says find the wins in everyday life that will motivate you to keep on winning. The small wins. Every time you win a little, your wins compound until you get closer and closer to achieving your definition of “winning.”

In his presentation, Tim reviewed his Winning 13, a list of principles that apply to the concept. Here are Tim’s Winning 13:

  1. Winning makes you different, and scares people.
  2. Winning wages war on the battlefield in your mind.
  3. Winning is the ultimate gamble on yourself.
  4. Winning isn’t heartless, but you’ll use your heart less.
  5. Winning belongs to them … and it’s your job to take it.
  6. Winning wants all of you; there is no balance.
  7. Winning is selfish.
  8. Winning takes you to hell. And if you quit, that’s where you’ll stay.
  9. Winning is a test with no correct answers.
  10. Winning knows all your secrets.
  11. Winning never lies.
  12. Winning is not a marathon, it’s a sprint with no finish line.
  13. Winning is everything.

So, what’s the message? Tim mentions the one trait that all his elite athletes have in common on their path to winning: they’re obsessed. All they think is winning. Every day, every night. It consumes every moment of their lives. They’re virtually crazy about winning. And winning, as Tim’s Winning 13 explains, can take over your entire life because winning is not a destination. Winning is a state of mind. It’s a commitment to giving it your all and a dedication to building the mental fortitude necessary to believe in your unequivocal, undeniable ability to win.

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