Take Care Of Your Business, XIV

May 16, 2012 by  Filed under: Management 

How To Be A Winner When You Lose

You can’t win ’em all. A champion baseball hitter only wins his battle with the pitcher about a third of the time; a champion golfer rarely finishes a tournament without at least a bogey or two. So being a winner is different from winning. Being a winner is a mindset, a value structure, and a belief system. And you can tell real winners by the way they continue to be who they are when they lose.

There are two types of person out there, and inside each of us. The inner Victim, convinced that life is a rigged game that gives him no chance for success, expects to lose and only “wins” when he can drag others down with him. The inner Entrepreneur, in contrast, sees life as a win-win proposition… a series of opportunities… a chance to grow and learn at every turn. The Entrepreneur expects to win, and to help you win, too.

We “visit” each of these selves from time to time in our lives; but in my experience, we’re more-or-less dominated by the inner self we nourish. Winners constantly feed their inner Entrepreneur with a diet of personal responsibility, individual effort, and continuous learning. They starve their inner Victim by refusing to join the general griping they often hear, and by focusing on the positive things they can appreciate in their lives. For the winner, each loss is a lesson – and each victory is a lesson, too. For the Victim, wins are luck, and losses are just what they expect.

Losers tend to over-value competition. They see life as competitive – so winning, while elusive to the loser, is the only thing that matters. Winners have a different value structure altogether – they value the pursuit of perfection. They want to make the perfect swing of the bat or the perfect putt of the golf ball. The winners in baseball and golf will often tell you they’re not concerned about where the ball goes when they hit it – they just want to make a great swing, knowing good things will happen on the scoreboard when they do. This basic difference between value structures echoes the difference in values between Entrepreneurs and Victims: the former always seeks to be the best he can be, while the latter always seeks to get the best he can get. The Entrepreneur wants everyone to be a winner. The Victim wants nobody to get anything he didn’t get.

When people lose, you can tell which inner self they’ve nourished by the way they react to the setback…. And it goes beyond graciously congratulating the winner. The Entrepreneur can smile, even laugh at herself when she loses, and she’ll often want to spend some time analyzing what she could’ve done better. The Victim is humorless in defeat, and will often look around for someone or something to blame. The Victim believes life is unfair, and that someone should step in and make it fair – otherwise, what’s the point? The Entrepreneur believes life is unfair, too. But she sees the inherent unfairness of life as a motivator, encouraging her to double-down on personal responsibility and the pursuit of excellence.

Needless to say, when you’re taking care of your business, you’re behaving like an Entrepreneur – and you’re a winner. The winners around you seem to act like they own the place, in the sense that they see the organization’s success as dependent upon their own personal efforts and achievements. The losers might act like they own the place, too, but for very different reasons. The loser feels entitled to whatever they can get out of the organization, regardless of their own personal effort or achievement. Winners tend to do more and more, and get more and more, and feel obliged to continue improving themselves regardless of what they get out of it. Losers tend to do less and less, and get less and less. Even when they get more, losers don’t renew their efforts – they just feel indignant that the goodies to which they’ve always been entitled were so long in coming to them.

Whether or not it’s your name on the door (or on the bank loan), if you’re a winner, you act like you are in business for yourself. Your every interaction is “customer service,” because you see the stakeholders in your life as customers. And, having a well-fed inner Entrepreneur, you act like a winner in defeat as well as victory. That’s how you take care of your business.

Michael Hume is a speaker, writer, and consultant specializing in helping people maximize their potential and enjoy inspiring lives. As part of his inspirational leadership mission, he coaches executives and leaders in growing their personal sense of well-being through wealth creation and management, along with personal vitality.

Michael and his wife, Kathryn, divide their time between homes in California and Colorado. They are very proud of their offspring, who grew up to include a homemaker, a rock star, a service talent, and a television expert. Two grandchildren also warm their hearts! Visit Michael’s web site at http://michaelhume.net

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