How To Develop A Winning Mindset

As a keynote speaker, I have had the pleasure of working with many world-class individuals and organizations. Although they were from diverse backgrounds and businesses, they all had something in common – a winning mindset! The word mindset is defined as a mental attitude that predetermines a personal response and interpretation of situations. Another way of saying that is “Winning is more about how we choose to think versus the circumstances we face!”

Here are four characteristics that can help you and your team develop and maintain a winning mindset:

1. Play to Learn

All of us have heard the motivational phrase “Playing to Win.” While I believe in approaching our lives and work with this philosophy, what happens when you don’t win? How do we stay encouraged and engaged? It seems to me that as we “Play to Win” we can also “Play to Learn.”

“Playing to win” goals are usually defined as success, victory, or mastery. While it is vitally important to measure our ability to achieve, we also need to identify methods to stay motivated when our results fall short. There are occasions when we have planned effectively and performed with excellence, but did not succeed.

“Playing to learn” goals are based upon your performance, regardless of the results. You evaluate these particular goals by asking questions such as, have I bettered my best? Since you are comparing your current performance to past performance and measuring improvement, this type of mindset goal is entirely within your control. Even when you don’t achieve an outcome goal, you can maintain motivation by achieving a “playing to learn” goal related to the same area.

Look at times in your life where you have failed. Would you take that experience back in exchange for the lessons you learned? Likely, the future success you have had can be partially attributed to the wisdom you gained from your previous setback. You win every time when you play to learn!

It is important to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. Goals based solely on outcomes can leave us vulnerable to discouragement, because of circumstances beyond our control, such as:

f we set goals that we have control of, our mindset and motivation won’t be in the hands of others.

The point is this: No one wins every time, however, we can learn every time!

2. Risk = Opportunity

An integral part of a winning mindset is seeing opportunity and risk as partners. In other words, you can’t have one without the other. I always wondered how some people found the courage to take risks continually.

It’s because they understand that being risk-averse also means being opportunity-averse. Once I understood that, it became must easier to try something new and step out of my comfort zone.

Here is why: I realized that risk can produce butterflies, but passing up a great opportunity will make you sick! It is all about how you interpret risk and opportunity.

3. Winning happens during practice

The will to win begins with preparing to win. My tennis coach Tony Fisher used to say, “Practice like you compete, so you can compete like you practice.”

Peak performers are always looking to better their best, and they understand that practice is the difference between mediocre and magnificent! They continually improve because they practice not only when they feel motivated, but also when they don’t feel motivated.

“You don’t stop practicing when you are a champion because practice is why you are a champion.” – Roger Federer

4. Quit!

People with a winning mindset make a habit of quitting! Now, I realize this seems a bit counterintuitive from what we believe about success. However, winners quit any attitude or action that is not moving them closer to their goals.

They say, “DO” to whatever is contributing to their success and “NO” to whatever is delaying their success.

Tim Ferris, author of Tools For Titans, calls this creating your “Not-to-Do” list. We are all busy, so it’s important that we separate what we could do from what we should do. This can only be accomplished when you have absolute clarity of your goals. Once you establish exactly where you want to go, you create a clear divide between what you could do and what you should do.

When an individual wins, we tend to look first at their external skills. However, the difference-maker is what you can’t see — their inner character. These inner qualities are something we can all develop, nurture, and benefit from.

Think about it: You are the only one who decides how you respond and interpret your situation. Only you determine the quality and content of your thoughts! You have everything you need right now to embrace a winning mindset, so Game On!

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