In The Win Within – Capturing Your Victorious Spirit, I write a lot about the life of sport and the sport of life really being a one-in-the-same concept. Besides these notions being biologically hardwired within us, they are perhaps nowhere more evident than in the way we behave towards and interact with the world around us.
We hear it preached to children and youth sports athletes constantly – character counts. What you say, how you behave, especially when no one is watching comprises who you ARE and how you are perceived by others. When we look at the adult world today – be it in business or in athletics, there are innumerable examples of a disconnect from that important character message of our youth. What happened to the notion of fair play – the healthy respect for the rules and equal treatment of all concerned? When did we start sacrificing honor and integrity for Winning?
Would you be surprised if I told you that “winning at all costs” is really a loser’s game? The Lance Armstrongs, Barry Bonds’ and Mark McGwires of the world are proof. There is no short-cut to true, noble and lasting victory. You’ve got to take the stairs. Whether that means putting in the actual work on a business report or analysis without cutting corners or not hitting the snooze button at 5:00 a.m. to avoid a workout, the truth here is simple. The actual work put in determines the real success achieved. What’s more – we’re prouder of ourselves for it in the long-run, whether or not we ever even attain that audacious goal we’ve set.
And what of others’ successes, how do we treat those? Do we regard them with disdain, jealousy and incredulity? Or, with respect and admiration for a job well done, even if we derived no personal glory from it? We suffer in America from this inaccurate idea of personal scarcity: If someone else achieves success, victory or triumph, then that MUST mean there will be less of it for me. As though there is a Victory Pie and every slice taken by someone else means it’s less likely there will be a slice for me. My friends, that’s purely nonsense. When it comes to personal success, scarcity is fiction. It doesn’t exist – which also means there is NO LIMIT to greatness. How awesome is that? Coaching and personal success legend John Wooden said it best: “Promise to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own,” and “Give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.” To me, that sounds like solid advice from an expert who knew what he was talking about.
I’ll end with this: Character is not something that you inherit, like your hair or eye color; character is being constantly built upon by the decisions we make on a daily basis. Your daily good, honest and strong-character-filled choices add up to a life of integrity - where the truest joy and Win Within are born and dwell until your final breath.