This week I had a chance to give a keynote to a couple hundred high school students for the Wyoming DECA Leadership Conference. My message was based on a football analogy and I asked the question – Are you just playing not to lose or are you playing to win?
I think this is such a poignant question for each of us to ask.
In your life right now, are you just playing not to lose or are you playing to win?
Playing not to lose means that you are coasting, doing the minimums, just getting by.
When you play to win in your life – you are striving. You have set goals and are stretching yourself.
Playing to win means constantly growing and contributing. It means taking responsibility for your success and stepping up to the challenges your face.
Playing to win means being a leader – in your family, with your friends, at your work and in your community.
Playing to win makes all the difference in the world. Make sure you are living your life that way.
P.S. I shared some strategies on how to play to win – but I’m curious to hear yours. What are you doing to play to win in your life?
Thank you for this reminder. The question “Are you playing to win or just playing not to lose?” is well worth thinking about because the distinction makes all the difference between success and mediocrity in your Life and in your Business. It really is a fairly small distinction and it is easy to fool yourself and convince yourself that you are playing to win. If you are avoiding fear or avoiding risk then you are playing not to lose rather than playing to win.
Thank you for your thoughtful insights on the difference between playing not to lose and playing to win. In the business world, I see it as the difference between being reactive (playing not to lose) vs. proactive (playing to win). I’m working with a client right now who is a reactive manager, meaning he’s always on the defensive, reacting emotionally to the ups and downs of the the day (and driving his team crazy in the process) rather than being on the offensive, proactively planning a strategy for the day (which would enable his team to understand and meet his expectations). Playing not to lose is safer. It places the power (and therefore the responsibility outside yourself). But playing to win takes self-discipline and enough belief in yourself that you’re willing to lose now and then.