A Winning Attitude
March Madness is in full swing across the country, and the cycle studio where I teach is hosting its own version of the playoffs. Participants are divided into teams, each one led by instructor "coaches," and given a variety of ways to score points. The competition is friendly, but fierce as team members dress up for "theme" rides, post team photos, and perform endless squats, pushups and planks, all in the name of earning the coveted title of March Madness Champions.
The whole process has made me think about what makes someone a winner? What do champions have that the rest of us mere mortals don't? What makes someone go the extra mile, get outside the comfort zone, or get back up and try again? Sure there's some natural ability and talent involved, but I think the real secret is mindset. Winners have a specific mindset that carries them through life, and the good news is that you don't have to be an athlete to tap into it. These principles can apply to any area of life from your job, to your relationships, to your goals. Ready to get your mental game on? Let's go!
Winners Don't Quit---They Just Change the Game Plan
If a team is losing, do the players throw in the towel and declare defeat? Not likely. Instead, they will call time outs and assess what is and is not working. They will regroup and change the game plan accordingly. THEY WILL DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! If you come to my class you will hear me say this ad nauseam, and for good reason. If you want something to change, you have to change. You have to do one thing differently or else you will just keep getting the same old results. If you work out all the time but aren't seeing your body change, pick up a heavier weight, incorporate HIIT intervals into your cardio, take a hard look at your diet and lifestyle. In other words, when you aren't reaching your goals, or life isn't working out the way you planned--don't give up. Take a deep breath and come at it from another angle. Change your strategy, not your goal.
Winners Never Lose--They Learn
We live in a world where "every child gets a trophy." And while I'm all about building confidence and self esteem, I don't think avoiding losses and disappointments is the way to do it. How do you learn to value and appreciate the success that comes from hard work, discipline, and commitment if you are never allowed to fail? The most valuable lessons I've learned in life came from situations where things didn't work out the way that I wanted them to--where I didn't "win." That's because losing teaches us what we are made of and help us build character. Learning to handle life's challenges and "losses" is more beneficial to self-esteem and confidence than a participation trophy could ever be. A winning attitude sees a loss as a learning opportunity and moves forward.
Winners Know There's No "I" In Team
Winners understand not only their own strengths but also the strengths of their teammates. They know when to shoot, and when to pass the ball to someone in a better position to hit the shot. A winner understands the need to work together for the greater good of the team, versus the need to get the glory for himself. He is able to see the bigger picture, check his ego at the door, and call for an assist when he needs it.
Winners Are Coachable
After a game, the team usually watches a playback to review the details and look at where they excelled and where they could've done better. Critiques and constructive criticisms are part of the deal. Rather than argue or become defensive, winners take the feedback and apply it to the next game, knowing that true constructive criticism is designed not to call out their weaknesses, but to help them develop their strengths.
Like anything, cultivating a winning attitude takes practice, but once you get in the habit it is well worth the effort. You will see opportunities where you once saw obstacles and choices where challenges once seemed insurmountable. Remember that In the game of life, winning takes hard work, humility, focus, determination, and a willingness to learn. There are no trophies for just showing up.