How to Define Wins and Losses

You have the power to own your scoreboard and to change your game.

With all of your work at the NFL and with sports at the collegiate level, why do you think the basic concepts of winning and losing are important? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

I find it fascinating to understand how leaders think about wins and losses. Some define wins as salary, position, status, a deal, a grade, a promotion, or outscoring an opponent on the field or court. Yet, we don’t pause long enough to consider or define what constitutes a win on our personal scoreboard. If we don’t take time to think about our scoreboard, we are always chasing someone else’s definition of what it looks like for us to win. Where does that take you? Often, out of your game and into someone else’s game – often with their own home field advantage.

Personally, I want and expect the win every single time. But I accept that losses are as much a part of leadership and life as any win. You have the power to own your scoreboard and to change your game. Too often the game that is lost is the game never played—the game in our minds. Approximately eighty thousand thoughts go through the mind of a leader each day. Most of them are then repeated in your mind over and over. Most are not real, yet often we process them through a negative lens, which convinces us we are losing. The key is how you think about and process both. In the NFL, I work with leaders training them to focus on the everyday wins—those we have the most control over. Every day, every person in the organization has a chance to win, achieve or accomplish something great. I am happy to stack those daily wins and measure them. As I tell organizations, if you can win on 348 days, it makes it a lot easier to have success on the 17 days that you compete on the field. This is true in the NCAA too. And it’s even more true outside of the confines of sports, where the daily understanding of wins and losses can be even more complex.

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