Tag Archives: winning

Winning Isn’t Everything

I remember years ago when Nike ran the ad; You don’t win Silver you lose Gold, I lost some respect for the Nike brand that day.  My heart sunk a bit when I realized that the marketing department was simply playing on one of the less than admirable traits we Americans seem to value: winning means everything.

Some might call me crazy or weak, but I just don’t think winning is everything.  Anyone who knows me, ( I think) would say this does not mean I am not competitive.  I love a good competition.  I enjoy winning.  I have also enjoyed losing.  My own way of judging the ‘game’ is not in the final score but in the quality of play.  Did I do my best?  Did I play fair?  Did I give 100% or more?  These all come before, did I win?

I get paid working in corporate America, and sometimes I am saddened by just how much winning trumps integrity, people and a good fight.  The price of this win-at-all-costs position is beginning to show up in sports heroes who are now known for doping, a banking industry that is riddled with fraud and international distrust and distaste for Americans.

I may sound unpatriotic but I don’t think so.  Our country was built not on winning but on freedom, personal responsible and integrity.  The Boston Tea wasn’t about winning.  It was about making a statement to the world that there was another way to rule, do business and make room for differences in religion and beliefs.

I want the best results but sometimes the best results are not the ‘winning’ results not if there are astericks next to the score that make it clear doping was involved or some other questionable means.

CrisMare won Silver at the World Champions.  Yes, the Romanians rowed across the finish line first, but to hear her tell the story it is clear her team won Silver and were thrilled at the results!!

I think I writing this because I just got back from working with another Canadian company in a different business sector and I loved it.  I loved working with a group of people who were competitive but equally humble.  I would hate to think that is just a Canadian quality.

I know folks poke fun at Canada at times.  They are not dominate or a superpower.  However, they are strong, good-willed, competitive and seem to being doing just fine.

I wouldn’t mind if a little of Canada rubbed off on corporate America.  I have worked with enough Americans executives to know some do feel the same way.

Winning isn’t everything and great results can come from playing hard, playing fair and being kind!!

Life Isn’t About Being Measured

Woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep.  I wanted to since it’s Sunday morning and a good day for sleeping in.  However, my mind was racing and I could stop the mental chatter.  I’ m hoping channeling some of the racing thoughts into writing will help settle me down.

I have been replaying some comments made by a friend about success.  He was referring to who was ‘most’ successful amongst our colleagues.  The two people he name were for sure the guys who sold the most work and made the most money.  In many ways that may seem like the obvious measure of success.  Those seem like common success measures.  I think about clients who put together performance measures and often sales and revenue are fairly high on the list if not the list.

I get that for a company to stay in business sales and revenue are important but I don’t think they are a very useful measure of success.  We talk about vision meaning something noble or a reason to rally and stay together through highs and lows.  I do think that selling for someone who is passionate about connecting to people and understanding their needs and wants can be noble.  I can also believe that making significant revenue can pull people together.  Still I am not sure sales and revenue measure success.

I guess I believe success is much more personal.  I have gotten to know people who by the above standard of success should see themselves as very successful but don’t.  We’ve all heard the statement – “money can’t buy success” and I imagine some of us have wished we could test that statement ourselves.  Having had times of pretty good revenue and times of none, I do get it’s not about the cash flow.  Sure having some does help my ego but money isn’t sustaining or for that matter meaningful. Also selling has only been noble for me when I truly believed in the product and of course then never really felt like I was selling at all.

You may be wondering why is this keeping me up?  I think because there have been too many times in my life when success was measured generally and I watched or worse found myself trying to measure up only to discover later I had lost my ‘real’ direction.

Take tennis – I was very good.  For a long time I never lost and soon I thought winning was the measure of success.  However, winning soon became something that kept me in a very tight box.  I wasn’t willing to try new shots or a different serve.  I became fearful of losing and soon tennis was not the game I loved.

Take cancer – I am considered to have been successful at cancer.  Sure I am alive so that is a definite success.  But am I more successful then someone who died? No  Cancer more then anything else taught me that it’s not about how anyone including me measures a life tomorrow.    It’s only about how I choice to live today.

We are too easily convinced that there is some way to measure if we are doing well or succeeding in life.  May be it is sells and revenue, may be it’s how long we live, may be it’s if we’re married or how well our children do, may be it’s the number of times we win or the kind things we do.

Then again may be we are not here to meet performance measures.