Defining Your Win

This is an updated version of a post I made in 2013.

How do you define your win?

This is a question that catches some people off guard.  The answer after all seems so simple.  You win when you come in first, right?

Well, that is the most common thought.  But sometimes it is wrong.  Certainly there are more ways to define your win than merely coming in first.

This is especially true for the novice and the inexperienced.  Chances are very slim you are going to come in first place at many or any competitions. The belief that the only way to win is to come in first is often a very real reason that beginners start but then quit.  Beginners regularly make the error of trying to compare their skill against someone who has been doing “the thing” for far longer.  And really when beginners and inexperienced people only define the win by coming in first place they in affect comparing themselves to only those who have far greater experience and skill.

This is true if you are an artist, a craft person, a martial artists or anything else.

However, even the skilled and experienced should probably expand their definition of what it means to them to win.  So what are some other ways to define your “win”?

– Learning something new.

– Doing something well you just learned.

– Doing something well you have been practicing for a long time.

– Coming to activity time/practice time

– Practicing

– Helping another learn

– Knowing when to stop and stopping.

– Letting go

– Keeping calm

– Getting excited

– Staying safe

– Having fun

– Participating in the competition

– Getting to talk to a person who is important to you

As you can see defining your win can take many different forms.  It all depends on what you want/need to accomplish.

Focusing on coming in first place takes the focus and puts it on results. Results are important but coming in first or not probably isn’t the best way to gauge your results.  After all what if there were only three entrants (you being one of them) each of which only had been doing it for a couple of months. Sure you came in first and that’s great but does that mean you are a wonderfully skilled at what you do?

Often the process is more important.  If we focus on the process and improving the process(es) of what we do, the results will improve and likely they will improve faster than if we focus solely or mostly on the results.

I humbly suggest that focusing on the process is probably a better way to define your wins than focusing on coming in first.

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