A friend of mine challenged me with an idea last week, and I can’t get it out of my head. He asked me if I was “playing to win”, or “playing to not lose.” At the time, I was a little caught off guard. It didn’t settle with me very well. I thought, of course I was playing to win; playing to not lose was so ridiculous. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it wasn’t that I was playing to not loose as much as I was just showing up to play.
I think if there was one team that practiced a few days a week, it would be enough, but this is the over 30 league. We just play games. At first, I was amazing. I hadn’t played in about 16 years, but I was the top scorer out of our first three games. I was an animal. I would attack and I would win the ball, or take out the guy trying. Needless to say, this got me a very quick reputation, as well as a lot of penalties. I was quicker than most, and I was in better shape. Up and down the field I would run. Then I realized that this was just a game. We are suppose to be having a fun time, and I was coming home injured almost every night. It was time to calm down.
So now, I’ve played about three, 8 week sessions. I am much more mellow. Two weeks ago, some of the guys asked me what happened to the Nick we use to see. I shrugged it off and said I needed to mellow out and not get so worked up. I started to just show up.
Tonight, I sit with two skinned knees, a bruised forearm, and a twisted ankle. I didn’t get put in the penalty box (that was last Monday), but I did score, and had some fantastically aggressive plays. I was playing to win tonight, and it was so much fun. I am not a big finesse player like a lot of the guys, but with attitude and desire to push the envelope, I can compete with these guys that have been playing most of their life.
It is the same in running our businesses. Do you play to win, or do you play to just show up? There is a group of mostly business owners that I see fairly regularly, and sadly, most of them just show up. They don’t put on their A-Game when they leave the house. They don’t call people back in a timely manner. They don’t speak as professionally as they could…they just show up.
Some days, I am guilty of just showing up. Last week I had a day or two like that. I was sick, I had a few things go the wrong direction, and I started to just go through the motions. Every day we need to put on our game face and play to win. You never know who you are going to talk to, or what opportunity could come your way. You might get a little scuffed up or bruised up.
You might hear “No” a few times. But what happens in those situations when you keep pressing and have the determination and grit to attack? You win more times than you loose. Why? Because everyone gets excited when they spend time with people on their A-Game. It is contagious. They want to hang around you. They want to do business with you.
So go ahead…push the limits. Get aggressive. No blood, no foul. It is time to score, and it is time to win.