Recently a conversation came about with a few colleagues regarding winning. I used the word winning as a metaphor to achieve something, gaining something we aspired to and for a deeper meaning to one’s purpose. Without explaining this first I felt a little push back when I kept using the word. At first, I couldn’t understand why. It became apparent that winning was my metaphor or an easy way to explain what brings me purpose or fulfillment, but not everyone aligned with this. The word ‘winning’ has a different meaning for each of us, created by our different experiences and associations with the word.
This then took me on a journey over the past couple of weeks and brought me to asking the question, “can you win without competing?” Depends on how you define winning right? After asking this question to people from sport, business, friends, and colleagues, one gem of a comment that took me deeper was “winning is a data point, no less or no more important than other data points.” This makes sense, picking up data or information based on the processes we are undertaking.
To me, seeing it as a data point takes emotion out of it. It gives me the result of a process without the attachment and gives information to plan my next move. So why can we get so attached to certain results if it is “simply a data point, no more no less”? Are we attached to the work that goes into the process to get to a desired outcome (the blood, sweat and tears)? Maybe even loved ones or others are involved. Is the attachment to another, deeper meaning we value? If we get the desired outcome to a certain process, is that a win? If so, did we have to compete in some way, shape or form to put ourselves in the best possible position to get the desired result?
I don’t know. However, I feel knowing when to win and knowing when to fall back and not become overly attached allows for clearer thinking, better decision making and to put energy where needed to allow me to be in the best possible position to win. It may also allow us to make better decisions by not becoming overly attached to those data points and allowing emotion to take over.
Taking it a step further, does this mean there are personalized data points and depersonalized data points? Data points, no more no less (depersonalized) and data points attached with a desired want of a result or preconceived outcome (personalized). If that preconceived result is along the lines of gain, obtain, achieve something by effort can you get it without competing? And if it doesn’t mean enough, is it winning? Sure, you can gain something by not competing. For instance, if someone knocks on your door and gifts you $1000 you could say that’s a win. But if we are talking in the context of preconceived gain, obtain or achieve something by effort, is it winning? Not in that context (being gifted $1000) as you applied no effort and had no preconceived expectation. But yes, in the context of a depersonalized, non-emotional data point you could say it is a win.
At the end of the day, I have put more questions on the table than answers. For me the most important question is what is your reason to win? Does it align with your purpose? Your values? And if so to what extent before it becomes toxic, is winning unhealthy? And if winning becomes unhealthy, is it really winning? I believe the question “what is your reason to win?”, holds the answer for each of us. If winning becomes unhealthy to your values and purpose and driven by ego, is it really winning? We all define winning differently, taking small losses in the grand scheme of your purpose and vision could be winning, it’s the awareness around these data points and the decisions we make from them which allow us to move forward.
So, what’s your reason to win? Do you have a reason to win?
~ Tom Wickham