Let’s Talk About…Winning

In the media tsunami of attractive lifestyle imagery and ‘success’ messages, make sure you filter it all back to what you really want, says Davina Greene.

Davina Greene is The Personal Strategy Coach. 
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Name a “winner” – someone who you feel is ticking off meaningful achievement after meaningful achievement in a way that you admire. However resolute you are in your admiration for that person, I’ll hazard a guess that a very large number of people would greet the announcement of your nominee with an indifferent shrug. Why? They simply aren’t seeing as much meaning as you do in the achievements you deemed noteworthy – and that’s completely acceptable, because such meaning is entirely personal.

And that’s why simply copying what other people are doing with their lives, without taking the time to make your own independent choices, is never going to bring about the buzz of real personal success.

You may feel that you’ve “won” because you are CEO of a major global organisation. But many people watching you may fail to find any significance in that particular outcome. You may feel that you’ve “won” because you are married with children. Again, many will remain unexcited by that. You may feel that you’ve “won” because you’re living off-grid, escaping The System. Because your bank account is overflowing. Because you know a famous or influential person. Because you win at sports. Because your house is filled with designer branding. If any of that means something to you, great – the feeling of winning is tied enormously to a person’s Values, and all of us are different in that respect. Indeed, the word ‘winning’ may not even be one that you are comfortable using; success or achievement may seem more…polite?

Our traits and thought habits can stop us from winning. Excessive deference towards others, low confidence, overthinking, lack of vision, and numerous other behaviours can stop us in our tracks before we’ve started, or send us down the wrong path entirely. Once, when travelling, I met a couple who had a tiny baby with them – a baby who existed only because they were randomly told that they probably couldn’t have one. Having rebelled via lengthy mental, physical and financial exertion, did they feel like winners? No. They were acutely aware that they were now living someone else’s dream, simply because they “didn’t like being dictated to” by The Universe, Biology, or whatever you want to call it. Both highly stubborn and competitive, they had allowed a trait-driven reaction to consume them; original plans were unconsciously forgotten. Contentment now seemed a world away.

Where do you start if you want to work towards personal success, towards winning? It’s all about succeeding at what you want to succeed at – this means being willing to sit alone and think about you, without reference to Other People. In the company of a coach? Perhaps, but not necessarily. As human beings, we already know all of the basic words and concepts involved, if only we could give ourselves credit for that. What we may not be very good at, however, is applying a logic that can bring us from start to finish, from idea to completion, through the various emotional and practical swings and roundabouts. From childhood, we know that every story needs a Beginning, a Middle and an End. In adulthood, we do ‘joined-up thinking’ for our bosses, but not so much for ourselves. Why is that, exactly?

So, over days, weeks or months, define where you want to go. Then make sure your ongoing actions are serving your aims. Understanding and remembering who you are, and why you chose that path, is critical in not being pulled off-course. Visibility of all such facts is critical – an unmonitored plan is no more than hopeful words on a page.

Wins will come more easily when your resilience, perspective, people skills and effort are holding firm at a beneficial level. But above all, remember that only you can motivate you, so choose a direction you’re enthusiastic about and work towards it. Go on, get the new year off to the best start possible!

Key points:

  • Have vision: Know what you want from your life, and why. Copying is not winning!
  • Be aware: Understand and follow your plans, noticing when (and why) you’re going off-track.
  • Have perspective: Enjoy watching your story build. Celebrate mini-wins – not just the big ones!
  • Be humane: Win positively rather than negatively, by improving yourself rather than by pushing others down.
  • Take action: If you struggle with implementation, get a coach for accountability purposes.

 

This column was first published in Irish Tatler magazine.