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Do You Play to Win or Play Not to Lose?

It’s Guest Post Monday and today we have Tim Mushey of Sell Lead Succeed exploring the statement “Do you play to win or play not to lose?”

When I first heard this statement in respect to a professional hockey team’s play, I stopped in my tracks.

On the surface, it seems like the same concept spun two different ways.

Or is it?

Playing to win exudes confidence. There is nothing that can get in the way of the team and victory. They execute the game plan to perfection, and do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.

Mistakes may still happen, but they get back on track in a timely fashion. It is evident in their body language that nothing less than success will be accepted by everyone.

On the other hand, the team playing not to lose exudes tentativeness. The primary goal is to not make mistakes and look foolish in front of teammates and coaches. In their minds, if they don’t make any mistakes, they should win.

On paper that makes sense. Those who follow sports hear this often, but if the other team plays an all-around better game, you will still lose. Body language supports the theory that they are just trying not to screw up, and it shows.

Take a moment and step back to think about your current sales or business role.

Do you always feel like you are on top of your “game” and nothing can stop you? If you do, congratulations! If we are honest with ourselves, most of us go through phases when we lack confidence and just feel like everything we touch turns in to…. well not gold.

Do you notice when things are going well, mistakes and other challenges in your role do not take as big a toll on you?

It seems no matter the size of the setback, you can move past it in record time. Now turn the tables. When things are not going well, and confidence is low, even the little things seem like huge issues. The world seems to be against you, and it is nearly impossible to get out of the funk.

Are you playing to win, or playing not to lose?

  • Are you afraid to make mistakes, and worry how it will look to teammates and management?
  • Or do you understand that mistakes happen, learn from them, and move on as quickly as possible?

Do you approach your role everyday with confidence, a bounce in your step, and the mindset of “I can do this?”

  • Or do you plod along as you always have; do the same things that you have always done, and just try not to screw up?

“Playing not to lose” is a career limiting decision. You will feel safe, and your results may be consistent, but your true potential will not be achieved.

If you just sit back and watch, you will witness others getting all of the glory!

“Playing to win” is a mindset. The Edmonton Oilers, New York Yankees, New England Patriots and Manchester United have not won all of those championships with the attitude of playing just to survive.

Playing to win is imperative in anything that you do. It is an attitude that should make you feel unstoppable throughout your career.

You can connect with Tim at his blog SellLeadSucceed.com, on Linkedin at Tim Mushey, on Twitter @TimMushey73 and on Google+ Tim Mushey.

Copyright 2012.


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2 thoughts on “Do You Play to Win or Play Not to Lose?”

  1. Pingback: Do You Play to Win or Play Not to Lose? | Sales Motivation and ... | Sales Courses in Adelaide

  2. Great article… the best example of this in sports today is the Vancouver Canucks.

    In the days of Joe Kennedy, he played by these rules and it propelled his son to become President.

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