Are You playing to win or playing not to lose?
In other words, are you”Playing it Safe”?
I am sure that you have seen enough sports games, involving your favorite team, where they are ahead and winning and then something happens, and they end up losing the game. So of course, I must make a point before I go any deeper into my article…and that is that everything that I will describe all fits into the “Game of Life”. Yours, Mine and Ours. In baseball, a game is 9 innings and the team that is ahead at the end of those 9 innings is declared the winner. Of course if the game has a tie score, they then play on until one team has more runs than the other. But there is a catch. If the visiting team has more runs, the home team always gets what has come to be known as “last licks”. In ice hockey, the rules state that the team with more goals at the end of regulation time is the winner. If no team has satisfied this, then they play “sudden death” overtime periods. Sometimes, there are penalty shots and sometimes the game can end in a tie. And I could go on describing all the different sports and how someone or how the team would go about winning. After all, isn’t that the objective of the game? To win! Why would you play the game if your intention were not to win? Have you ever played soccer without the goalposts or are you just out there kicking the ball around with no concept of why?
The game that I want to focus on for the sake of my article today, is American Football. For those of you who have never followed this game, the objective is to score more points than the opposition over a 60 minute event. Once again, if at the end of regulation time, no team has at least one more point than the other team, overtime occurs. But I want to leave you with a point of emphasis…you see, neither team lost due to lack of points but more so they lost because of lack of time. Timing is everything in life. I am sure that you will agree with me on this point. But a phenomena occurs in this game. There are some key leadership laws that come into play and those laws are violated. One in particular is the Law of the Mirror or Picture, which states that people do what people see. For some reason when one team is ahead in the score and as the game is winding down, the team that is ahead appears to stop applying pressure on the team that is behind. This phenomena is generally referred to as “prevent defense”. That’s right. You heard me. The team that is winning because of their offense decides to play defense. Now don’t get me wrong, defense is very important but it is the objective of the defense to do what they need to do to get off the field so that their offense can get back on the field. It is the job of the defense to not give ground. For some reason, while the Team that is behind is trying desperately to get back in the game, the team that is ahead thinks that by playing a soft defense they can hold out until the clock runs out. I have seen many a game turn around (especially the one I root for) lose the game because they stopped playing to win and started playing not to lose. If there is a great example of what I am describing, just think of last year’s Super Bowl where Atlanta was so far ahead only to lose to New England.
So, now that I have described all of this sports talk, you are probably wondering how this fits into what we do out here in the real world. Well, let’s see. Each and every day that you go out into the world, you have been basically given a new clock of 24 hours (this is not a guarantee but let’s assume that it is). So you start out your day strong and you have set up your tasks and goals and prioritized them. I am going to take a chance here that you don’t wander around aimlessly during your day with no goals in sight. Remember my earlier statement of kicking a soccer ball around the field with no goal posts in sight? Now setting up your goals and prioritizing them would be like you being on the offense and working the clock to your advantage so that at the end of the day when that clock struck zero, you would have scored more points than the opposition. Oh, I guess I failed to mention who your opposition is. That would be summed up by your gremlin and the things that you have allowed to surround you either by choice or by default. That character that sits on your shoulder and whispers in your ear trying to get you off course. Trying to get you to put things off. Trying to get you to work on the things that don’t matter as much as the things that do. So what happens is that you get to a certain point in your day where your time is running out and you stop playing offense and you begin to play prevent defense in the hopes that you can still win the day as the clock continues to tick tock down to zero.
Are you “Playing Full Out”? As James Allen says “In all human affairs there are efforts and there are results and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result.” Let me add that the fruits of these efforts are what you will build your life by. What is the voice of judgment saying to you? What invisible boundaries lie before you awaiting you to crush through them because you are on offense? What personal challenges are you experiencing? Are you allowing Fear, Anxiety, Anger and Depression to keep your defense on the field of play? Is your Gremlin constantly whispering in your ear “Why can’t you just settle for”? How much weight are you carrying around with you both mentally and physically? Isn’t it about time that you stop punishing yourself? Is the you, you know, the real and true you?
What are you going to need to let go of so that you can indeed “Play Full Out”? Are you going to be prepared to dig in and hold that line so you can get your offense back on the Field of Play? Your God Given Potential Lies Before YOU! From a leadership perspective, have you ever thought about climbing Mt. Everest? How many of the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership do you follow each day? Are you presently investing in yourself by reading and taking personal development courses such as my Ascend Course? As a qualified Executive Director Leadership Trainer and Coach with the John Maxwell Team, I encourage and challenge you to contact me at IntentionalGrowth@icloud.com or text me at 441-705-9897 so that we can discuss how to help you play to win and stop playing not to lose. Remember…Your Game Clock is Ticking!