Everyone Likes to Win

I play pick-up basketball from 8-10 p.m. two nights per week. Most of my friends are surprised that I am still playing hoops so consistently into my early 50s, but I love it. I need the exercise and the competition. 

Plus, it is extremely satisfying to win a game. (Though last night, that didn’t happen much. Our team was 1-4, but we did win our last game.)

Life and leadership can be a grind. 

  • My to-be-addressed list is usually longer at the end of the day than at the beginning. 
  • I can easily focus on the negative. (When I look at the Tuesday Takeaway metrics, I fixate on the unsubscribes and ignore the reads and opens.)
  • As a perfectionist, everything can always be improved.
  • Not to mention the daily chores like laundry, dish-washing, and paying bills that drain my tank emotionally. 


So, I am trying to learn something from my basketball experiences, disciplining my mind to find the WINS in everyday life.  

I have found three things helpful as I transform my thinking.

1. Get a Win Early in the Day

Actually, I try to get several wins early in my day. 

Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning has changed the way I think about starting my day. He outlines six transformational practices that he used to begin his day on a positive note. I don’t do each one every day, but when I do, my day starts better.

I also like getting little wins—like emptying the dishwasher or folding laundry—early in the day. Something simple that makes me have a little sense of accomplishment.

How can you get a win early tomorrow morning?

2. Celebrate Progress as a Win

When I mow my lawn, I prefer to begin and finish the whole process at once. Having little kids changed my perspective. I only had time to do the project in phases. This was aggravating at first, but slowly, I started celebrating the progress instead of the completion.

Now, my kids are in college, and I am back to doing the whole thing at once.

When your team is working on big projects, celebrate the progress, not just the completion. It will bring some joy back to your work.

At your next meeting, ask, “Where have we made progress?” and celebrate it.

3. End Your Day by Recalling Your Wins

My natural inclination is to focus on the things I didn’t finish. This creates an internal narrative that I am doing something wrong or that I am lazy. (And maybe I am?) A quick glance at my legal pad usually shows that this is not the case. 

One of the great benefits of having a daily goal list (to-do’s) is the joy of seeing things crossed off. 

What is your discipline for celebrating wins at the end of your day?

One more thought . . .

Some friends have suggested that I transition to golf at my age. Maybe one day I will, but from what I can tell, there is no winning at that game.


Brian Rutherford

Brian Rutherford is the Director of Operations for Leadercast. Brian has been telling stories professionally for twenty-five years. Stories that inspire people to see themselves and the world differently. Stories that challenge people to take meaningful action in the world.

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