Wednesday, 14 March 2018

When Winning Meant Everything To Me

My upbringing was heavily surrounded by competitive team sport.

It was very much an environment where the measure of success was being ahead on the scoreboard when the game ends.

It was not quite a win at all costs or a whatever it takes mentality but close to it.

Aggression was expected whereas violence was not tolerated, nor was any act deemed cowardly.

The umpire’s decision was final, however if you could break a rule and get away with it, that was ok. It was also ok to apply pressure to an umpire in the hope of receiving a more favourable outcome next time, if that helped me win.

There was a requirement for the team came first over and above any individual glory or achievement. Awards celebrating personal success were frowned upon and highest goal scoring awards or batting average trophies were despised. The team scored the goal not the individual.

As a golfer, I had no performance expectations and as such, this was the only sport I could ever play socially, or just for fun. For everything else, fun was only in the winning.

I took much of this approach in to my working life.

I would look at most things in terms of a competition to be won, or to be lost. Most interactions were viewed as contest and my team in this environment became my work colleagues in the department or division I was a part of at that time.

On the sporting field, I was not seeking to be popular or liked but I hoped to be respected. It was the same in business.

The main thing was to at worst ensure I was not letting the team down and at best, making the major contribution to team success. Looking back, it is with no pride that I admit my competitiveness could at times be quite brutal and un-compromising, in sport and in business.

I prided myself on being direct in communication and opinion without regard of how I left another person feeling, or the negative impact this had on them.

About 15 years ago I tempered my ways. I was aware my approach was destructive to me and to others.

I consciously and deliberately changed from treating every situation as one to emerge from in victory.

For a few years I perhaps over compensated and became too passive or mellow but eventually found what I hope was an appropriate balance and more so, I hope those I worked with benefited from this. I know I did.

Why am I reflecting on this now?

There is someone who dominates our news cycle each and every day and who directly and indirectly impacts the lives of much of the world’s population. I suspect he too has a tendency to view everything in terms of winning or losing however in his case, this is magnified many times greater than I could ever have imagined.

Also, there is no team glory only his own.

Where will it all end?

At best, it will end when he is surrounded by people who only ever endorse whatever it is he wants to Tweet about in that moment.

At worst, it will end with something unfathomable.

Unfortunately, achieving the “best” outcome may only accelerate the “worst”.

A “no win” situation if ever there was one.

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