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Leadership Thought #420 – 7 Common Traits Of A Winner

January 21, 2013

Free Stone statue of leader of civil rights movement in Washington DC Stock Photo

I always like this time of year.  After a great football weekend, we celebrated Martin Luther King Day and watched the inauguration of our President. It is a proud time to be an American. As I was reflecting on this experience, it dawned on me that there are several characteristics of winners, whether they are sports teams, civil rights leaders, or presidents.  Several common traits emerge:

  1. CourageMost people dream about being winners but don’t have the intestinal fortitude to take the risks necessary to achieve excellence, including subjecting themselves to the glare of the public spotlight and all that entails.
  2. Resiliency If you look back at the history of any winner, you typically find points where they needed to be resilient despite the many obstacles and odds against them.  Success doesn’t come cheap or easy.  Most people tend to stumble or wither under this pressure; winners simply strengthen their resolve and move forward.
  3. Self-Belief—At some point, you must look at yourself in the mirror and fully believe in yourself and your ability to do what needs to be done, especially when few people have proven they are capable of doing it.
  4. FocusAs you climb the success ladder, it is easy to get distracted by the increased public scrutiny, trappings of success, and demands on your time. Winners tend to have a laser-like focus and block out impediments to their success.
  5. Strong Work Ethic You never outwork a winner.  When everyone else is tired or exhausted, they put in that extra effort that separates them from the pack.  They always do their homework and leave it all on the field.
  6. Passion To be great at something, you need to genuinely care deeply about it.  The world is full of talented,d smart people who lack a passion for their work/calling and, as a result, never reach their true potential.
  7. Commitment To Higher Purpose It is never just about winning, but winning for an ideal or something more important than yourself. Great teams pull together for each other. Great leaders tend to make big sacrifices for the common good or the advancement of the human condition.

In our society, we place a great emphasis on winning (maybe too much).  When we witness an individual or team scale the heights of greatness and do it in a way befitting the accomplishment, it is fun to watch and worth acknowledging.  Sadly, there will always be naysayers or people embittered by their own lack of accomplishment and/or fears who begrudge the moment.  We all know intuitively what makes a winner.  Our struggle is the gap between that knowledge and our own reality.  I encourage you to take these cues and become the hero of your own life.