I always like this time of year. After a great football weekend, we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day and watch the inauguration of our President. It is a very 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:
- Courage – most 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.
- 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.
- Self-Belief – at some point you have look yourself in the mirror and fully believe in yourself and your ability to do what needs to get done especially when few people have proven they are capable of doing it.
- Focus – as 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.
- 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.
- Passion – to be great at something you need to genuinely care deeply about it. The world is full of talented smart people who lack a passion for their work/calling and as a result never reach their true potential.
- Commitment To Higher Purpose – It is never just about winning but winning for an ideal or something more important that yourself. Great teams pull together for each other. Great leaders tend to make big sacrifices for the common good or 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 and in the case of Martin Luther King Jr. spoil it for everyone else. 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.
- In Life and Business, There are Winners and Losers (capacity-building.com)
- 8 Characteristics of A Winning Team (capacity-building.com)
- Winning The Games You Should Win (capacity-building.com)
- Martin Luther King As A Leader (capacity-building.com)
- On Heroes, Leadership and Vision: MLK (industryportage.wordpress.com)
- Scientists uncover gene that may help create born leaders (independent.co.uk)
- Born to lead? Leadership can be an inherited trait, study finds (esciencenews.com)