What is a Winner?

A winner is triumphant in contest between competitors, end of story. ¶

Or, almost end of story...

There's a better way to think about it.

When I was in highschool, not too long ago, a motivational speaker and professional varsity basketball coach, John-lee Kootnekoff, joined our school as head coach.

John knew the game of basketball, but more than that, he understood what all great coaches understand.

The behavior of people is a function of the words in their minds.

Simple Language

John gave us simple language, repeated week after week and month after month.

And it worked.

We became the winning-most basketball team in the history of our small town, an overnight sensation at our level.

Here's some of John's simple language:

"Don't worry about it, don't think, just go through the motions. Visualize success."

[Then he would have the entire team lie down on the gymnasium floor in the dark and walk us through the process of putting our worries into helium balloons and sending them off to the moon.]

"Look good, feel good, good things happen."

"Winning isn't about the result, it's about the way you played..."

It's about the way you spoke to a random stranger earlier that day, or that time you helped someone out.

The Secret to Winning

The secret to winning has nothing to do with winning.

It's about behaving like a winner.

And he defined clearly what it meant to behave like winner.

In my life, those lessons have been invaluable.

I've found the mind to be full of scripts.


Scripts connected to the body, the hormones, the organs, and the glands.

Even the mixture of chemicals in our blood is a result of the way we think, and the things we think.

And that's why it's so important to implement cognitive behavioural strategies in your daily life.

We all know they are theurepeutic, but they are also the source of excellence in performance, and in a great night's sleep.

An image of an olympic medal winner holding the medal

Here Are a Few Characteristics of a Winner:

  • Innovative
  • Hard working
  • Believes in what he/she is doing
  • Focuses on details
  • Maintains a calm and relaxed presence
  • Well spoken (concise…excellent word choice)
  • In-it-to-win-it
  • Responsible
  • Intelligent
  • Continually developing
  • Keeps moving to the front
  • Gets as much perspective as possible
  • Accepts where he/she is at
  • Lets go of errors
  • Genuine
  • Thorough
  • Dutiful
  • Light-hearted, fun
  • Prepared
  • Attentive
  • Implements systems for thoughts and actions
  • Takes action as often as possible
  • Creative
  • Prioritizes actions to optimal
  • Makes time for relationships
  • Presents value and credentials when criticized
  • Expects attacks from others but does not hold this against them
  • Doesn’t take life personally
  • Courteous
  • Engages with different social groups without owning differences
  • Maintains a well tuned psychology
  • Limits unprepared actions
  • Integrates self-checking processes
  • Keeps a narrow focus to maintain effectiveness
  • Doesn’t flinch at criticism (nor own it)
  • Doesn’t spin, stretch the truth or lie
  • Doesn’t sink to a lower level
  • Accepts the behaviour of others with humour
  • keen
  • Discusses what successful actions he/she is doing

Write That List on Your Refridgerator

Now identify (to yourself) areas you admit need improvement.

If you have access to someone suitable and trustworthy, ask them to review your list.

Constructive, helpful and well-intentioned feedback is rare and valuable.

The truth is, not a lot of people are going to act in your best interest without non-altruistic incentive.

If you have a coach, mentor, or accountability partner in your life, consider yourself lucky and reward them.

Avoid Punishing Well-Intentioned Criticisms When You Find Them Hard to Take

If you have a coach, mentor, or accountability partner in your life, consider yourself lucky and reward them.

On the other hand, if that's you delivering well-intentioned criticisms and your subject isn't taking them well, make sure they know what you're doing and why you're doing it.

Maybe your suggestions will be more welcomed if you deliver them in a bed of positively reinforcing observations.

Clearly your subject isn't feeling the warmth.