I’ve been having some doubts.
Doubts about my ambitions. Are they too lofty? Should I perhaps tone my goals down a bit? I’m not sure I feel comfortable entering into elite company.
I think many of us see the desire to succeed through a negative lens. I mean, we want to do well… but not too well.
Do we really want to win?
We’re put off by the ‘win at all costs’ zeal that often leads to cheating, a disregard for others, or arrogance.
It would be easy to conclude that we should avoid the desire to win altogether. The middle of the pack is the safer, easier and usually nicer place to hang out.
After all, we’ve had a taste of the ‘all too real’ sacrifice required to reach the upper echelons, and have done the math. We conclude that it’s not worth it.
Sure, we admire people who’ve reached the highest level, and applaud from a safe distance. But aren’t we, at the same time, looking for an opportunity to pull them back down to our level, and pounce on the first sign of weakness?
So in view of this, we, often unconsciously, land short of our best.
But there is a call to those who dare to hear:
Run to win.
But not winning like we usually think of it.
Winning is not beating everyone else. Comparing yourself to others is a shifting target.
Nor should winning be at the expense of others. Instead, it should be for the good of others.
Yes, but differently
When faced with the choice between claiming a personal victory and helping a fallen competitor, winning is redefined. To sacrifice your own position and help is the greater win.
The person standing on top of the podium, or sitting in the best office, cannot afford to pretend that their position makes them better than everyone else. They must remember that their high position is temporary, and comes with greater responsibility.
To be the best is to have more to offer those around you. It is a position of service.
If winning is about personal glory, our goal is too small.
Our greatest rival is ourselves. We’re competing not against those around us, but against our own laziness, selfishness and pride.
In order to stand tall, we must be marked by humility.
Our drive must not come from selfish ambition, which will prove hollow and unfulfilling, but out of a desire to serve.
Ultimately, it comes down to motivation. If we aspire to greatness for the right reasons, the results will be an increase in the good we are able to bring the world.
If we’re striving to win from a place of unsettlement, to try and fill some gap in our life, success will only compound the issue.
We should aim to win in whatever we do this week - big or small. That’s real success - doing your best in even the most mundane and unappreciated areas of life.
Reaching the top of your sphere, or public success, if they come, make your work no more important. They just magnify what was there to begin with.
Run to win, but first ask yourself what winning really means:
Is the prize worth your effort? How long will your winnings last? Will it be a victory worthy of respect and celebration?
Once you’ve got your direction sorted, give yourself permission to go all out.
Tom likes Indian spices, French cars, British drama and Japanese gardens. He goes running nearly everyday, but early in the morning so that he doesn't miss time with his wife and two young kids. In his spare time, Tom is a Special Needs and Technology teacher.