Leslie Ungar, The Inner Brilliance of Electric Impulse, Inc.

When is a Win a Win?

Leslie’s Articles

When is a Win a Win? Is Our Bar Too High?

In sports a team may win by 20 points or 2 points and the game still goes in the W column. Whether the winning team was behind the whole game or ahead, the game still goes in the W column. Whether the starting quarterback or center plays every play or goes out on the first play, the game still goes in the W column.

In sports they call may them ugly wins, but they are still wins.

In sports a win is a win is a win. There is no asterisk by an ugly win. It counts just like any other win. Whether the team came from 30 points behind or almost lost a big lead, it counts like any other win. In wins, there is no discrimination.

Why don’t we apply that same math and same mindset to our own wins?

A client spoke at an event last night. She has been a coaching client for five years, working on her communication skills. Her improvement has catapulted her to national television, a keynote speaker in front of 300 people in an exclusive Las Vegas hotel, and to be selected to accompany a congressperson (not even her own) at a prestigious event!

This client spoke to a room full of accomplished professionals. She held their attention and made a mundane topic sound interesting and entertaining for 45 minutes. Yet this morning she emailed me to confess she was not “on top of her game”.

A hundred people came, were educated, were exposed to other interesting people, gained some knowledge and yet she felt they got less than they could have received. To which I said, an ugly win is still a win.

I don’t say this lightly. I have a new hypothesis. A new ying for your yang. A new saying for Chinese fortune cookies, a new quote of the day or whatever mantra helps you through your life.

An ugly win is still a win.

She worked for years on improving and enhancing her skills. Just as a quarterback or a wide receiver works on their skills. And you know why? So that on a day when they are not in the “zone”, they can still be effective. They can still be a threat.

Perhaps we don’t learn and practice and develop new or hone present skills to always be better. Perhaps we do it so that on a less than stellar day, we can still win.

Once we have developed the foundation and practiced and picked at both our purities and our impurities, we have earned the right to be less than perfect. No one, not LeBron or any Manning, take your pick, is at the top of their game every game. But they still win. The winners figure out how to win. They may know-whether they admit it or not-that they were not on top of their game. Perhaps an expert armchair quarterback will know.

It just does not matter. A win is a win. An ugly win counts the same as any win.

Can we give ourselves the same break we would give the best of others?