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Winning IS everything

career coaching college students committment discipline feedback goals habits mindset routines Aug 28, 2023

Author: Jamila Brown (Co-Founder at the 5 Minute Career Hack)

So many times, in life and in sports you hear the phrase "winning isn’t everything". And I subscribed to this statement most of my life until this past summer.

Here goes the very 1st lesson a group of 14-15-year-olds taught me this summer that has changed my life. I hope changes yours.

While the score at the end of the game may mean you lost the game, did you really lose, or did you win?

I asked the team what we did well and what we could improve upon every practice and game this past season. It was for assessment, reflection, and mental preparation for whatever came next. And I placed a higher value on our progress toward the ultimate goals that we set at the beginning of the season.

Goal #1: Have college coaches watch our games. This would help players get scholarship offers to play basketball in college.

Goal #2: Win championships 

To achieve these two goals, we had to behave like champions. Practice, food, workouts, training, pre-game, and mental prep must be #championshipbehavior. When I assessed practice, games, and the progress we made, we tied it back to the 2 goals. #championshipbehavior

Within 30-45 days the players began to speak the championship behavior language. 99% of everything we discussed we had complete control over.

So, I learned that winning IS everything. When you control what you can control, you in fact will achieve a winning result, mindset, and culture.

When it is about the actual outcome only, winning is not everything. When it is only about the outcome, you have no vested stake in the process. You lack the foundations to build toward success. When focused on the process, behaviors, mindset, culture, and journey winning IS everything.

As a coach, as players, and as a team, were we perfect, NO. But there were some key things that we achieved, we evolved, grew, and developed:

  1. We were honest.
  2. We corrected fast when we got off course.
  3. We fought harder together even when the competition was the toughest.
  4. We have a list of things to work on now and until next summer.
  5. We practiced end-of-game situations to win close games with excitement. To have those same shots turn into game-winners.
  6. Our level of competitiveness went to another level.
  7. Our desire to reach the goal was intense. And it showed up everywhere we went and in everything we did.
  8. We had college coaches at more games throughout the summer. We have players on the radar of some incredible universities.
  9. We won championships.

The vision was clear, simple, and always in front of us.

Here are 5 steps to making sure winning IS everything in career and life:

  1. Figure out what matters to you. What’s in it for you? For the players, playing at the next level is the dream. Learning how to be a champion is part of playing at the next level. And you need college coaches to see you to get offers. Simple, yet that must be broken down into smaller steps/chunks that are manageable. If you want to get promoted, run your own business, be a CEO, get assigned a large account, etc. what’s in it for you? Why do you want it? You will fight for what you understand. What you understand you can plan for. What you plan for you can execute.
  2. Write out the plan and list the behaviors required to achieve. Clear, concise goals with an achievable detailed process that you can execute. We had to sleep better when we were traveling to play 8/9a games better. We had to warm up with more intensity to start games faster. We revamped stretching, warm-up, pregame shooting, and getting on the court faster for games. What simple daily process do you need to fine-tune? Now break it down and habit stack based upon the result you want.
  3. Check in and rate your progress. Celebrate the progress, the milestone wins, that energy is contagious even if it is just for you. It will propel you from one part of the plan to the next.
  4. Adjust and be flexible but keep your target in site. Things will happen, adversity will come, you will make mistakes, you will even doubt yourself, and you will get thrown off track. Assume this will happen so when it does it doesn’t stop you completely.
  5. Hold yourself accountable or get an accountability partner. You would think it is easy when you are part of a team of 10 to be accountable. Well, the only easy part is that there are 10 people. Identifying and allowing yourself to be held accountable by someone else has to be a conscious choice. This step is like the semifinals before the championship, if you nail it you have already won the finals.

Win the things you can control. Stack those wins daily on top of each other and you will get everything you deserve in life. And for my players, they will get what they want on the court. And while they may not quite know it yet, they will be light years ahead of their time. They will have already learned winning IS everything at an early age.


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