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Faith Wood on a winning mindset and achieving your goalsIn modern society, we’ve wandered away from the thought of winning. It has become taboo. All the focus has been put on ensuring that those who don’t place feel just as special for having contributed.

However, this flattening of drive seems to have had some unintended consequences – diminishing confidence and persistence.

And if you want to achieve something worthwhile, you need to be confident, persistent and purposeful.

I believe a winning mindset in business (and in life) is essential for long-term success. This isn’t about being a bully or steamrolling over others. Rather, it’s a commitment to staying the course when everyone else throws in the towel.

Athletes get this. Sometimes they lose a race but they have to compete to win.

Years ago, when my kids were competing in BMX, they faced some stiff competition. It rattled them and they started to believe that they couldn’t beat the other racers. With each heat, there seemed to be less and less intensity in their riding. The coach nabbed them at the start of the last heat, stared ferociously into their eyes and said, “Concentrate on winning; losing will take care of itself.”

Winning is an attitude and a champion must take on this attitude if they hope to finish well. There’s no room for apologies. What if this is the only opportunity to prove you can?

Here are seven steps to help you develop a winning mind.

Know yourself. First take stock of yourself by acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have this information, use it to help concentrate on building on your strengths and then reduce your weaknesses.

Set realistic goals. It’s easier to focus if you have realistic aims, objectives and outcomes in mind. It’s also important to address the ultimate goal in terms of the purpose behind your big objective. Never lose sight of that ultimate goal because it’s the fuel that propels you.

Be confident. You need to be extremely confident in yourself, your ability and your belief that you can and will succeed. People respond favourably to confidence. A confident person commands respect. Even if you don’t feel overwhelmingly confident, act as if you’re confident and you will be. Just like an actor, get into character and assume the role of a confident person.

The use of positive affirmations is another technique to help you build your confidence. Repeating phrases like, “I will do” or “I can do” helps to train the mind to assume the role.

Seek personal excellence. Winning is a full-time occupation. It takes a lot of dedication, commitment and sacrifice to be the best. Personal excellence is doing things with heart. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small task; a winning mindset demands that you give 100 per cent effort and commit more than everyone else.

To quote a noted sage: “Do or do not. There is no try.” That’s personal excellence.

Focus. To have a winning attitude, you must have the ability to focus exclusively on the task at hand. Although you may have the support of family, friends, coach or mentor, in the end all the effort comes down to your output.

Block out the distractions and focus on what you want to achieve. Henry Ford once said, “Obstacles are the things we see when we take our eyes off of the goal.” Stay focused.

Honesty. You must be honest with those closest to you: your coach, partner, leader, etc. But more importantly, be honest with yourself. Graham Greene once wrote that we can never truly know another person. Only you will truly know if you’re giving your all in the pursuit of winning.

Embrace challenge: Never give up. Dedication to winning can be tough but the true champion, the true winner, never ever gives up. It doesn’t matter how hard things get or how difficult the task becomes, the person with a winning mindset never yields.

If you start to incorporate these steps, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the winning mindset.

Troy Media columnist Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications.

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