Ever notice how some people seem to win all the awards? Certain people seem to have all the luck & success that we all kind of wish we had, right?
The truth? The people who win more often are usually the ones who show up more often.
For several years I worked for one of the leading branding & design consultancies in the world. The place was filled to the rafters with amazing design talent of all kinds: graphic designers, product designers, retail environment designers, web designers, researchers, copywriters, marketing experts, and more. We even had some truly amazing people who took care of our one-of-a-kind design studio facilities.
During my time there, our firm won a ton of of local and national awards. I even won a few myself. However, there was one designer who gathered more awards — by far — than anyone else.
He was an extremely talented designer. But that’s not why he won so many awards.
He produced stunning results for our clients. But that’s not why he won so many awards.
He was highly creative, extremely detail-oriented, and obsessive about the quality of his designs. But that’s not why he won so many awards.
I, like many in our company, was (still am) in awe of his talent. I was also fascinated by his ability to generate so much praise and recognition. So one day, I flat-out asked him how he won so many awards.
His voice lowered to almost a whisper. He leaned toward me as if he was about to reveal Colonel Sanders’ secret recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken.
“Dude,” (yes, he really said dude) “it’s because I ENTER more award competitions than anybody else.”
Award competitions often cost money to enter, sometimes lots of money. Which is why companies often only nominate a few of their people or projects.
My colleague believed in his work (and the mystical power of award statues) so much that if the company wouldn’t pay the entrance fee for an award competition he wanted to enter, he would pay for it out of his own pocket. I don’t have any real statistics, but my guess is that he entered 3-4 times as many award competitions than anyone else.
While my designer friend truly did deserve the awards he won, sometimes the winner is not the best.
In the mid 1990’s, Tim Allen’s hit TV show, Home Improvement, was at its peak. It was widely regarded as the best sitcom on TV. But one year, when it clearly should have taken home the Emmy Award in its category, it didn’t win.
You see, Tim and his staff forgot to enter the competition. It was quite the Hollywood blunder. Kinda hard to win if you never show up to the game, huh?
I once heard a story about two kids in the same family who got vastly different Christmas gifts. One clearly got what he wanted and the other didn’t. The difference? The one who got what he wanted made a list, the other didn’t. The one who got what he wanted got in the game.
Let’s be clear about one thing: I’m not talking about winning and losing here. That’s against my nature. I’m more of an “abundance conspirator” — in most “games” there doesn’t have to be a loser in order for others to succeed.
What I’m talking about here is making sure you show up. Are you even playing the game? Are you in it for real, or are you just doing the bare minimum to get by?
I am not a fan of the lottery, but I do love one of their taglines: You can’t win if you don’t play.
That is 100% true. Great results do not happen automatically.
Here are a few ways you can rephrase the statement to make it more relevant to your life and work:
You can’t have a great team if you don’t work at building a great team.
You can’t have new skills if you don’t learn, try, and practice new skills.
You can’t be more creative if you don’t experience new things.
You can’t get in shape if you don’t get your buns off the couch.
You can’t build relationships if you don’t relate to people on their terms (not yours).
You can’t deliver amazing service if you don’t shift your focus to be 100% on your customer’s needs.
There are times I find myself wishing I was having the success that someone else seems to be having. When I stop to examine why, l discover — almost without exception — the difference is that they’ve put themselves into the game and I haven’t. They’re showing up and giving it 100% in that area and I’m not.
So, the secret to winning more often? Get in the game more often. You can’t win if you don’t play. Why not buy Bitcoin and get some skin in the game? You can’t win by watching from the sidelines.
See you next week!
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