A Winning Mindset

9th Nov 2020

The winning mindset is more than just rah-rah or finding a quote that hits the note… those things can help, don’t get me wrong but a winning mindset comes from within, it’s about the psychology that plays out in that playing field between your ears… your mind.
In my view a winner is not always the person with the prize in their hands or around their neck or even in their bank account, the winner or the ultimate gold medal is that feeling pride and fulfilment that you’ve laid down you very best performance in any given moment.

So, how do we begin to think like a winner? Behave like a winner? and act like a winner? Before we do answer any of those questions it’s imperative that you answer ‘why’ it’s important. If you don’t know your ‘Why’ in any situation than you’re more likely to give up, miss the point or get lost as to why you even started in the first place.
Day by day, month by month we need to view the journey to success as a growth experience, this is crucial. If we look back and only see the rocks, boulders and ditches on our journey then we miss a chance to measure how far we’ve travelled.
As a coach it’s rare, if ever that I see success come before the personal development of a client.

There are 10 qualities that I see successful people have in common:

1) Optimistic Self-Belief - having optimism and a deep-rooted enthusiasm for everything you do. This is about expecting the most favourable result from your actions and this isn’t just hope or a gamble, this is about playing your best hand whilst calculating the risks. In short the winning mindset expects to win in advance or as I like to call it ‘winning by design’.
You usually get what you expect in the long run so as I see it, you might as well set a mindset up to expect the best outcome. It frustrates me that there are faith stories everywhere, stories or hope are all around us. Stories of people who have started with an idea and added actions to their belief and their faith and then they’ve created something outstanding, not found it CREATED it.

This kind of mindset starts with the expectancy that this can be done it’s my actions that change it from ‘can be done’ to ‘will be done’. The beautiful thing here is that this kind of mindset is not reserved for the chosen few, we can marvel all we like at these people who seem to pull themselves up after a knock, we can take inspiration from these extraordinary people, but we must never believe that we are not capable of what these special people are capable of… because we can! You see, there’s an observation that I must highlight here and it’s this:

Most of the real winners in life are so consumed contributing to their own story, their own success journey that they aren’t stopping to seek public approval or any kind of accolade, and if I’m honest most of these people are discovered (almost by accident) whilst they are caught up in the act of striving to win. So it stands to reason that we can’t compare the successes from one person to another, no matter how hard we try (and we try hard every day too), because success, in my eyes, is a very individual thing it’s deep-rooted in laying down the best of you each day an feeling satisfied, not disheartened when the progress is not visible. It boils down to something very simple – in any personal success journey there are two things happening:
1) the expectations of people around you
2) the expectations imposed by yourself for yourself.

Number 2) is the only one to focus on because what the mind dwells upon the body acts upon. An expecting winning mindset expects to discover the solution to a problem, to create a new pathway, develop relationships that are harmonious and 9 times out of 10 they usually get what they expect. My personal experience has taught me that my own expectations have been influenced by who I spend the majority of time with and what I say to myself on a minute by minute basis. Keep your momentum moving upwards especially during times of turbulence or turmoil. I’ve said it in previous post ‘Optimism’ and ‘positive expectations’ release endorphins, just like exercise. I’ve lost count of how many people have said ‘I feel so much better after speaking to you’ and the truth is I haven’t said anything they haven’t heard before, I’ve just helped them see what they have got going for them, helping them to even just start with hope and then move up the scale.

Optimism is a way of life, so looking at problems like opportunities, searching for the favourable aspects of situations has to be the key, otherwise we allow the story to build in favour of the negative and the doom and gloom. Being grateful for the experiences you go through is the final stage of this kind of mindset. I challenge all of my clients to reflect asking one question ‘What did the situation bring that you’re now grateful for?’.

I’m happy to sit and wait for the awkward silence to pass, because that’s my job. But often what people bring back from that silence is exactly what they need to hear from themselves. Learn to stay relaxed and approachable even during the tough experiences. Get excited about your own dream... it holds a magic for you and that’s the personal gift you can give yourself. That attitude of inner faith that drives the person to act, that’s what optimistic self-belief does for a person.

2) Positive Self Image - this is the image of how you see yourself... The mindset focussed on producing its’ best performance tends to have an energy like no other and it can often be calmer in nature and therefore disarming, it’s almost that glow that comes from the inside out, approachably humble and friendly. I remember I had two bosses who alternated shifts. Both got the job done but one was way more collected and kinder to work with and I felt like people worked with him and not for him! It sounds like a play on words but it was much more than that, his positive self-image was charismatic. He knew that a smile can open doors and it built trust, using this to your advantage can be incredibly beneficial for you and the team around you.

My main role in Swim Buddies is to open doors and to make sure that we keep them open. It sounds like a fluffy role, however without it we have nothing! Maintaining relationships and being inclusive starts by knowing your positive self-image and intentions. At it’s core, this is about looking after yourself and presenting the right image, because we behave according to the way we think we look rather than the way we actuality look to others, therefore it becomes even more significant to work on our own positive self-image. It goes without saying that our non-verbal communication comes to the surface and speaks volumes about the image we create for ourselves and we telegraph your thoughts and feelings of what’s going on on the inside every minute of every day.

There is a beautiful line quote in one of my favourite programmes ‘First Dates’ I love it, it’s a great show it has everything for me, humour, hopes, dreams, sadness, incredible personal stories but the quote that I love is ‘If we want to be loved we must begin with being loveable’ (first dates) Learn to love yourself, this is not an act this is a way of being. Someone once wrote a note on our wedding message board: ‘a great marriage is not about looking at each other, a great marriage is about looking in the same direction together’. This is exactly what a great partnership is all about.

3) Develop a vision of you and the win – Step into being that person you want to become and do it now! Don’t wait until the perfect time because there is none, don’t be put off by others making comments such as ‘you’ve changed’ or ‘what’s got into you’, start to act accordingly like the person you know you need to be. This is where Imagery comes into it. Anyone who knows my work knows that I am a massive fan of visualisation. I see visualisation as a preview of life’s coming attractions, it’s a tool we need to use more in business because our minds benefit so much by taking a trip out to what we want to make happen. It allows you to see it, experience what it feels like, it shows the mind what its problem solving will get it and this can change everything about the direction you are heading in.

4) Set goals and targets - daily goals with a view of where it is all going and do it way before the day starts. I do mine the day before and I stick to it because if I open my emails first, if I scroll through my messages then I’m playing the ‘reacting game’ all day, reacting to this, reacting to that and nothing of importance can be done in this state. So when setting goals and targets we need to lift your heads up now and again to see if you are on track. And as the quote says ‘Set goals out of reach but not out of sight’.

5) Harness self-control – or as I like to call it harness strength of mind. I remember listening to a motivational speaker once and he said ‘make it happen, don’t fall into the trap of letting it happen’ I loved this because this is the mindset that journey’s from Hoping it’s going to happen, thinking it’s going to happen, believing it’s going to happen to ultimately knowing it’s going to happen. I call it ‘Journeying from hope to Know’. This kind of mindset builds confidence around certainty, if you want to learn more about developing this the speak to Simon Hartley, he has a great workshop on creating certainty in an uncertain world. Essentially at the heart of this it’s about taking full responsibility for what happens to you. No more ‘that’s just my luck’ or ‘stories of woe’. Make decisions from the choices you have, take calculated chances on the choices that are in front of you, create the best outcome to emerge out of them and take ownership.

6) Self-discipline – I know so many people who are adverse to the word discipline. They seem to see it as some kind of robotic one-track linear skill but I see discipline very differently, I see discipline as a persons ability to apply wining habits regularly. Because it’s only with practice that habits form incredible foundations. And I always encourage my clients never to be put off if you don’t see the benefits from a self-disciplined approach at first because not every single bit of progress will be immediately visible.

7) Use positive self-talk - love yourself, enjoy yourself. I watch my son playing and he plays by himself for hours, creating his own games, using all of his toys and more importantly I see this time as him relying on himself to create his own word. I looks like only play, but it’s much more than this, he’s practicing self-love. In short, he’s practicing ‘being enough’ for himself to still have fun and joy. It’s amazing to witness because at the very core of his time playing he’s in alignment with his own self, he knows himself and others him benefit too. When it comes to self-talk I always advocate starting with accept compliments, and that includes compliments from yourself, accept them with a simple thank you and accept that you are ever changing and that’s ok. It’s ok to not be fully accomplished and that you are a work in progress, in fact that’s the exciting bit, there’s more to come.

8) Reach out and help others up – There is a famous quote and it goes ‘the only time we should be looking down on someone is when we are reaching down to helping them up’. Stay present in today, don’t look back for too long you’ll only creak your neck and miss what’s in front of you. It’s the past for a reason, so leave it there.

9) Recognise that we have potential still yet to uncover – This is the most exciting of all the 10 points to a winning mindset or a mindset focussed on success and it’s that we still have more potential inside of all of us still yet to realise and uncover. Enjoy the feeling and don’t be daunted by it. Be honest with yourself, it is crucial. If you need help then reach out, there is a strength in showing vulnerability in the right way with the right people. But know that you can never share your way out of a problem, it’s only a start.., it still needs action.

10) Project yourself with winning communication to others – Let’s keep this one plain and simple. We’ve all met people who have that something about them. I’ve heard people say ‘that person has a heart in the right place’ or ‘they make you feel like you can do anything’ well that’s because those people think and feel that in themselves and you’re just seeing that through their communication. What we think about and speak about we bring about. If you want to see any change in the world around you then you need to start with being that change and then you’ll see it manifest itself.