Playing to Win

We’re coming to the end of another great year. Congratulations on making it through all the good, bad and ugly that this year threw at you. Right now is the perfect time to look back at this year’s experiences and reflect, because experience is not the best teacher; evaluated experience is. Take a moment to think about what you did and didn’t get done this year. Consider what you could’ve done better, and the things you’ve excelled at.

As you reflect, you have to ask yourself these three questions: 

1.    Have I been playing to WIN?

2.    Have I been playing not to lose?

3.    Or have I not been playing the game at all?

Now, ask yourself what you’re going to do to finish the year strong, and how you plan to make next year better than this one.

Life is kind of like a game of dodgeball.  As much as we try to avoid the hits, we may still occasionally get hit in the face. We all get knocked down from time to time, you just need to refuse to stay down. You must get back up and play to WIN! Playing to win is the key to success and high achievement in any area of your life. 

Let’s explore the differences: 

1. Playing to win means moving aggressively toward the result you want. It means you are on the offense. You are in the driver’s seat. You are making moves. Playing to win means being intentional about your future. Instead of letting things happen, then reacting, you are being proactive and staying three steps ahead.

2. Playing not to lose means operating in fear. You’ll find yourself spending more time overthinking (which is the art of creating problems that don’t exist) than you do planning how to win. People who use this method of productivity, work from a defensive stance. They tend to move away from a potential negative result instead of moving toward a positive one. When faced with adversity, people who are playing not to lose may retreat, which hinders their growth. Playing not to lose is similar to driving in the slow lane with your hazard lights on.

3. Not playing the game at all means voluntarily sitting on the sidelines while your goals pass you by. You have a coach, you have all the equipment, you made it to the arena – you just have to step onto the field. You may be going through the motions, attending practices (meetings, conferences, speeches, etc) pretending like you’re all in, but when it’s time to play, you find every reason not to. Not playing the game at all is worse than driving in the slow lane, it’s like sitting in a parking lot. It leads to no progress at all.                     

Remember, winning teams aggressively pursue the win; they win on purpose

So, ask yourself: 

Are you playing to win? 

Are you expecting to win?

An important part of playing to win is managing your expectations. 

Do you tend to think about future outcomes in a positive or negative light? 

Here’s an example:  


  • Concerning a Future Potential Partner:  Would you be: 

o The Negative Expectation: Are you stuck on a potential partner that didn’t work out?


o The Positive Expectation: Are you excited about the ones you will meet next?

In order to win, you must: Speak WINNING – Visualize WINNING – Plan to WIN – Have a Winning Attitude – Take Winning Action Steps and get ready to MAKE IT HAPPEN! Tell yourself that you’re a winner, you have what it takes to achieve your dreams and you expect the best. Because when you PLAY TO WIN, everything will change for the better!

So no matter how this year has gone so far, just know that your future is bright and you have everything it takes to move forward and make it happen!  If you need a fresh start, then HIT the RESET Button and hit it hard! Forgive yourself and forget about the past. Get in the game and play to WIN! YOU GOT THIS.

Playing to Win


Join the conversation
  • Adrienne Stokley - December 9, 2019 reply

    Definitely taking our game to another level- so excited to run into 2020 strong and make it happen!

  • Suzanne Jardine - December 10, 2019 reply

    Managing your expectations being a part of playing to win has really hit home and caused me to look at things differently!

  • Kristen Henderlong - January 20, 2020 reply

    I would say we spend some of 2019 in all three of these lanes. It’s painful to realize when you’ve been letting fear steal your success and your future, again! Thank you David for this awesome message. We will read it many times and we are excited to play on the offense in 2020!!

  • Linda Tennies - February 1, 2021 reply

    Yes. Your expectations are so much a part of playing to win. Thank you!

  • Matt Canaday - February 1, 2021 reply

    Excellent message, Coach! We’re excited to be playmakers!!!

  • Jenny Vesely - February 1, 2021 reply

    o The Negative Expectation: Are you stuck on a potential partner that didn’t work out?
    o The Positive Expectation: Are you excited about the ones you will meet next?

    Glass Half Full vs. Half Empty =). Awesome!

  • Doug Storey - February 5, 2021 reply

    Your expectations are a form of energy that other people will react to. When meeting new people they will feel your positive, or negative expectations and react accordingly. Thanks David and Jaimee

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