What Does Winning Mean To You?

'I love the winning, I can take the losing, but most of all I Love to play.' ~Boris Becker

Have you ever stopped to think about how you think about winning? Or as this post’s title asks, “What does winning mean to you?”

It’s an important question that you should take a few minutes to answer for yourself.

How you think about winning can have a huge impact on both your on course success and the level of satisfaction you get from training and trialing your dog.

You’ll usually identify with one of these statements more than with the other. Read each sentence and pick the one that best fits the way you feel. Ready?

I feel successful in my sport when I get the highest score.


I feel successful in my sport when I learn a new skill by trying hard.

If you feel that the first statement better describes you, you have tendency to focus more on outcomes, comparing yourself to others. If you think that the latter statement does the better job of describing you, then you tend to focus more on your own performance and use your previous performances as comparisons.

While there are many successful athletes that fall under both types of focus orientations, having a performance focus brings some advantages.

As an example, I’d like you to think about one of your previous runs, maybe at a local trial, that you entered just for the fun of it. It could be a game or standard, it doesn’t matter. You go out there and run it beautifully. All the things you’ve worked on in training just clicked. You were connected with your dog, and the run was a success.

Now consider running in the exact same class, with similar challenges, only this time it’s the last leg you need for your title or the Q to qualify for a nationals. How do you perform?

From an outcome focus perspective, this run is important. It means way more to you than the run I first described. It’s tangibly different. More often than not, when handlers find themselves in this position, their performance is not what they’d hoped for.

From a performance focus perspective, this run is no different than any other. Every time you enter the ring to compete, you’re competing with yourself, and only yourself. These handlers are the ones who always seem to pull out the clutch performances.

It seems a little ironic, but the athletes that don’t care for the outcomes as much, seem to earn them most often.

I’ve been reading to the kids some Dr. Seuss lately and I love this quote. I think he captures the whole idea of outcome and performance focus with this one. From Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

“Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.”

If I’ve piqued your interest at all, you’ll want to check out the free video I  just released from my new training program, The Winning Process. You can find it at http://thewinningprocess.cognitive-edge.ca But it won’t be available for long, so you’ll want to go check it out soon.

I’d love to hear what you think about it after you’ve seen it – and if it strikes a chord, please share! Wouldn’t it be great if we can all “win”, all the time?


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