How to win in the game of life: part 3

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WIN/WIN at work

This blog is the third and final piece in a 3 part series about “How to Win in the Game of Life”. Over the past 3 weeks I have focused on the value of consciously choosing to integrate the mindset of WIN/WIN into your life. As previously shared, WIN/LOSE is the prevailing mindset and shows up in virtually every area of our existence on this planet. Teaching this mindset is a hugely important part of my work at Group to TEAM Leadership Solutions where we support companies like The FDA, the United States Air Force (AETC), the Association of Builders and Contractors and many university foundations to generate more TEAM. Team is not a destination, TEAM is an EXPERIENCE. TEAM is generated by the thoughts and actions of each individual. Our Group to TEAM training focuses on re-motivating the individual to choose TEAM. In many organizations, employees have become disenchanted, cynical and down right depressed. Our work re-inspires and re-engages employees to choose to generate TEAM. TEAM begins with re-evaluating and shifting the mindset of the individual.  

One of the main issues that we see in 95% of our clients is that the prevailing mindset within their organization is WIN/LOSE. WIN/LOSE can be quickly summed up in one word: competition. Please hear me when I say, COMPETITION IS NOT A BAD THING. However, unintentional over-applied competition will erode your ability to foster healthy and productive long-term relationships. Competition in itself isn’t bad, but if we over use the WIN/LOSE mindset when engaging in our relationships both at home and in the office, we will eventually cause that relationship to break down.

I am bringing this up because many companies are struggling to keep and retain quality people. What I am proposing is that if you are a manager who can’t seem to keep good people, if you are a person who can’t seem to keep a job or if you are a company that tends to have a revolving door of new hires, then quite possibly you could be trapped in the WIN/LOSE mindset. The chances are you could be over using competition as a tool. 

My intention in this blog is to focus on where the majority of us spend most of our time: at work. It has been proven that Americans, by and large, spend more time in the office then they do at home. I am sharing this information to help you savor more of your life! I know that this information can be life-giving and can provide some relief to the extent that it can boost your energy and support you in living a more balanced, healthy and happy life. 

The first thing I want you to do is to review these following questions/statements. As you answer, allow yourself to take a mental note of what you think most represents how you interact. Do not pick the “right” answer. Pick your intuitive answer. If you are answering it to “get it right” then you are stuck in the WIN/LOSE mindset. You have nothing to loose in this exercise, just self-awareness to gain.


Do I think WIN/WIN or do I think WIN/LOSE?

When you are in a conversation and you start to feel resistance (anger, frustration, worry) do you:

a) Shut down and say less

b) Walk away and hold your frustration inside

c) Walk away and share your frustration with others

d) Take a deep breath and try to see things from the other person/people's point of view


I would say that I am a person who:

a) Holds grudges

b) Let’s go and moves on

c) Desires to find a solution that works for both parties


When I am working with others I:

a) Have strong opinions about how things should be done

b) Wait for others to make the first move 

c) Do not trust that others have my back so I keep track of all interactions

d) I listen attentively in order to set people up for success


When I am working as part of a TEAM people would describe me as:

a) The leader

b) Consistent and reliable

c) Quiet and reserved

d) The jokester

e) Open and willing to do what it takes

These questions hopefully get you connected to your personal mindset. Everyone is playing “the game”. Unfortunately, the prevailing pattern for this game is WIN/LOSE. In order for ME to win, someone else has to lose. This mindset is pervasive and the goal is to realize that it is not your job to change anyone's mindset but your own. If you are not choosing WIN/WIN then you will never be able to enroll another into choosing WIN/WIN for themselves. The only way to generate more WIN/WIN experiences in your life, is for you to consciously start integrating this practice on a daily basis.

Here are 4 quick WIN/WIN tips that will support you to shift your mindset when you are at work and help you generate a different professional experience.

#1. Notice when you are feeling any resistance and state it out loud.

“I am feeling resistant. I must be thinking about this situation as WIN/LOSE.”

When you feel resistance (anger, frustration, doubt, insecurities) you are in WIN/LOSE.  I am here to tell you that your resistance isn’t negative, it is normal. Therefore, instead of giving into your resistance (which is what WIN/LOSE wants you to do), start to use resistance as an indicator that your mindset could use some support. 

#2. Ask the question:

“Do I want to be more WIN/WIN in this moment?”

This is an important question which will enable you to take ownership of the situation. If you answer NO, then you are not ready. But if you answer YES, even though you are experiencing resistance, you are expressing and taking responsibility. This is an important first step towards shifting your mindset. 

#3. Focus your thinking on solutions and setting yourself and others up for success.

“What do I want to think or feel?”

“What do I want others to think or feel?”

“How can I set myself and others up for success?”

In the moment that you have noticed your resistance and have owned that you can adjust your mindset to being more WIN/WIN, start by asking questions like the ones provided above. WARNING: on paper this exercise is extremely easy, however, it is essential to exercise your commitment by asking these kinds of questions when you are in the moment of resistance. This is when the real work begins. 

#4. Engage in a WIN/WIN dialogue.

“I deserve to feel good. You deserve to feel good and this does not feel good. So what are we going to do so that we can both feel good?”

When you are thinking WIN/WIN you become more conscious and deliberate about how you speak to others. When you are in WIN/LOSE you rely on patterns and familiarity. People stuck in WIN/LOSE say things like, “This is just who I am.” Those who really desire to live in WIN/WIN say, “This is who I am choosing to be.” Once we shift our mindset and we are thinking in WIN/WIN, our dialogue will undertake a subsequent shift to support us. Above is an example of something that I created that supports me to continue generating WIN/WIN solutions at work.   

You spend more time at work than you do at home and my desire for you is to feel good during that time. Everyone will WIN if this occurs. If you are working in an environment where it is highly competitive or you need to “CYA” or “Cover You're A$$”, I encourage you to look up and ask yourself if your company and your life could benefit from bringing in a program such as From Group To TEAM. TEAM begins at the level of each individual's mindset. Too often we are kept busy examining what needs to change when, in fact, true change will take place if we take that initial step towards shifting our mindset to WIN/WIN. 

Work with Susan Leahy CSP...

Susan Leahy MA CSP is a powerful leadership, team building and keynote speaker, trainer, and coach. Susan gives live presentations, interactive online webinars, and private personal coaching.

Susan is the creator of The Confident Woman Program and Robert's Rules Made Simple. She is also the co-founder of Group To TEAM Leadership Solutions a global coaching and consulting organization providing leadership and TEAM building training that builds a culture of TEAM by empowering the individual to choose TEAM.


Susan Leahy’s Group to TEAM training is a powerful experience that combines both live in-person training, follow-up live webinar training sessions and coaching. This is a photo of a recent Group to TEAM integration webinar given by Freeman Micheals and Susan Leahy for the AETC at the United States Air Force. TEAM is not a destination, TEAM is an EXPERIENCE and Group To TEAM Leadership Solutions creates a powerful training experience that supports clients to build a “Culture of TEAM.”

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