How you play the game of life effects every relationship, conversation, interaction and experience that you have. If you are living a life full of resistance in relationships that are strained and you are feeling defeated, then maybe instead of changing your life, you might just need to shift your mindset. Are you playing win/lose or are you playing win/win?
This is the first piece in my 3-part exploration about how to let go of the struggle that a win/lose mindset creates and identify practical ways to generate a more fulfilling life from choosing the mindset of WIN/WIN.
This conversation is near and dear to my heart. It is a large part of what we train and teach in my corporate training company Group to TEAM Leadership Solutions. With my business partner, Freeman Micheals we focus on supporting our clients to build a powerful culture of TEAM and in order to generate TEAM, the first step is to start shifting the mindset of the individual. Our desire is to empower the individual to choose TEAM. The key to the successful application of this program is when a personal transformation takes place at the core of every individual. We both absolutely love what we do and since we have observed many business dynamics, it has compelled us to ask where the origin of the group mentality lies.
From a young age we are unconsciously taught a particular mindset that is present in all aspects of society. We are unconsciously taught to play the game of life from the prevailing pattern: the WIN/LOSE paradigm. We see this from the moment we take up a sport, or when we first see our grades on a school exam. This prevailing pattern is present in religion, politics, education, nature, television and movies and even in the very fairy tales we are read as small children. The paradigm is everywhere, permeating and filtering down into our most intimate relationships.
By the time we can tie our shoes, we are already locked into this mindset which we then play out at home, at school and on the playing field. By focusing on our intent to win while other's lose, we run into a wall of resistance and build negative emotion. The prevailing pattern of WIN/LOSE affects relationships, inciting power struggles. What does this mindset look like?
Prevailing Pattern is WIN/LOSE
Win vs. Lose is the prevailing pattern in our day to day lives. We see it in every sporting event, reality TV show and government election. Win/Lose is rooted in the mindset of competition. This is the way of thinking that in order for someone to win, someone else has to lose. Competition isn't negative, in fact, competition generates energy and can be fun. However, when a competitive mindset is over-applied and unintentional, it erodes an individual's ability to be in healthy long term relationships. When you are approaching relationships with the mindset of win vs. lose, you are on the road to creating power struggles that will eventually lead to the end of that relationship.
Examples of Win vs. Lose:
- Football WIN/LOSE Effects Relationships by creating:
- Basketball POWER STRUGGLE
- Soccer WIN/LOSE Fosters Group
- Test Taking/School
- Reality TV Shows
- Church & Community
- Government & Politics
What would happen if you consciously choose when you are playing WIN/LOSE or when you choose WIN/WIN? What if you consciously integrated more WIN/WIN into your life and into your mindset? What would open up in your relationships? What new possibilities would be created?
I have come to realize that in my relationship with my husband, whenever I get angry, upset or mad (which isn't negative, it is normal) my mindset is rooted in WIN/LOSE. I am looking at my husband to find fault, to build a case, to blame and to make wrong. But when I breath and I choose to shift my mindset to WIN/WIN then I am able to also shift my energy. I move from feeling resistant to being resourceful. I am able to be more creative with what I can generate. I am able to create space to see his point of view. I am able to hold the greater context that I desire to generate in our marriage (which is to be in a happy, healthy, loving and fun marriage!) I am able to let go of my position and be in relationship in a more authentic, vulnerable and more powerful way. When my mindset is WIN/WIN I become more creative, and I feel more grounded and centered. But in order for me to feel any of these things I have to first check my mindset. Am I thinking WIN/LOSE or am I choosing WIN/WIN?
I want to again reiterate that WIN/LOSE isn't bad, it is just over used. This blog is not written with the intent of saying you need to change, but rather it is inviting you to be more conscious of who you want to be. The WIN/WIN mindset is a personal choice. It is about becoming more aware of what mindset you are creating from.
This week I printed out a quote I particularly love and stuck it on our family's cork board for every one to see. It is something that serves as an instant reminder to generate from the WIN/WIN mindset: I never lose. I either win or I learn. Are you able to remind yourself that every mistake is not a failure, but an opportunity? WIN/WIN is an inspired practice which allows us to anchor into an inspired way of being. What does this look like in practice?
Inspired Practice is WIN/WIN
- Ask yourself, "Am I thinking WIN/WIN?
- Ask yourself, "What do I want to think or feel in this relationship."
- Remind yourself who you are committed to being EXAMPLE "My name is Susan and I am a LOVING, POWERFUL, COMMITTED WOMAN."
- Activity: Post a vision board on your wall of the life you desire to create.
- Daily Conversations
- Activity: Listen to how you speak. Do you talk about others? Do you ask questions? Are you curious? WIN/WIN will require you to think about what others want and need as well as what you want and need.
- Body Language
- Observe your body language: Is your body in an open or closed position? Do you make eye contact? Does your body look like it is listening?
The inspired practice of WIN/WIN effects relationship by generating more alignment and a feeling of TEAM.
When I ask my son Conner how we win in the game of life, he answers with absolute conviction: "WIN/WIN." I win, you win. We all win. At Group to TEAM we have 5 levels of training that support people to re-think their own thinking. WIN/LOSE thinking will set your family, your organizations and your working relationships up for failure. WIN/WIN thinking will set all those spaces up for success. My default mindset tends to be WIN/LOSE however, the greatest success of my life has been experienced when I am conscious and choose WIN/WIN.
Share your comments below about what this article has stimulated for you. I absolutely love witnessing the profound change that takes place in each individual as they begin to generate from the WIN/WIN mindset. I encourage you today to set yourself and others up for success by moving into WIN/WIN and elevating from group to TEAM
Susan Leahy MA CSP is a powerful leadership, team building and keynote speaker, trainer, and coach. Susan does 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.
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