Most of the leaders I coach are hardwired to win. And as Marshall Goldsmith says, leaders love winning.

  • If it’s important, they want to win.
  • If it’s meaningful,  they want to win.
  • If it’s critical, they want to win.
  • If it’s trivial, they want to win.
  • If it’s not worth it, they want to win anyway!

Goldsmith sees “winning too much” as the #1 challenge for leaders.

My clients tell me they have always been hard wired to win.  As kids they needed to win on the sports field, in grade school, in early entrepreneurial ventures.  They tell me their history of needing to win and follow it with a mention of how they don’t really understand where it comes from, how it’s mostly been a very good thing and how they have to be that way to succeed.  Then their voice trails off wondering if there is another way…or they further defend why they have to keep winning.

A deeper cut, either through coaching conversations or assessment, helps us  understand that their sense of self worth and security depends on some version of being perfect, performing at heroic levels, being powerful, in control, dominant, or invulnerable.

When we believe that failure is not an option, winning becomes our only option.

If you live in the “winning at all costs box”, might it be time to figure out how you can achieve great results without competing against yourself, your people, your family?

Here’s some advice, courtesy of Marshall. The next time you need to be the smartest, the fastest, the richest, the most well known, the most competitive, ask yourself:

Exactly what I am winning?

Is it worth it?

Maybe it’s time for you to approach your inner game a little differently.

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