Monday, May 08, 2006

Play To Win – By Jon Gordon ***

There was a time in most of our lives when we had no fear--that feeling
when we jumped from the jungle gym and slammed our little bodies to the
ground. Perhaps it was when we went on our first roller coaster, or when
we were in high school or college and felt that there was nothing we
couldn't do. No goal was unattainable. We were an unstoppable wave of
energy that would think of something and then make it happen

Then, as time goes by, the world tells us more frequently that we can't do
anything we want. In fact, the world gets more specific and says you can't
do this and you can't do that. The doubters laugh at our goals and try to
persuade us from going after our dreams. They say, "You're crazy. It's too
hard. It's too much of a long shot. Why don't you do this instead? You
should play it safe." They act as if dreams were meant for others but not
people like us. They surround us with negative energy and try to instill
their own fears and insecurities in us. We not only begin to know the word
"fear," we start to understand what it's like to be fearful. With so many
people telling us we can't do something and so few telling us we can, it's
hard not to let fear into our lives.

Unfortunately this is how many of us go through life. The fear starts as a
thought and the thought then becomes an emotion that affects our body and
entire state of being. We have mortgages, rent, responsibilities, car
payments, college payments, medical bills, and jobs. Many of us have even
more responsibilities with families and children to support. The doubters
point all of this out and inject their doubt and negativity in us. "You
can't start your own business. What if it fails? How are you going to feed
your children? You can't start a new career. You know how hard it is to
make money acting. Why would you want to do that? You shouldn't go after a
promotion. They'll never give it to you. You're too old to change careers
and learn computers. Why would you want to do a silly thing like that?"

Whether you are 20 or 50, many of us become so scared of losing what we
have that we don't go after what we truly want. We allow the negative
energy of fear into our lives which cuts off the flow of positive energy
and paralyzes our desires. We play it safe and hold on so tight to the
status quo that we never experience what could be. We believe the doubters
and don't take chances that will move us one step towards our dreams. I
call this "playing to lose." We see this in sports all the time when a
team has the lead. They start to think about how not to lose instead of
how to win. They hold on so tight to their lead that they start playing
safe and scared. You can see it in their energy and body language. As a
result the other team takes chances, plays with no fear and eventually
gains the momentum and wins.

To live a life filled with positive energy we must learn to repel the
negative energy of fear. Whether it comes from within or from another
person we must eliminate fear from our life and replace it with a "play to
win" mindset. While fear serves no purpose in your life, a play to win
attitude will allow you to create anything you want. Playing to win
requires a commitment to yourself that even if you fail, you will never
give up and never let your goals and dreams die. Those who play to win
know that success is not given to us. It is pursued with all the energy
and sweat we can muster. Obstacles and struggles are part of life and only
serve to make us appreciate our success. If everything came easy we
wouldn't know what it felt like to truly succeed. Obstacles are meant to
be overcome. Fear is meant to be conquered. Success is meant to be
achieved. They are all part of the game of life, and the people who
succeed play to win and never give up until the game is over.

I have seen this power first hand. Two years ago, I was working for a
technology company, fearful of losing my job and going bankrupt. We had
just moved, the company I worked for was in financial trouble and I had an
expensive mortgage, two kids and no job prospects. One day I told my wife,
"I'm not going to live like this. No fear anymore. I'm going to do what I
was born to do." My plan was to open a restaurant that would provide us
with the funds to pay our bills. Once it was successful I would have the
foundation to begin my life's work of writing and speaking. Of course part
of me was scared, but I knew I didn't have a choice. For me living in fear
was like dying. Thankfully, two years later, I have two successful
restaurants and I am doing what I love--making a difference in other
people's lives by sharing energy.

I stopped the fear from flowing through my life and I replaced it with an
attitude that "I was going to make my dreams come true. Whatever it took,
I would make it happen." Once I changed my attitude, positive energy
started flowing into and out of my life and everything began falling in
place. I thank God for all of the blessings I have received, but I also
know that it started with me deciding to play to win. If I can do it so
can you.

** Action Steps **

- Identify the fear in your life. What makes you fearful?
- Remind yourself that this fear serves no purpose. It only weakens you.
- Say to yourself "I have no fear."
- Remember that it is OK to be scared at times, so long as this feeling
doesn't control you. You feel it and then you replace being scared with
thoughts of positive results.
- Decide to play to win. It's as easy as turning on a light switch.

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