Are you playing not to lose?

For approximately 1/2 of my community who either don’t follow sports or don’t even live in the US, pardon my frequent use of USA sports analogies; but at the risk of saying ‘that’s just the way I think as a guy’ I’m going to lay another one on you.

American football, 11 versus 11 dressed up like gladiators essentially fighting each other up and down a 100 yard field while one teams tries to score and the other tries to stop them. Usually played for approximately one hour in real game time, but actually takes about 3 hours actual time from start to finish.

A common strategy toward the end of the game if one team is winning by a seemingly comfortable margin, is for the team that’s up to engage in what is called a ‘prevent defense.’ It is supposed to employ a bend but don’t break attitude. It’s quite common however, the defensive team will get too far out of their game plan and bend too much. Sometimes this strategy backfires because the team quit being aggressive and doing what they were doing best.

Then the race is on hoping the clock runs out fast enough.

Essentially, they go from trying to win the game to trying not to lose.

Why would you deviate from what had been working for you up to that point? I’ve seen that strategy backfire enough you would think coaches would know better.

Are you playing to win?

Of course, we all are right? Nobody is going to accuse us of doing just enough not to get fired.

What if you are in a job that no matter how well you performed or how much initiative you displayed, you are still going to be paid the same regardless; and it will be the same pay as the sub-par performer sitting next to you. And oh by the way, the economy still sucks a root, so we are not giving out raises for the third year in a row…..but can I ask you to stay late and finish this project for me while I go home to my family?

How motivating is that?

I’ll just quit and start my own business; I hear it’s pretty easy to do with social online.

Anybody can be an entrepreneur

That’s right, anybody can. However, some seem to have more of a vision and drive for it than others.

But it’s not for everyone as some are better suited in a structured, more predictable environment. That is not a bad thing though, it’s really more important to identify your strengths and what you like to do, and being the best you can be with what you have to work with.

Being able to find a the right fit is much more critical to success and happiness than a label. And sometimes you are a blend instead of all this or all that.

But you have to make it happen

If you are sitting back and waiting for someone else to validate you; make you happy or successful, then all you are doing is playing not to lose. It might work, but you will have to take what you get, regardless if you like it or not.

Stay out of the prevent defense and be pro-active with your destiny, even if it means getting out of your comfort zone. The more pro-active you are, the better chance you have at success; and you will ultimately be much happier with the results, I promise. Trust me, I’m a doctor.


56 thoughts on “Are you playing not to lose?

  1. If you don’t take risks, you don’t get anywhere. But smart risks are calculated risks, where the size/chance of the risk is measured against the potential reward.

    And you are dead right. Anyone can be an entrepreneur, but not everyone should be!

  2. Hey Bill, you’re getting a little serious on us here ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    Risk is all in the mind. Truth is, you increased your chances of dying today by a lot by just getting out of bed…

    Nothing exceptional, brilliant, awesome, unbelievable, incredible, outrageous, life-changing, mind-altering takes place on this planet without risking your life.

    How much you’re part of experiencing the above is determined by how much you’re willing to risk.

    You’re only limited in life by your thinking – not reality…

    • Oh no, I made sure to stay in bed today……….

      At least in the US, everybody seems to think someone else is to blame. If I walk out the door in front of traffic, surely someone else was at fault.

      Yes, every day we are taking risks; some calculated and some just by being alive.

      From a business standpoint some are ‘forced’ into having to make changes, but even then with the right approach to the situation, solutions can be had.

      You hit it, don’t be limited by artificial barriers; be willing to think big and if means uncomfortable too, then so be it. Just make it happen…….

  3. Like I said to Adam: it’s about risk management. When one weighs out the pros and cons, looks at the risk and is prepared to deal with it (there’s a saying I like that goes: run to the edge and leap, and believe there’s a trampoline or you’ll sprout wings:), then “going for it” is well worth the risk.

    I think it might be Tony Robbins who says there are “ready, aim, fire” people/ “ready, aim, aim, aim, aim….” people/ and “ready, fire, aim” people. I think that speaks well to the idea of how much risk one chooses to take on. Cheers! Snowshoes P.S. I tend to option 3 and 1:)

    • Yes, weigh out the pros and cons but be willing to stretch and take the calculated risks, knowing there can be a downside but the rewards can far exceed any adversity. We have all seen plenty of friends who have put all their eggs in the ‘social’ basket and some out of necessity because of a lost job; however, the successful ones have all worked hard (and smart) and had a plan to follow.

      Have you seen how big Tony Robbin’s head is?

      I’ll listen to your google chat later on; hope you had a good time.

  4. Anybody can be an entrepreneur, but that doesn’t mean they will be a successful one, right?

    From a business stand point, I would advise others not to quit their jobs and start an online business (it is much harder than it looks, isn’t it?).

    Of course, if you hate your work and hate the fact that you don’t get any raise, it is going to frustrate you (well, then again, if you jump to online business, you are not going to get paid for sometime, maybe 6 months or maybe even more).

    And of course, risk taking.

    It is something very important to do (we all have to take risks, but we should calculate it ahead and do it, instead of directly going ahead with a playful mindset).

    It is important to be relaxed though ๐Ÿ˜‰ Too much planning is also bad ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • You can definitely over-plan to the point you end up having paralysis by analysis. Every endeavor will have some risk associated with it; that would be like not getting in a relationship because you are afraid it won’t work out. Sometimes you just have to go for it.

      I would never recommend someone to quit a job and jump into social. I would recommend getting your legs first and see how sustainable it is. Sustainability is the key.

      Relaxed = good; desperate = bad.

      Good to see you triple J.

  5. You just shared what my corporate life was all about Bill. I was salaried yet asked to stay late and do everything it took to get the job done of three people without any extra acknowledgement or pay. Yeah, guess you know how long that all lasted.

    I never had that entrepreneur spirit in me, I was an “employee”. But I’ve always had a very high work ethic and I’m annoyingly organized. In order to have more and be happier getting up every single day I had to finally kick myself in the rear and take some risks. Thank goodness I did or I wouldn’t be where I am today.

    Even the most comfortable of all people can step outside their comfort zones and be more then they are. Hell, if I can do it then anyone can.

    Thanks for sharing this Bill. You always bring it home to us.


    • We just lost someone in our office who had been here 36 years. She was ultra-organized, very detailed, professional and took great pride in her work. It always irked her when she would stay late to finish a job and other’s would be lined up at the door at 5:00 pm. She was the best and I’m sure she was compensated at the high end of the ‘band’ for her job, but she couldn’t understand why others did not have the same dedication and loyalty.

      Of course, we all know you can have all that and still lose your job, right?

      You really stepped out there but have done a fantastic job. I hope it’s sustainable AND growing; good luck to your continued success.

    • Hey, maybe people will start quoting me for their motivational quotes, huh?

      Good to see you Alicia; I just got into one of these mega-tribes and noticed there is a VA blogger in there. I’ll see if I can get you there name; maybe you know them.

      • I was just floating along at about a tribe reach of 250,000 and that was fine with me and then I was invited into a couple of mega-tribes and now my reach is over 11 mil; if I could just ‘reach’ in their pocket and take $1 each I think I would be a happy man….:). I’ll find out who it is and pass the info on; have a great weekend.

  6. “Iโ€™ll just quit and start my own business; I hear itโ€™s pretty easy to do with social online.”
    –Yessir, you know how easy this social biz is … ๐Ÿ˜‰ I hear the “gurus” are making $1K a year.

    Like you, I think many people just aren’t cut out to go into business for themselves. I know several and they freely admit it, and frankly wonder why someone would be crazy enough to do it ๐Ÿ™‚

    “Being able to find a the right fit is much more critical to success and happiness than a label.”
    –So true.

    I like embracing discomfort, but taking a big jump without a plan (and maybe even a contingency plan) is not a good idea.

    Adam’s concise statement sums this up really well.

    Speaking of football, did you happen to see the crazy Hawks vs. Packers game? WTH? Talk about a clusterf*ck, but hey, I’m in Seattle, so I’m happy. But the Cheese heads …

    You’re bang on today, Sir. Bill. And thanks for the kind link.

    Have a good one.

    • I’d like the gurus to prove they are making a $1,000 a year. Let them open up their books, show how much they spend in hosting fees, figure out how many hours they spend on blog related stuff etc.

      Damn gurus are nothing compared to us ninjas. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • A lot of people are willing to work hard, but hard work alone will not make you successful. You have to have the vision and planning and know what success will mean to you.

      I’m glad the Hawks – Packers game got the real refs back; now we can bitch at them in about 2-3 weeks, huh?

      Your post was good and I see too many people bitch and moan being stuck in a job but they won’t do anything about it because it would take them out of their comfort zone. If you aren’t willing to do that, then change the attitude and just be the best you can be at whatever you are doing; even if it’s flipping burgers.

      Pro-active = good. Otherwise you will have to be satisfied with what you get.

  7. Hey Bill

    I’m not risk averse but need to balance any sort of risk I take in doing stuff online with my main purpose in life.

    I just made a bit of a balls up recently in my impulse buying so I’m trying to lie low for a while!

    I’m being as pro-active as I can be though. Does that sound like an excuse? Well, maybe a little but I feel like I need to consolidate for a while before I take the next giant leap or even a baby step!

    • Got spanked on the impulse buy, did we? At least you didn’t lose an arm, huh?

      There is a fine line in knowing when to hold them and being somewhat conservative versus rolling the dice. Especially when family is involved. However, sometimes you have to just roll the dice and see what happens.

      Keeping an open mind and open to new ideas and opportunity makes is much, much easier for things to happen in a good way for you.

      Good to see you sir; single-malt weekend?

  8. If you don’t take risks and maybe stumble a bit you wouldn’t know how good or bad you are. It should be a little bit about trial and error.

    And like I said, not everybody is a guru. You just need to know who makes sense!

  9. Hi Bill, You’re right, it’s important to take prudent risks, not Jackass-style risks. Be bold but know your limits. If you look at those who are successful in life, they are the risk-takers, not those who played it safe.

    I had a hunch you were a doctor…

    • Have you ever seen Jackass? Those are bad risks indeed……

      Be bold, be confidant, but don’t be stupid. Sometimes you have to walk on the edge of the cliff to get it done.

      I have a friend who has fallen flat on his face twice but rebounded so well he retired at 55. Some people would have just curled up in a ball and threw in the towel. It humbled him tremendously, but he never gave up. He was a risk taker………

  10. How much risk, really, is involved here? Jumping out a plane risk? Petting a rabid dog risk? Teasing a gorilla risk? Drinking expired milk risk?

    Or is it more like petting the cute kitty risk? Making a baby laugh risk? How about betting on the Lions to win Superbowl risk? (I guess that one goes up above, lol. That is hubbyโ€™s fav team.)

    Cuz I can handle some risk but not all.


    • Let’s go with the expired milk as long as the smell wasn’t too bad……

      Lion’s are much better; Stafford has to stay healthy however.

      We all take some risk; I just know when it was financial and it potentially could affect my family’s standard of living I tended to be more conservative. Things turned out pretty good however and I didn’t put the family out on the street, so it was a win.

      Buster Posey is still the man; I can’t believe the Rays could have drafted him and didn’t.

  11. When you say “anyone can be an entrepreneur,” you’re technically right. But a lot of people are merely self-employed, and really all that entrepreneurial. As Kaarina will tell you. There’s a lot more to running a business than performing a task in a competent-to-excellent manner. A great chef isn’t necessarily a good candidate to own a restaurant.

    Buster Posey has it all. Including a great name for a ball player.

    • We have all seen the entrepreneur’s who always have something on the burner cooking; that is the only thing that keeps them excited. However, the majority of people can’t stand the drama or uncertainty and prefer someone else to do it.

      Self-employed and entrepreneurial might not be the same thing. I see many self-employed out of necessity that would jump back on a day job if the right opportunity presented itself. Any work is hard work, but especially so for the self-employed.

      Buster raked the ball at FSU too……and pitched; quite the athlete.

  12. Bill, you and Craig were on a similar wavelength this week.

    I think I may have commented on his site to agree with the notion that we are not all cut out to do “anything” even though Tony Robbins or any other coaching, self-help, sage, guru, etc, etc, will so easily tell you (the best ones help a person realize their skills and help them to expand those skills into new areas of expertise).

    Just because you may work for someone else it doesn’t mean you cannot be strategic about your goals and future in your own career. A lot of people get stuck in the mentality that they cannot affect change in an organization which in my books is purely wrong. If it sucks root as you so eloquently put it then maybe it’s time to evaluate your skills and develop a bit of the growth plan. I often wonder if people employed by a company actually think about their own growth and realize that they hold the key to their destiny and not the other way around.

    Great post. A little serious but great anyway…;-)

    • Job vs career; it affects your mindset. The job people are the ones who are late to arrive and the first to leave. Internally, if you have clear lines of advancement available and hire the right person in the first place, you can nurture the development of their skills and help them grow.

      Corporate lifestyle is no guarantee anymore so it behooves you to get all the training you can and always be valuable to someone.

      The reality is, most people ‘fall’ into their jobs and then adapt. Some grow to love it and some will always be a complainer.

      Mindset and attitude is key monsieur.

  13. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love what I do (no matter what I do). If I don’t love it, I don’t do it. ๐Ÿ™‚ This doesn’t apply to domestic stuff though – so that’s exempt.

    I’ve enjoyed how my risk taking has panned out – I’ve been shocked how, most of the time, they’ve brought on the desired outcome so easily. Only had to ask. ๐Ÿ˜€ So many people see “Ask” as a four letter word.

    What can I say? ๐Ÿ˜€ I stretch every day.

    Sweet post! Hugs, Bill!

    • And that’s the key, love what you do and it doesn’t matter what time or what day, right?

      Most risk taking I have done has paid off as well; it might have been uncomfortable to get there, but it worked.

      I’m in sales, I know how very hard making the ask can be at times; you don’t want to appear ‘salesy’ right?

      Good to see you Vidya, hope your weekend is going well.

  14. Hey Bill,

    I know close to nothing about American football, I used to know a lot about NBA and even college basketball, but that seems to be like a lifetime ago. Now, I don’t follow much sports, I just watch whatever’s on the TV when I’m next to it ๐Ÿ™‚

    I understand your analogy, but it would probably been easier if you’d mention pizza ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m all for being pro-active, and that’s exactly what I quit the university and why I started out as a solo entrepreneur. And I love it.

    Great stuff Bill.

    • You can’t really sit back unless you are prepared to take whatever comes your way.

      What is the most popular sport in Norway?

      You need to run a Papa John’s franchise; but you can’t eat up all the profits…..:).

      My youngest son has his ‘official’ interview w/ us next Wednesday, and I’m pretty sure we will be offering him a job. That’s going to be exciting, I’m looking forward to it.

      Hope your weekend is going well.

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