While serving as the Director of Mental Training for the St. Louis Cardinals, Dr. Jason Selk helped the team win their first World Series in over 20 years, and in 2011 he assisted the Cardinals in the historic feat of winning their second World Championship in a six year period. Considered to be one of the nation’s premier performance coaches, Dr. Selk helps numerous well- known professional and Olympic athletes as well as Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 executives and organizations develop the mental toughness necessary for high-level success. In a recent column for Forbes, Dr. Selk shared his pointers for adopting a winning mentality every time you are faced with a challenge:
World-class executive coach Tom Bartow often addresses audiences with the catchphrase, “You are going to survive. So why not win?”
For those of us who spend a lot of time enjoying and analyzing professional sports, it is easy to get caught up in talent, training, or strategy when trying to explain a win. This team has a state-of-the-art training facility. This player has a dominating build. This coach has an impressive strategy, and so on and so on. In reality, there is something much more basic to winning—something that accounts for consistent success. The key to becoming someone who makes winning a normal course of action is to adopt the mentality of a winner—a mentality that people who achieve greatness maintain consistently.
You have the potential to achieve greatness—to be that professional who excels by constantly pushing the boundaries of leadership performance and making those around him or her better by being the best possible role model of discipline and success.
You can win more often in all parts of your life, and I can prove it.
Jot down your answer to the following two questions:
1. What is one thing you have done well in the last 24 hours? This does not have to be closing the biggest deal of your life. Just identify one success, big or small.
2. What is the one thing you want to improve tomorrow? Again, this does not have to be game-changing—just one small improvement.
By answering these two questions, you have just proven you have the potential for greatness.
The legendary basketball coach John Wooden taught me that the greatest people in the world do two things well:
1. They give themselves credit where credit is due.
2. They relentlessly pursue improvement.
Greatness will not magically appear in your life without significant accountability, focus, and optimism. Nevertheless, developing the habit of answering the above two questions on a daily basis will allow you to develop your mentality toward that of a winner.
These two questions are part of a longer daily success log that I ask every athlete and businessperson I work with to complete. By answering these two questions every day, you ritualize the practice of focusing on success and winning. This trains your mind to think in a new way—a way that leads to increased self-confidence and improved performance, and discourages you from conducting a perfectionist evaluation that in turn will lead to frustration, burnout, and poor performance.
Are you ready to win? Give yourself credit, and strive for continual improvement. It will take commitment to overcome the tendency to beat yourself up for mistakes and focus on where you fall short. Being great isn’t easy. It is not supposed to be easy. Developing habits toward achieving mental toughness and a winning mentality will result in greatness. Period.