It’s hard to win. In anything, winning is a combination of preparation, strategy, and luck. With the many factors involved, consistent winning is nearly impossible. Can you think of teams or people that win a lot? How many can you name? There are some, but not many.
So why is consistent winning so rare? What’s the difference between winning sometimes and winning all the time? Think of legendary winners. Coaches like Nick Saban at Alabama or Pat Summitt at Tennessee. Teams like the All Blacks or UCONN women’s basketball. They’re winners. And they win all the time. But how?
It’s not about what they do, but how they do it. Consistent winners never focus on winning. They understand that winning doesn’t define success. For the consistent winner, the scoreboard is a distraction. Results distract them from what must be done today. Successful teams and coaches don’t focus on winning games or championships—they focus on what they control. Presence and focus define them. A great effort in the current drill, a perfectly executed repetition, and a competitive attitude are the focus, not winning games. They focus on winning days, not games or championships.
To win days, focus on the process. All the small things—like your attitude and effort—everyone else is too busy for matter. Well, they matter to winners. Good teams focus on the process, not results. Trophies, records, championships. They’re all distractions. Those distractions are what most people focus on. And that’s why they fail.
The pictures and trophies are irrelevant to winners. But this is where you’re told to focus. None of the results and accolades matter. All that matters is your effort, attitude, and attention to detail. And not just in the stuff you like doing—they matter in everything. Being on time matters. Touching the line matters. Standing exactly where the coach tells you to is important. Those little things build upon each other. They either build towards success or away from it. If you can control everything you can and ignore the rest, you have a chance to be great.
If you want to be great, never focus on it. Focusing on being great guarantees you never will be. Trying to put a ring on your finger or wanting your name in the paper is a distraction. To be great, focus on what you control—the things right in front of you. Don’t think about winning or being recognized. Be great in the small things. They don’t seem to matter, but they do. And they lead to big results.
To inspire millions of people, start with one. Before you write a book, write one good paragraph you’re proud of. Winning the national championship or going undefeated sounds awesome. But before you can do that, you have to do the little things right. Give great effort, have a positive attitude, and pay attention to details in practice today. If you can do that, you have a chance to be great.
Consistent winners focus on the small picture. They don’t dream too big. Great coaches don’t talk to their teams about championships. At least they shouldn’t. They’re too busy focusing on today’s practice. To win consistently, don’t think about winning. Start focusing on what you can control. Be the best you can be today.