When it comes to moving forward in your career and life, mindset is everything. Some people play to win and some people play not to lose — guess who wins more often and who gets the bigger payoffs?
One of the most common mistakes made by employees today is that of being too careful — allowing fear to guide their thinking and action. The majority of employees fall in the latter category. They play it safe, play not to lose.
If you want more responsiblity at work, if you want a raise, if you want a promotion, if you want to be noticed, you have to take a calculated risk. Here’s how:
- You have to speak up in meetings and articulate you position even when you get pushback from your colleages or boss. If you give up on your ideas too easily, you are playing not to lose.
- You have to bring solutions to your boss and upper managment that address new opportunities for your company or that solve immediate problems — that is how you play to win.
- You have to get out of your comfort zone and step up to new challenges. What are you responsible for today that six months ago you thought was beyond your capabilities? Playing to win means you are thinking six to twelve months ahead and identifying ways to stretch yourself and to contribute more to your team and company.
- What are you doing to learn how to be a more effective leader? Do you think in terms of being a leader, regardless of your current title or position? What classes are you taking, what books are you reading, what seminars are you going to, what CDs are you listening to, what certifications are you pursuing? (If your company won’t pay for you to go to a seminar, conference or certification, what is stopping you from investing in yourself? If you won’t invest in yourself, maybe there is a reason your company won’t. Are you playing to win or playing not to lose?)
- When is the last time you asked your boss what his or her priorities are and how well you are doing to meet and exceed them?
Playing to win is exhilerating and self-expanding. Playing not to lose is boring and self-inhibiting. The former opens up new opportunities and the latter actually increases your odds of losing because you are in a defensive mode versus a proactive mode.
Mindset is everything when it comes to advancing your career and life. You can either play to win or play not to lose, but you can’t do both. So, which will it be?