Blog Archives

The Destructive Nature of Can’t

Short and sweet, yet very powerful message. Are you a “Can” or a “Can’t?”

Source: The Destructive Nature of Can’t

Do You Play To Win, or Play Not To Lose?

I recently watched a lot of the Olympics, and was thinking about this post the other day. Wanted to share it once again!

When I first heard this statement with respect to a professional hockey team’s play, I stopped in my tracks. On the surface, it seems like the same concept spun two different ways. Or is it?

Playing to win exudes confidence. There is nothing that can get in the way of the team and victory. They execute the game plan to perfection, and do whatever it takes to achieve their goals. Mistakes may still happen, but they get back on track in a timely fashion. It is clear in their body language that nothing less than success will be accepted by everyone.

On the other hand, the team playing not to lose exudes tentativeness. Their primary goal is to not make mistakes and look foolish in front of teammates and coaches. In their minds, if they don’t make any mistakes, they should win. On paper that makes sense. Those who follow sports hear this often, but if the other team plays an all round better game, you will still lose. Body language supports the theory that they are just trying not to screw up, and it shows.

Take a moment and step back to think about your current sales or business role. Do you always feel like you are on top of your “game” and nothing can stop you? If you do, congratulations! If we are honest with ourselves, most of us go through phases when we lack confidence and just feel like everything we touch turns in to…. well not gold.

Do you notice when things are going well, mistakes and other challenges in your role do not take as big a tole on you? It seems no matter the size of the setback, you can move past it in record time. Now turn the tables. When things are not going well, and confidence is low, even the little things seem like huge issues. The world seems to be against you, and it is nearly impossible to get out of the funk.

  • Are you playing to win, or playing not to lose?
    • Are you afraid to make mistakes, and worry how it will look to teammates and management?
    • Or do you understand that mistakes happen, learn from them, and move on as quickly as possible?
  • Do you approach your role everyday with confidence, a bounce in your step, and the mindset of “I can do this?”
    • Or do you plod along as you always have; do the same things that you have always done, and just try not to screw up?

“Playing not to lose” is a career limiting decision (CLD). You will feel safe, and your results may be consistent, but your true potential will not be achieved. If you just sit back and watch, you will witness others getting all the glory!

“Playing to win” is a mindset. The Edmonton Oilers, New York Yankees, New England Patriots & Manchester United have not won all of those champions with the attitude of playing just to survive. Playing to win is imperative in anything that you do. It is an attitude that should make you feel unstoppable throughout your career.


10 Ways to Win at Office Politics

Another fantastic post by Dan Rockwell – aka the “Leadership Freak”. Check it out and have a wonderful day.


Leadership Freak


Lack of leadership invites backstabbing, gossip, sabotage, game-playing, and foot-dragging. But, don’t expect a savior on a white horse to rescue you after you’ve been stabbed in the back.


Getting even with the person who made you look bad makes you look bad. Respond in ways that you would brag to mom about.

You look fearful, weak, vindictive, angry, and defensive when you respond negatively to negative office politics.

You lose if you can’t deal with office politics.

Judge your motives and behaviors by two questions. Does this intention reflect who I want to be? And, am I acting in the best interests of my organization?

Winning at office politics:

  1. Don’t expect the boss to intervene. Most bosses let politics play out.
  2. Don’t get involved in office turmoil.
  3. Don’t share office gossip.
  4. Don’t complain about colleagues. Use the “in the room” rule. Imagine the person you are talking…

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No Laughs This Week – Just Smiles And Reflection!

This is an older post that I pulled out of the archives today. Instead of laughing this time, I will be smiling and reflecting. My championship hockey team from 1985 lost a teammate way too young last week, and I want to dedicate this post to him and his family… 

I love sales, and I love sports – especially hockey. It’s natural that I see similarities between professional athletes and sales reps, as well as between the roles of sales managers and sport coaches. One story sticks out in my mind, and it has motivated me for close to 30 years now.

Growing up, there were four different tiers of hockey leagues in my city, and I was very excited to be selected to play for the Tier 2 team when I was 11 years old. It was a great group of guys, and the coaches were awesome. We had a pretty good year, but started to slip in the standings towards the end of the season. Six out of ten teams made the playoffs, and we qualified by a narrow margin.

To be honest, I don’t remember the playoff rounds leading up to the finals, but what I remember is how the coaches got us to come together as a team. Players would be asked to play different roles depending on the scenarios that unfolded during the season.  Some players were more skilled than others, and they would be counted on to score. Others were better at defence, and they would be counted on to prevent the other team’s best players from scoring.

We remarkably made it to the finals, and had to play the first place team. They were the top team for the entire season. It was a best of three series. They had one superstar player, who was a big reason that they had advanced to the finals. He was hands down the best player in the league. Our strategy going in to the finals was if we could neutralize that player, and keep him off the scoreboard as much as possible, we would win.

They won the first game. But our coaches were so good, they told us not to panic, and stick to our game plan. If we played better in game two, and continued to focus on the star player, we would still win. Game two was much better, and we kept the star off the score sheet as much as we could. All our players pretty much played the same amount, and we attacked our competitors as one unit. They would play their star player and his supporting cast most of the time. We won game two.

We advanced to game three, it was winner take all. I was so nervous that I thought that I was going to throw up! It was a very evenly matched game, and it went in to over time. I did not know how the families and coaches could bear to watch anymore. I do not remember exactly how long it took, but during the overtime period, the puck came to me by our bench. I skated up the ice with the puck, and one of my team mates had just hopped on to the ice. I sent a pass over to him and he scored the winning goal! We were champions even though nobody thought that we could do it.

What I really got out of that experience was the value of working as a team. A group of people with their own goals do not make a team. The other team relied too much on one player, and in the end that strategy did not work. Our coaches were instrumental in keeping us motivated, positive and continually instilled in us that we could do it! Their confidence in us never wavered for one moment. Losing was never an option.

This is very much like a sales team.  Everyone has their own individual goals. But if team goals are important too, it will create a better work environment for everyone, and a much stronger company overall. There is no better feeling than succeeding when nobody expects you to! And success feels so much better when you have teammates to celebrate with.

  • Have you ever been a part of a winning sports team, and if so, what factors contributed to its success?
  • Do you have any memories of that team that will be with you for the rest of your life?

A great message this morning about never giving up! Have a great day…

Every time I see a post about the National Hockey League (NHL) and business, I have to check it out! This was the case recently with Anna Caraveli’s post on the Washington Capitals with respect to mental toughness in your leadership and organization. If you are not a hockey fan, that is ok. The message still comes across loud and clear!