Do you Win at All Costs or For Love of the Game?
Many clients come to me burned out, exhausted, and stuck.
One of my first questions is: Are you trying to win, or do you love the game?
Are you sacrificing everything to achieve, or do you simply love what you do (and it loves you back)?
Are you sacrificing health, relationships, fun, sleep, travel, etc., to succeed or achieve?
Or does what you do serve you? Are you keeping your life balanced while also financially providing for you?
Full Disclosure: I’ve done both.
I loved the game, and it loved me back: I took a job in New York covering the most demanding clients with a much higher goal than I’d ever been given. It was a lot of responsibility. But I was respected (and adored and felt supported) by my boss. My internal team was terrific, and my customers, though tough, taught me so much. I drank from a fire hose daily as I learned how the financial markets worked and the lingo that went along with it. It was a challenge, and I loved every single minute of it. For two years, I easily exceeded 150% of my target while working only 10–3 daily. I explored New York City and all it had to offer me as a young single woman with a lot of disposable income. During those hours, I was refreshed and creative, and I could go the extra mile because I was genuinely fueled. I loved the game, and it loved me back in this infinity sign of renewable energy.
I tried to win at all costs. One year, my goal was to get into our Presidents’ Club. I worked all hours, didn’t go home for the holidays, stopped my yoga membership, and decided that dating (relationships) took up too much time. I didn’t get into the president’s club (top 1%), but I did get into the top 5% trip, but guess what?! I didn’t have anyone to take with me to celebrate my success, and I was so exhausted that I started looking for other jobs immediately. I tried to win at all costs.
I’m not saying goals are bad. I’m saying that a lack of balance to achieve them is.
This is a form of “stupid grit,” and sacrificing it all will literally leave you with nothing – the relationships, the fun memories, your health, you name it.
To me, this “win at all costs” mentality is a form of toxic masculinity pervasive in our culture.
It takes being present, grounded, and aware to notice if our actions are culturally appropriate but hurting us personally.
I believe many of us operate with unhealthy or unbalanced masculine qualities.
My book discusses the concept of a masculine and feminine balance. I explain that one is not better than the other but that they complement each other. I also explain that they are balanced and healthy qualities or expressions.
What exactly do I mean?
Unbalanced vs. Balanced Masculine Traits:
Domination vs. Leadership
Competitive: win at all costs vs. competitive: game enjoyment
Aggressive vs. Confident
Balanced masculine qualities are not bad. Toxic (or unbalanced masculine qualities) are.
Men and women possess both qualities.
I believe we get into unbalanced behaviors and habits because we live in fear. We fear losing our job; we fear we aren’t good enough; we fear we won’t have enough; we fear losing what we do have.
This month I suggest that we pause to feel into what we actually need by using a simple attending and attuning practice rather than succumbing to fear.
I’ve already shown through my proven practice that working more or harder does not produce results. Walking up and starting work at 6 am until right before you fall asleep does not provide consistent or long-term results.
How do we get out of this win-at-all-cost mentality?
We build new neural pathways to help us make different choices.
Using the practice below, we can pause to determine the best next step:
When we start canceling dinner plans to crank out emails.
Or when we look up, and we are 10 minutes late to our kids’ game, but tell ourselves they won’t notice I’m not there, so we can keep working.
Or when we wake up and immediately check our phones and get sucked into the work day (before the official workday has started) rather than going to work out.
Attend, Attune and Regulate.
Attend: Notice and acknowledge sensations, emotions, or thoughts (SET) without judgment or justification.
Attune: Discern and label how the SET feels in the body.
Regulate: What do you need to regulate?
Slowly, through this process, you’ll be able to see situations that cause this fear or this need to win at all costs, like “wow, my boss makes me feel like everything is urgent.”
You’ll eventually learn how to regulate your system and have the ability to question if something is a priority or a fear before automatically reacting.
Feel like you or your organization need help increasing productivity and resilience in your employees?
Reach out for a FREE 30-minute coaching call. I work with both 1:1 and corporate clients to help increase performance and wellbeing through my proven Performance-Based Mindfulness methodology.