How the Best Leaders Become the Biggest Winners

From early childhood, most are taught that there are two kinds of people: winners and losers. Throughout schooling and well into adult life, the entire hierarchy of society is structured to fall on one side or the other of that success line. Sports, politics and even academics consistently highlight when someone comes out on top versus when that person fails.

Most everyone will chalk up some wins in life. Much of winning is in how you perceive the goal or competition. One person’s utter and complete failure may be another person’s step toward success. A physically challenged person completing a marathon is the winner of his or her own challenge even though technically the race was won by a highly conditioned athlete.

People who win consistently don’t do it by chance. There is often method and determination to the way they approach contests and life itself. Here are seven recognizable traits to incorporate in your life so you can be a winner most of the time.

1. Winners get in the game.

People waiting for an invitation to join a great project or an exciting opportunity will rarely end up in the winner’s circle. Sitting on the sidelines won’t likely bring success to your door. To win, you have to aggressively engage. Winners step up and ask, “How can I add value and excitement to the game?” If they get an invitation to play, they don’t hesitate to join. And they bring their A-game.

2. Winners boldly ask for what they want.

Some people foolishly think the world is filled with mind readers. If people don’t know what you are trying to achieve, they can’t easily help you accomplish your objectives. And there are few contests worth winning that can be won alone. Winners know there is no harm in asking for the things you want or that would help you get ahead. Just don’t be rude, demanding, pushy, or nagging. If you articulate your needs and desires, simply and politely, the universe has a way of providing the right help at the right time.

3. Winners understand their sphere of influence.

Some things in life are beyond control: the weather, the market, the price of bananas. Winners know when it is useless to try and apply effort or influence beyond their actual capability. They may test and push those limits, but when faced with a near impossible task, they will conserve effort and move on. Winners focus their energy on the people and places where they can effect the most change and growth in positive ways.

4. Winners gratefully leverage the strengths of others.

A winner knows his or her gifts and how to take advantage of them. Winners also have an ability to see the strengths and contributions of others around them. Winners know a shared win has greater glory than a solo effort. They inspire and recruit other talented people to participate and share the fun and accolades of a major win. They make sure that everyone who participates feels accomplishment and appreciation for their efforts.

5. Winners relentlessly self-promote.

It’s a noisy world with many competing demands for attention. Projects worthy of time and attention require awareness to rise above the clamor. Studies show that successful people tirelessly promote themselves and their businesses. Winners don’t waste time with shyness or self-doubt. They believe with conviction that their success will positively impact society and constantly let the world know why their objectives are important. Without creating a false sense of self-importance, they are willing and able to talk about how they add value to others’ lives.

6. Winners shake off the losses.

Few winners win every time. Loss in life makes victory sweeter. But nobody likes to lose. It is hard not to get the things you want, and to deal with the pain when things go wrong. But spending all of your time dwelling on anger, anxiety, or what might have been diverts focus from what can be accomplished. Winners know when something doesn’t go their way, they must quickly deal with the disappointment, learn from the experience, and get right back in the game with a positive attitude.

7.  Winners pursue the awesome experience.

Winners understand that accomplishing something of insignificance doesn’t really feel like a win at all. They rarely waste time with boring projects or initiatives that don’t hold their interest. They find ways to execute mundane things with little effort. Life is finite. Winners invest their time and energy in the things that excite them and reap benefit for themselves and the people they care about.

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Kevin Daum is an award winning and bestselling author of 5 books. He is a marketer, speaker, and columnist for Inc.com and Smart Business Magazine. As an Inc. 500 entrepreneur, his sales and marketing techniques resulted in more than $1 billion in sales. Drawing on his background in theatre and business, Kevin is a compelling speaker who has engaged and inspired audiences around the globe. Kevin is a graduate of the MIT Entrepreneurial Masters program and has received the Global Learning Award 3 times from the Entrepreneur’s Organization, where he held several board positions. Kevin has designed, produced, and led award-winning executive training programs and events for C-level executives and entrepreneurs on four continents. Previously, Kevin was named one of the 40 people to watch under 40 in San Francisco by the Business Times and in 2006 was named Distinguished Alum of the Year by his alma mater, Humboldt State University.