Is winning the only goal? - Michelle Gibbings

Like many Australians, last weekend I sat down to watch the AFL Grand Final, and as with any final there can only be one winner. Naturally, that’s the objective of both sides – to win.

But as I was watching the very one-sided game, it got me thinking – Are there times when there are outcomes beyond solely winning?

Now, this might sound like heresy as so much of our culture is based on rankings, hurdles, benchmarks, hierarchy and coming out on top. And, sure it feels good to win.

There are, however, lots of measures of success and progress that having nothing to do with coming first.

It may be the first time you’ve completed a marathon and so your goal is to finish. It may be taking on a new project and so your objective is to learn something new. It may be competing in an event where your intent is to just do better than you did last time.

When the focus is more than just winning, there are additional, and sometimes different benefits to consider. For example, you may:

  • Secure new learnings – Every event, new project or initiative is an opportunity to stretch yourself and see what’s possible.
  • Learn humility, empathy and compassion – If you always win, you’ll never know what it’s like to not to, which means you can be insensitive to those who struggle. In fact, the person you are in moments of challenge and defeat often says more about you then the person on display when you win.
  • Test your character – Your ability to pick yourself up, focus on your learnings, and being ready to keep going is a mark of your fortitude and courage.
  • Experience gratitude – Being grateful for what you have is a powerful ingredient for shifting your mindset, and critical for sustained happiness and well-being. Rather than focusing on what you don’t have you focus on what you do, your ability to get as far as you did this time, and what you can do next time.

No one wins all the time – that’s a harsh reality of life. So be cautious if everything you do is about winning as you may miss some other benefits along the way.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you set out to fail, it’s just a reminder to keep your mind and heart open to the opportunities that are in front of you regardless of the outcome.

As the tennis legend, Boris Becker said, “I love the winning, I can take the losing, but most of all I love to play.

If you are wondering what comes next for you and how to shift your focus, then register to receive my Ultimate Guide, which will help you find your edge in work (and life).

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Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’ and ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate Your Career’. For more information: or contact

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