Why Winners Win

Sometimes in life, you get lucky.

Back in the early 2000’s, I had the good fortune to be mentored by a gentleman named Col. Harold Huff.  Harold had been the pilot of Air Force One for two presidents back in the 1970’s.  He was one of the strongest, most on-purpose people I’ve ever met.  He was a man of principal and epitomized what integrity looks like.  We were able to spend a lot of time together over several years and I can tell you that he had a huge impact on my life.  He basically poured into me . . .

One day Harold told me something that I’ll never forget:

“Robert, winners don’t win because they’re the best—they win because they put themselves in a position to win.”

. . . Because they put themselves in a position to win . . .

Winners fight.  They don’t just sit around waiting for good things to happen—they make things happen!  They’re not complacent.  Instead, they have a healthy dissatisfaction with the status quo.   They take action.  And they continue to keep moving forward despite the obstacles they will most certainly meet.

An example: 

When my son Clint was seven years old, he started playing Pop Warner football.  I remember his first week like it was yesterday.

On the first day of practice, Clint’s coaches saw that he was a good athlete, so they placed him at quarterback.  It took a little while to get both the offense and the defense in their positions, but they finally got everyone where they “thought” they should be.  In reality, none of these kids had ever played the game before so the coaches were only guessing.

I want you to picture this: 22 very small guys on a field.  They were all having a hard time staying focused.  Their helmets were so big that their little necks seemed to wobble from the weight.  Not one of them knew what they were supposed to do.  It was like the coaches were trying to herd cats.

They put Clint behind the center, explained to the center that he should snap the ball to Clint, and told the defense that they were supposed to tackle the man with the ball.

Clint got over center, the ball was snapped, Clint grabbed it—and then he just stood there.  Two problems: no one had told Clint what to do when the ball was snapped, and no one had told the offensive line that they were supposed to “protect” the quarterback.

So Clint stood there and got piled on by four defensive players.

He stood up and stomped his feet.  “Why’d they do that?” he yelled.

The coaches got them all lined up again; the ball was snapped, Clint stood there and got creamed again.

Then he began to cry . . .

One of the coaches came over, put his arm around Clint, spoke to him for a few seconds (I couldn’t hear what was being said).  Clint wiped his eyes, and got back over center.

The ball was snapped; the offensive line didn’t move, (probably counting 4-leaf clovers) and Clint got gang tackled again.

It was going to be a loooooong day.

After about the eighth tackle or so, Clint screamed at the entire defense, started balling, and began walking off the field.  He’d had enough.

I ran over to my son.  He had these huge crocodile tears coming down his face.  Everything inside of me wanted to pick him up, give him a hug, put him in the car, and take him to the ice cream store.  This was my little boy!

Instead, I knelt down in front of my son, put my hands on his shoulders, looked him right in the eye, and told him to go back out on the field.

Tears were falling, his nose was running, he could hardly catch his breath he was crying so hard.  He told me he couldn’t do it.  I told him he could.  After a brief standoff, I spun him around, tapped him on the butt, and “nudged” him back out on the field.

That was a defining moment for Clint—and for me.  I could either let him quit and just walk away from the challenge, or I could assertively “encourage” him to continue.  I knew that much of his future hung in the balance.

He went back onto the field!

Over the next few weeks, he got better—a lot better!  They found that he was a very strong runner so they moved him to halfback.  He began to really enjoy football.

The result?  Several years later, when we lived in Asheville, NC, he actually scored four touchdowns in one game!

So what’s the point?

Where in your life do you feel like you’re getting “piled on?”  Keep going . . .

Where are you afraid to go because the fear is stopping you?  Keep moving . . .

Where’s the hill, that looks so large, that if you “took it” could possibly change your life for the better?  Keep climbing . . .

Put yourself in the position to win.  It can, and most likely will, make all the difference.

James Buckham said, “Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger that it was before.”

Or as Mary Case said, “No pressure, no diamonds.”

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