“Do you love to win or hate to lose?”
A high level executive in my company posed this question to a group of leaders at an event several months ago. We work for a large healthcare organization in a metropolitan area. The market shifts so rapidly our heads spin, so it was apropos of her to liken our attitudes toward our work with an air of competitiveness.
Most of us agreed that the company itself operates from more of a “love to win” approach. I don’t mean that as a hippie love-is-in-the-air attitude. It just likes playing the long game. Sometimes too long, but it’s learning to respond more quickly to an unprecedented era in healthcare.
The executive posited that there are advantages and disadvantages to both. If you love to win, you probably have a good long-term strategy. If you hate to lose, you might be more keen to be innovative to get ahead. If you love to win, you might be too slow to make a move. If you hate to lose, you might be too reactive around competition and take costly risks.
At the time I (naively) thought, “I love to win more than I hate to lose.” These days I have a more optimistic outlook than I did a few years ago. I’ve made some needed changes and have witnessed growth in my personal and professional lives. And who doesn’t love to win?
And then I was pressure-tested. There was nothing huge or life-altering that happened. I just experienced the normal ups and downs of life while that question lingered on my mind.
Turns out I’m still more of a “hate to lose” person, to my detriment. I ruminate on when I make mistakes, when I’m corrected, or when I make the wrong choice. Those moments take over my thoughts in a more powerful way than when I’m showing appreciating or celebrating a win. This spans across my personal life, work, and even in the dojang. I think one can use the “hate to lose” attitude to their advantage, but I haven’t figured that out.
I guess I’m still a perfectionist. Much less so than I was as a much younger woman and even a few years ago, but old habits die hard.
Losing isn’t so bad. I’ve learned lessons every time I’ve lost. If I can’t get away from hating to lose easily, perhaps I can shift to loving to win and learning to lose.
What about you? Do you love to win or hate to lose?