What does winning mean to you? We all know what it looks like for Charlie Sheen—hopefully your definition is slightly less self-destructive—but this is an important question, one I’ve never really thought about before today.
Any time I’ve ever considered the subject of “winning,” the proverbial Finish Line has always come to mind. Arms stretched victoriously in the air, sweat and tears and glory—First Place, being the best—that’s winning… Right?
Allow me a quick anecdote before I get to the point—there is one, I assure you.
So, I’ve been practicing a lot of things lately, mostly willingness. I am willing to love and accept myself unconditionally. I am willing to validate myself. I am willing to have only ONE glass of wine.
That last one typically is the least affective.
I am willing to suspend judgment.
Regardless, a cool side affect to all this willingness is expansion. What happens when we expand? We create space. And when we create space, we open up to new things—new feelings, new beliefs, new power. Oh yeah, I said it. Power. Like, reality changing, Law of Attraction, manifesting the desires of my heart… POWER.
So, you might think when I manifest something really great, like landing an honorable mention in an international literary contest to which thousands of books are submitted, that I’d be thrilled, right? I should’ve been shouting from the rooftops, “Look how powerful I am! I totally manifested that!”
But alas, no.
After learning this morning that my debut novel did well in the contest, I was euphoric. And then I thought, “But an Honorable Mention isn’t really a WIN.” Even though I was posting exclamation marks all over social media, I totally wasn’t feeling it.
Later in the day, I got on the phone with a dear friend and teacher of mine. I was explaining my frustration and confusion—“Why doesn’t this feel like success??” She listened patiently then asked a very simple question.
“What does winning really mean to you?”
There was some head scratching silence on my end. I had no idea how I was supposed to answer, since I assumed, “Uh…being better than everyone?” was NOT what she was going for. Still, after a few moments of shrugging, I finally realized the real significance of her question.
Instead of looking at my honorable mention as a huge success, all I could see was what it wasn’t. I did not win because that group of judges did not award me with a gold medal. Validation: DENIED.
So here’s that point I was telling you about: As long as we’re waiting for the outside world to provide us with validation, we will always be in our own way. Success will never feel like success because there will always be a higher standard to reach. And the euphoria of winning will be nothing more than a fleeting rush as long as your destiny rests in someone else’s hands.
I’m still learning how to validate myself, and how to be my own, self-contained point of light. So I don’t know what winning means to me yet. I don’t even know what I WANT it to mean. The only thing I do know is that I want it to be up to ME.
This is where I leave you: What does winning mean to you?