Sometimes you need The Win. For some, it’s a big win that lets you fight another day. For others, it’s a personal win providing much-needed vindication. Whatever your reason for wanting the win, once you’ve set your crosshairs on it, and you have to follow through. In the end, win or lose, you can look back and see you left everything on the court. You gave it your heart and soul. You might have lost, but you weren’t beat. Hopefully, you improved for next time.
Geno Auriemma coach of the University of Connecticut’s Women’s Basketball Team has over 1,000 wins giving him the third-most career wins among women’s college basketball coaches. At one point his team had 90 straight wins across three seasons. Before the 2019 Women’s Final Four game he summed up this point perfectly when he said, “They’re going to have to beat our asses,” he said. “We’re not just going to lose because we’re afraid to lose.”
Since starting my own business, I’ve had a string of small wins. My business competitions require networking, written proposals, and fancy presentations, not free throws, layups, and three-point shots. Thank goodness! I’m trying to beat out other firms for the job, not other athletes for a trophy. It’s a different arena, but no less fierce.
We each bid on projects and the winner gets the job. Mentally and emotionally, I want to see my little wins grow into a big win! I’ve learned from my past successes and failures. I’m motivated and dedicated, I want to do better.
Right now, I’m working on a proposal for a job I know I can do. I have the experience and the subject matter expertise. Yet, I struggle to explain why I’m the best candidate for the job and why a potential employer needs my specialized skill set. Even if I think I am the best candidate.
Part of it is a mindset shift. I’ve always been a salaried employee. I proved myself once during an interview. Then once hired, the employer gave me work. There was comfort in stability. I wasn’t constantly bidding on new assignments. Business development is my weakest link because my jobs have never prioritized it.
It has never been a critical part of my day-to-day work and I had no idea how hard it would be. In the last six months, I’ve focused on these skills and I can see the improvement. Now I can confidently say, I can win this!
When I talk about this job, it sounds like I’m determined to make my proposal the winner. I might be, but I know that I’m ultimately not responsible for selecting the winner. I can’t focus on winning. I have to focus on not losing. That means making sure my submission is flawless. All of my I’s are dotted and my T’s are crossed, which has not been easy. But I’m up for the challenge. Elevating my proposal writing skills to this level has required a lot of professional growth. I feel myself stretching and growing. With each revision, not only is my proposal getting stronger but also my business skills and self-confidence.
The University of Connecticut failed to beat Notre Dame in that Final Four Game. The Fighting Irish moved on to the Championship game. Losing is painful, but hopefully, those women learned something. They played under pressure. They played as a team. They never gave up. Leaving it all on the court requires personal growth and often playing above your level. Ultimately, by the end of those games, you’ve left more than you knew you had on the court. Then, when the situation presents itself again, you know you can do it.