Cultivate Confidence

Systems Drive the Winner’s Mind

What separates the winners from the losers?  Maybe there is a better question, given my belief on the importance of identity and avoiding shame (thank you Brene Brown).  What separates people who consistently win from those who consistently lose?  I recently read the book “Confidence” by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, which covers this topic in extraordinary detail.  I highly recommend it.

Good news.  Everything we have been talking about, the importance of systems, is one of the most important attributes of winning streaks.

First of all, read the book and get the whole picture for yourself, because this is just a slice of story.  Second, this was an awesome confirmation of the value systems and habits bring into our lives.  What I’ve been experiencing for the last ten years, and what many brilliant minds have shared before me, is that small actions taken repeatedly (as part of a system, routine, or habit) are the secret to results bigger than you can imagine.  What I had never considered, was the subconscious impact these actions have on our mindset.

Winning routines, a foundation of world-class systems and habits, lead to consistent winning, which leads to the ultimate winner’s edge: CONFIDENCE.

What is confidence?  Read the book.  Okay that’s a cheap answer, let me try to summarize (sorry Rosabeth if I butcher it).  Confidence is something that happens in our mind.  It is born from a belief system, deeply rooted in our soul.  Soul encompasses our mind, our will, and our emotions.  Confidence comes from our gut, and manifests as a pattern of thought, a pattern identified with winners.

Confidence is what makes you believe you will win before the game has even begun.  Confidence is the thing inside you that refuses to believe that a minor setback is going snowball, because your team will overcome.  Confidence is not arrogance, it’s a swagger that is backed by a real track record of results.  People who are confident carry themselves higher, stand up straight with their shoulders back (yes, a Jordan Peterson reference), and work harder than the competition.

Let’s unpack that last one, because it’s part of the secret sauce that is so often overlooked.  Winners don’t stay that way just because they are confident.  Winners show up, and do the work, every day.  They train harder, they learn and develop faster, they hang out with other winners, they don’t allow bad habits to derail their success.  It’s an upward spiral.  They do the work, and get a win.  The win builds their confidence.  It feels good, so they show up again to do the work, and the cycle continues.

Do the work.  As soon as we fall prey to the belief that we are the best and have all we need (over-confidence, arrogance), the winning streak ends.  Read that again.  Winners show up, and do the work, regardless of the number of wins they have chalked up.  They follow the system.  In sports, this is easy to see.  Disciplined nutrition, workouts, practice, practice, and more practice.

In our business, this may be the rigor of managing KPIs, training and development of the team, studying the trends in your industry, regular strategic thinking from the executive team, and a thousand other winner’s habits.

In our personal life, it’s the same principle.  Forget to manage your health, love and care for your family, or take time for self-care through recreation and solitude, and confidence will fade.

I love this principle for a couple reasons.

  1. It gives me a place to start if I’m not confident today.  Find a person who is on a winning streak in the area you want to win, and deconstruct their systems, routines, and habits (be your own Tim Ferriss).  Then show up, and do the work.
  2. Upward spirals are the best.  When you get that first win, celebrate.  Then, go back to work. When you get the second win, celebrate again.  Notice your swagger coming back.  Notice your confidence growing.  Now get back to work.  Begin expecting to win.  Expect everything to happen for you, not to you.  Expect everyone to benefit you, not hurt you.  Confidence is a state of being, enjoy it.
  3. This is not something you are born with, and anyone can do it.  Of course, some of us have an easier time than others given our childhood, and the things already programmed in our minds.  If someone is in a deep losing streak in life, it’s HARD to turn that around.  I suggest reading Rosabeth’s book if that’s you, because she covers the process of turnaround in great detail.  But there are no victims here, confidence is yours if you want it.

Looking to build your own confidence?  Start a good habit today.

Need to start a winning streak in your business?  Refresh a strong system of talent development among your team.  Then, use that talent to develop the rest of your winning systems.  Winning teams block and tackle better than anybody else.

Start with systems.  Build confidence.  Change your life.

Not sure where to start?  Let’s talk.

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