How do you Win?   DON’T ask this question…

How do you Win?   DON’T ask this question…

Success is a funny thing. Tough to achieve. Doesn’t come overnight.

And the thing about success is that it spurs weird questions. Especially when it’s another organization’s success.

You watch it. You wonder about it. And then you ask, “But when is it going to end?”

That’s a deep question. It’s actually quite revealing. It says everything about your reality and how you approach your work.

This is a question you ask about a new fundraising strategy. A new program. A new partnership. Whatever it is, you squint your eyes, crawl into your head and wonder – when is it going to end?

There’s a reason you hang on to that question. It saves you.   

It saves you from having to start. As long as you can gaze at someone else’s success and ponder that question, you never have to start. You’re an observer. You wait. And you’re used to waiting long enough – until the question gets answered. You can nod your head in assumed authority and say, “See, it ended. I told you it would.”

It saves you from applying any real effort. What happens when a program or fundraising strategy keeps the momentum, doesn’t lose traction and has bold success for seven years and running? What’s that called? A fluke? Just lucky? Probably that’s how you see it. So now you don’t need to forward anything.

It saves you from giving bold ideas a chance. So often organizations hear of new ideas or see an easier way. As soon as it gets inside the organization, whether the Board room or the staff meeting – it gets shot down. That’s where the talk of “luck” and “fluke” takes hold. Those two words become a tourniquet on fresh thinking and bold, creative ideas. Hope, aspiration and ambition spiral downwards when you diminish other people’s great work as luck.

Real success does not ride on luck. Actually, it’s just the opposite. Playing the long game is underpinned with other words – “play to win” and “keep going”. Dogged persistence, keeping your promises and never giving up is the bedrock of success.

Get up everyday and do those things – and you will eventually be asked, “So when is it going to end?” And you will go forward as if it’s Day One, and the day is yours to win. Because “when is it going to end” doesn’t live in your head.

And that’s why you win.