March Madness has returned with the NCAA tournament. Year after year we see underdog teams win games against better teams. With some it is luck, but with most I think the overwhelming reason they win is the attitude they bring to the court.
The business world is competitive so there is a lot we can learn when we look at how underdogs win. They face more talented, better trained and more experienced competition, yet at the end of the game they prevail and celebrate their success. So how do they overcome the odds and win?
“If there’s one cultural quality we have, it’s that we always see ourselves as an underdog.”
– Bill Gates
What Underdogs Can Teach Us About a Winning Attitude
Basketball is the perfect example of teamwork. No individual player can win the game and to be successful you can not do it alone. You are only as successful as those you lead. Managers are only as successful as the people who report to them. Success is a team effort that is shared by all. See “Coach Your Employees – Their Success is Your Success”.
Some call it passion, drive, motivation, zeal. It is the self-driven attitude to be the best at whatever you do. When you are passionate about your work, your team, your project, your department, your company and every other aspect of your life, you will be successful. See “How Passion For Your Job Can Lead To Success”.
Winners win because they never lose their belief that they can win. Even when faced with what seems like insurmountable odds, they have faith in themselves that they will find a way to make it happen. As soon as you think it can not be done you have lost. High achievers believe they are destined for great things.
“If you don’t believe you can win, there is no point in getting out of bed at the end of the day.” – Neville Southall
Stick To The Basics
Stick to the basic strategies that lead to success. Passion for your work, good attendance, a strong work ethic, and using best practices are all basics that lead to success. There are no shortcuts to success. Consistently strive to always do your best and continue to improve yourself. Success comes in small steps. See “Four Essential Skills For Managers to Master”.
Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back
Fear is often what stops us from being successful. The sense that you will fail, that it is better to play it safe than to take risks. Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. See challenges as obstacles to overcome. See risks as opportunities to achieve. When failures do happen learn from them so they do not happen again.
Step Up To The Challenge
Never back down from a challenging task. These challenges are what will prove that you can get the job done regardless the circumstances. They teach you lessons that you need in order to overcome even more challenging tasks in the future. The road to success is full of challenges and lessons to be learned. Don’t avoid challenges, embrace them, seek them out.
Keep Your Ego Under Control
An inflated ego can literally kill your career. When you think of yourself as a “know it all”, a person who is always right, a person who better than everyone else you are in deep trouble. You don’t know it all because there is always something new to learn. If you think you are always right you close yourself off to new ideas and approaches. When you think you are better than others
“Look for intelligence and judgment and, most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. Also look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego and the drive to get things done.” – Colin Powell
Have a Plan
Trying to improve yourself and your career without a plan is like taking a trip to a place you have never been without a map. You have to know where you want to go and how you are going to get there. Your ultimate destination or goal may be far off so there will be many stops along the way. You must develop a career plan so you will know how to get from point A to point B. See “How To Develop Your IT Career Plan and Why You Should Do It”
Have a Strong Work Ethic
Success does not come to those who do not work hard at it. Being successful at anything is not easy. It requires dedication and yes hard work. When you consistently work hard it gets noticed. When you have completed a task ask for more. This applies to your career as well. Education, certifications and learning new skills will help you advance. All of them require your time and energy, but most of all your dedication and commitment to doing them.
“Some People Dream of Success While Others Wake Up and Work Hard at It”
– Author Unknown
Rebound From Setbacks
You will not win every time, but how you handle setbacks and failures can determine if you win the next time. When you suffer a setback find out what happened and take steps or learn lessons so that it does not happen again. Setbacks do not mean the game is over. Pick yourself up, learn your lesson and get back in the game.
On any given Sunday you’re gonna win or you’re gonna lose. The point is – can you win or lose like a man? – Tony D’Amato from the movie Any Given Sunday
We all want to be winners in our career and in our life. To be successful you must take on a winning attitude. No matter how difficult of a challenge or task you face, having a “can win” attitude will lead you to success.
This is how underdogs win and eventually become top dogs. Regardless of you present position or station in life, you can be successful, you can overcome insurmountable odds and be a winner. Never quit, never give up.