Are You Playing to Win?
If you follow me on Instagram and IGTV, you’ve probably noticed that I’m on a mission lately to talk about the importance of taking responsibility for your personal finances and planning for your future. I don’t really know what sparked this mission, but I’ve always been true to that little voice in my head that guides me, and lately it’s been telling me loud and clear to talk about money. So, I am.
One of my missions is to share, in basic and relatable language, the things no one taught me when I was younger. I want to save you time, heartache, hassle and help you live a more confident life. One thing I’ve realized when reflecting on my own path in life and talking to my friends is that so many of us aren’t playing to win. We’re playing NOT to lose. Sometimes it looks like this:
We’re not trying to get promoted, we’re just trying to keep our jobs
We’re not trying to find love, we’re just trying to avoid heartbreak
We’re not trying to achieve true physical health, we’re just trying to not be out of shape
We’re not trying to build our personal relationships, we’re just trying to avoid conflict
When it comes to money, I spent so many years playing NOT to lose. Don’t go into debt. Don’t go broke. Then one day, it just clicked. I didn’t just want to live a life where I was “okay” financially. I wanted to live a life where I was killing it. I wanted to live a life where I had abundance and peace of mind and was WINNING the financial game. For me, this meant getting really smart and automating my financial plan, investments and savings. I took action and created a financial plan that fits my vision for my life. My plan is to retire early and live a healthy, long time with vitality, energy, love and happiness. And money. Lots of money to enjoy the things that matter to me - good food, great travel, time with family and friends. I’m happiest when I’m disconnected from technology, in a gorgeous place like a mountain cabin or on a beach, with the people I love. I’m happiest when I’m writing, speaking and sharing with others. I want to do more of that. I know that doesn’t take a lot of money, but it does take freedom and time which are two things I have now and plan on having even more of in the future.
Are you playing to win? Not just avoiding failure, but really swinging for the fences? Maybe you’re playing to win in one area of your life, but not another. Or maybe you’re playing it safe across the board. I get it, I’ve done the same thing. I’ve also realized, with time, that this is really our one shot. I’ve realized that not playing to win never served me beyond maybe a dull satisfaction with not totally bombing at something. I’ve realized that the biggest wins in my life happened when I took a chance on someone or something and most often when I took a chance on myself.
You’re the only one who knows your truth. I’ll be honest with you, I’m not playing to win in every area of my life. There are places where I’m still playing it safe. I’m ready to get real with you. I’m going to look at what matters to me - health and fitness, love and relationships, money and financial freedom, impact on others - and I’m going to ask myself if I’m playing to win or if I’m just playing NOT to lose. And I’m going to push myself to get a little uncomfortable, get a little more bold and intentional, care less about the opinions or judgement of others, trust in myself and do the things that my current and future self will thank me for.
So, what does playing to win look like? I need to define that for myself and you might need to do the same. I’m going to journal about this and I think my journaling will look something like this:
List the areas of my life that matter to me (pick 3-5)
Scale of 1-10 (1 being playing NOT to lose, 10 being slaying the playing to win game): get real with each one and give it a number
Ask myself, for each one, what does playing to win look like? (this is the most important part of the exercise because I need clarity and a vision in order to make changes)
For each thing, list 3 realistic things I can do to get just one step closer to playing to win
Review weekly and keep notes of successes; remember it’s a game of patience and intention
Be so kind to yourself and celebrate every small and big success along the way. Remember we overestimate what we can do in a day and we underestimate what we can do in a year. Even just reading this and thinking about the difference between playing to win and playing NOT to lose is going to make huge waves in your life. Just you watch.