One of my favorite TV lines was a moment when the character, Norm, from the show Cheers, quipped: “It’s a dog-eat-dog world and I’m wearing milk bone underwear”. We all know that feeling. Life can be hard. So we look at those who seem to be getting it right and wonder what the winning characteristics are they possess. It’s likely they are looking right back at us the same way. We want to know the secret so much that an entire industry is dedicated to selling us the answers.
What is the truth? The same qualities that bred success centuries ago are the same ones that breed success today. This wisdom never changes. Yet, we all try to cut corners to get us there quicker or we get distracted, and the next thing we know…milk-bone underwear. Norm’s problems weren’t because the world was out to get him. He was a champion where he applied his passion and effort—beer drinking. If we want different outcomes, we have to put the work in using the traits that bring victory.
So what are these winning characteristics? Let’s take a closer look.
Hard Work and Perseverance
There is no substitute for hard work. Every successful athlete, artist or business person will tell you they work as hard or harder than anyone else. We have to put in the time. For instance, I wanted to be a rock star as a young man. I’m a good drummer. Aside from the rare shooting star, do you know how musicians “make it?” Killing themselves for little money every night honing their craft. I chose another line of work eventually. I like to eat. But that’s why I’m not a rock star. Hard work and perseverance.
Ego can be a destructive thing. I personally am constantly at battle with my own. I’m proud of the things I’m good at and I sometimes let myself revel in it. Each time I do that—crash and burn. I’m a man of faith, so I’ve learned to take this as God teaching me gracious humility. I’ve come a long way. Good things happen to good people. Gracious humility leads that path.
Rock Solid Integrity
When we cheat the system, we’re going to get caught. It might be right away or it could take decades. Sooner or later, we’re going down. Take Bernie Madoff, for example. He was living really well for a long time. Admired by all in his class. Now he’s in prison. That’s an extreme case but a valuable lesson to us all.
Enthusiasm and Passion
Nothing kills momentum and creativity faster than a lackluster spirit. A sour attitude is deadly to just about anything it touches. If we are fortunate enough to have a passion for what we do, it’s a great thing. Many people are not that lucky. So where do we find the energy and enthusiasm to do our work well? We find it in the things that really matter. The smiles and laughter of our children. The support and gratitude of our loved ones for the things we do. Enthusiasm is a powerful tool. It will always reward in increased production, positive leadership, and the building of the desired reputation that opens doors.
Being a dad automatically makes us a leader.Being a dad automatically makes us a leader. It’s a sacred responsibility. Whenever I find myself in a questionable position, I always hold up my family to keep me accountable. What would they say about this? How would it affect them? Accountable leadership is a must in a winning life. When we do screw up, we have to own it fully. Those are the moments great character is built. Winning leaders are born from this trait.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think makes a winner?”