The statement seems contradictory at first glance. But thinking on it more, it poses a question; which is more important winning or being the best? The difference is subtle, but important.
Understanding the difference is most easily seen when applied to sports. And specifically, individual sports like golf. To be the best at golf, is to be ranked number 1 in the world. To achieve the ranking of number one, your performances over a two year period are measured. Winning an event will not be enough to gain the number one spot, as others win too. It is about consistent results, not just a lucky day.
The other interesting fact on how the rankings work is that you don’t actually need ever win an event to reach the number one ranking. That sounds strange. Why would you be the number one at something, but never win? And here is where you see the difference.
To be the best, doesn’t mean you need to win. And to win, doesn’t mean you are the best.
Okay, but we all like to win. We all like to say on that day we were the last standing.
But if we become all about winning, we start to focus just on ourselves and not others. We are happy to win, as a result of someone else failing. Not because we were better. It is why we sometimes see a winning culture turn toxic. It becomes about winning at all costs.
A healthier way to look at winning is to still strive to win and want to do it when everyone else is having their best day. You won, not because they failed, but because you were the best.
Being the best is about striving to be better. Being the best is harder than just winning. Being the best is about always bringing you’re A game. It is also about wanting others to bring their A game and even helping them to be better too. As this will ultimately help you be better too.
Together we all rise.
In business and life, it is the same; though sometimes not as obvious.
We all see the winners when they have their 15 seconds of fame.
But those amongst us who are more focussed on being the best are not as easy to see as they don’t need the spot light.
They are the ones who are genuinely invested in your success.
They are the ones that will always show up and give it their all.
They are the ones who learn from their mistakes, and step back up to the plate.
They are the ones that make you better.
So, for me it is more important to focus on being the best at whatever it is I am doing, than needing to win. The wins still come. But whether I win or lose isn’t how I measure my success or failure. Success is simply being better than yesterday.