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  • Writer's pictureGina Micek

Competitive Mindset and the Art of Winning - Attitude Adjustment

Competative Mindset

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to join a team of curlers comprised of high performance team members. These young curlers normally compete at the national level with their competitive teams.

What an exciting event in which our team ended up winning the First Event Championship of the Saint Paul Curling Club’s Mixed Wind-Up. We played one game on Friday night and three, six-end games and one eight-end game on Saturday. Our last three were back to back!

Competitive mindset

I found myself witnessing what it takes to be in the winning mindset. In my time spent on curling teams of all shapes and sizes during the last eight seasons, my exposure to competitive play was limited to my season as an official. Even then, I did not actually join the teams on the ice or really have a sense for the dynamics of play.

My curling friends on this competitive team were consistently supportive of each other. There weren’t any aggressive glances because someone “messed up.” They may have collectively acknowledged adjustments they wished to make next time, but they kept up-beat. Furthermore, there was constant communication both at the time the shot was being called and while the rock was in play and being swept.

I also noticed that even though I was not at the competitive level generally, I wanted to and often did, play a high caliber game. We collectively pulled each other up. The teammates kept each other’s spirits high even when our shots didn’t make the mark and we joked around with each other. If we were down in one end, the strategy was simply adjusted to win, rather than sink down into the bad shots we had just played. Ultimately, my teammates did not consider losing a possibility.

Applying the techniques to other areas of life

Going into the week, I realized I could apply these techniques to other areas of my life. I realize that I learned the bad habit of a type of pessimism about the outcome of things. This is not the mindset my young teammates went into competition with at all. Instead, they believed almost like it was inevitable, they would win.

I recently decided to switch from hosting to serving at the restaurant where I have worked since October. I do not find this type of work easy or a slam dunk. I am more of a leader than a servant archetype. Nevertheless, I saw many advantages in pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

While I work on my marketing career and do what it takes to develop my applicable skillset, there is something to be said for the challenge of serving others, joyfully and providing an exceptional experience. Plus, the money is better. Part of my financial health plan for 2018 includes paying down some debts, saving money (finally) and putting myself into the realm of possibly moving back into my own apartment sometime this fall.

What it might look like to apply these techniques

First off, it may not go smoothly my first few times serving. Maybe someone will get angry, my timing will be inconsistent, or I’ll have to ask questions I forgot to ask the first time. Rather than get down, I will brush it off, use it to adjust my serving strategy and keep improving.

In my marketing work, I am applying to and interviewing for jobs. I have had a plethora of different feedback so far. When job hunting, you are in a constant adjustment – one thing you forgot to mention in one interview, is front and center on your mind the next one. Additionally, you can’t really let other people’s limited thinking or points of view get you down.

Yes, that hiring manager may not see past his or her nose and feel out my potential. But I won’t take it personally and will keep going. At some point, the right fit for myself and the company I apply to will fall into place. One of my bartender friends said, “it is statistically impossible to be turned down every time.” OK then!

Eight years ago, I didn’t even know how to throw a curling rock without falling over. This last weekend, I won a First Event Championship with elite curlers. My shots were just as important in the lead position as the rest of the team’s.

If I had given-up on my first few attempts at curling, I would never have experienced the fun, joy and thrill of this competition. I would not have met some wonderful new friends. I would not be a first event winner.

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