The Winner's Framework: Turn the Theory of Success into Reality

Tom Panaggio

July 18, 2018

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Everyone says, "Think like a winner. With a positive attitude, you can accomplish anything," but really, it's acting like a winner that makes you one. The popular belief that success requires only a positive attitude does a disservice to those who are pouring their time, energy, and money into building their dream.

Success arises out of a holistic framework containing three necessary components that form a foundation for any and all successful pursuits: having a winner's mindset, seeing yourself winning through visualization, and preparation. Combined, these components provide a framework that will turn the theory of success into reality.

Adopt a Winner's Mindset

The foundation of the Winner's Framework is the winner's mindset: "I want to win." There is no more positive affirmation than the desire to win. As legendary pro-football coach Vince Lombardi put it, "Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is." Having an "I want to win" attitude is absolutely necessary when facing any challenge, including risk.

Traditionally, risk management promotes the idea that risk should be minimized. However, success is achieved by taking the opposite position�"embracing risk and having the will to win.

Unbelievable as it seems, not everyone plays to win. In fact, more people would rather not lose than win. This is opposite of having a positive attitude, and it is known as loss aversion. If your objective is to not lose, then you do not have a winner's mindset. The goal must be to win. Thinking like a winner is to believe that you can and will win and to act accordingly.

See Yourself Winning

One of the most powerful tools someone can use to be successful is visualization. Visualization helps you create a mental image of what you want to happen or what you want to feel. You see the entire act from the visual, kinesthetic, and auditory viewpoint of whatever activity you are performing, whether it is giving a presentation, going into a job interview, or reaching a sales goal. It's a mental rehearsal that allows you to build your confidence by practicing. Many of the world's greatest athletes, including Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, and Wayne Gretzky, credit visualization exercises as a part of their success. I can also vouch for visualization because I have used it to build my confidence in auto racing. My business partner often comments that throughout his life he visualized himself as a successful businessman, and he partially credits this for the success he has achieved.

Thinking like a winner means picturing yourself winning, which gives you the confidence to succeed. If you plan to pursue a professional goal or start your own business, then visualize your business concept in action. Close your eyes and visualize every detail and process: the layout of your place of business, the way you interact with your employees, and how customers interact with your staff. Consider all possibilities before you open your eyes and leap.

Prepare to Take a Leap of Faith

A key part of planning is preparation, that is, being ready to move forward when it is time to initiate your plan. Earlier I mentioned that I used visualization when I race cars, however no matter how much mental practice I went through, it wouldn't have been of any value if the car wasn't properly prepared for the race. No matter how much I saw myself winning a race, if my plan didn't include properly preparing the car, if the wheel lug nuts were not torqued correctly, or if we forgot to put gas into the fuel cell, all the confidence in the world would not have compensated for not taking time to prepare for the competition.

Preparing a car for a race takes days of hard work and a definitive action plan. The same is true for pursuing a professional goal or launching a new business, except the time to prepare might be months or even years. You need to write a definitive plan of action that is both clear and simple, because "shooting from the hip," though interesting, is a recipe for failure. Furthermore, not being prepared to implement your plan is irresponsible.

Write a Simple Plan

A successful professional does not wing it: A professional who wants to win has an attack plan�"a strategy that puts her into a position to succeed. If you don't know where you are going, then how will you know when you get there? Few things in the business world have a positive result without a general plan. A plan helps to keep you on track, and it provides a road map so everyone knows what the goals are and how well you are progressing.

Those who believe that success can be attained through their guile or instincts are playing a fool's game. Even the concept of embracing risk does not mean being unprepared and shooting from the hip. Great accomplishments do not happen by chance or through the result of random activities. They happen because there was a plan and all parties committed to its execution. In other words, they were prepared.

The only requirements of a good business plan are that it is clear in its direction and it has simple objectives.

There is one last step for your plan to be truly successful you must execute the plan. Everything is theory until you take the first actual step and implement your plan. But if you truly have a Winner's Mindset, have visualized every step and prepared yourself for victory then execution will come naturally. Next I will outline for you the critical 4 steps necessary for building a success story, which are the essence of the Winner's Framework.

Tom Panaggio has enjoyed a 30-year entrepreneurial career as co-founder of two successful, direct marketing companies�"Direct Mail Express and Response Mail Express. He is the author of The Risk Advantage: Embracing the Entrepreneur's Unexpected Edge.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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