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Tim Grover on Winning

Tim Grover on Winning

WINNING has its own language and its own code. And motivational talk isn’t part of it.

Sports trainer and mindset expert to Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and others, Tim Grover (with Shari Wenk) provides a look at what it takes to perform at the highest levels in any field in Winning: The Unforgiving Race to Greatness.

Grover says winning is uncivilized, hard, nasty, unpolished, dirty, rough, unforgiving, unapologetic, uninhibited, and everything. Results are all that matter. “Winning will cost you everything, and reward you with more.” For many of us, the problem is that winning is “trapped under a lifetime of fear and worry and doubt.”

There are thirteen—equally important—characteristics of winning presented very candidly by Grover. The Winning Thirteen:

WINNING Makes You Different, and Different Scares People

Ask questions because if you do what everyone else is doing, you will end up like everyone else. “When you know what to think, you’re ready to compete. When you know how to think, you’re ready to win. Your education teaches you what to think. Life experience teaches you how to think.”

I have one nonnegotiable: Performance. Everything contributing to that is open to discussion, as long as we arrive at the same end result. The one thing we’re not going to negotiate is anything that adversely impacts your performance.

WINNING Wages War on the Battlefield in Your Mind

All day, every day, your mental battlefield is attacked by blasts of adrenaline and anger and fear and anxiety, and other explosives too. Stress. Insecurity. Doubt. Envy. Winners can detect those bombs and defuse them before they can do any damage. Losers brace for impact and wonder how to clean up the mess.

You need routines if you are going to win these battles and manage the distractions. The routines allow you to execute without rethinking. For Jordan, his routines allowed him the “mental freedom and clarity to focus on one thing: the complexity of the game, and manage every variable that stood between himself and a win.”

WINNING Is the Ultimate Gamble on Yourself

For leaders, like athletes, it’s not just the traits but how they are put together, and each person is unique. Winning is about having the confidence to gamble on yourself.

Confidence is feeling as low as you’ve ever felt in your life, and knowing you’ll recover stronger than you were before. It’s hearing others tell you everything is fine, you’re perfect just the way you are … and knowing they’re wrong and you still have work to do.

WINNING Isn’t Heartless, But You Will Use Your Heart Less

Your mind is stronger than feelings. “You have to know when to turn your heart off, and your mind on.”

You want energy. Focus. Intensity. You want to be alert and aggressive and strong. None of those are emotions, they are a state of mental power. You want your mind locked in, so you don’t even feel the nerves and the pressure that come with competition.

Your mind can let go of the past, forgive grudges, and look to the future. Feelings hold on to every last bit of trash, forever.

WINNING Belongs to Them, And It’s Your Job to Take It

Winning begins with you. “Should I go to the gym? Should I skip this donut? Can I get out of the house on time? Will I get my work done today?”

Winning has no loyalty to you. No matter how long you’ve battled to become a winner, it takes one split second to become a loser. I know that’s a hard reality for a lot of people. They work so hard to get somewhere, and in an instant, it’s gone. They gave it up. Or more likely … someone took it.

WINNING Wants All of You; There Is No Balance

Focus and commitment. That means mastering the art of “NO.” If you give everything in your life equal weight, you are out of the race.

Every time you say yes, every time you say maybe or not right now when you really want to say no, Winning rolls its eyes and looks for someone else.

WINNING Is Selfish

Winners don’t care what you think, they just need results. Selfishness is about separating yourself from the average—“to move from where you are to where you want to be.” But Grover notes, “separation doesn’t mean you cut all ties and refuse to cooperate. Collaboration and cooperation are essential in my business, and probably in yours too.”

Selfishness means investing in yourself. Forget secret codes. “Invest in your education and your skills. There are no shortcuts, there’s no fast track.”

WINNING Takes You Through Hell. And If You Quit, That’s Where You’ll Stay

Winning is not a permanent destination—once on top, always on top. “It’s a never-ending cycle, not a one-way trip. You want to win? Start at the bottom and work your way up. Congrats, you won. You want to feel that way again? Go back to the bottom and work your way up.” Over and over.

Resilience isn’t built in your comfort zone; it’s built in hell. And every time you go back you’re a little harder, rougher, less emotional, more scarred.

You rebuild yourself into something stronger. Not the same as you were. Stronger than before.

WINNING Is a Test with No Correct Answers

Resilience is a daily issue. We all have insecurity and a fear of failure. But Winners don’t let it hold them back. “Don’t allow your fear to escalate into uncontrollable doubt.”

Fear shows up on its own. Doubt has to be invited. Fear heightens your awareness; it makes you alert. Doubt paralyzes your thinking.

[Resilience] is the ability to see everything that can go wrong, and still get control of what can go right.

WINNING Knows All Your Secrets

You aren’t alone. There are voices inside your head—especially at night when there is less to distract you.

Your anxiety about the unknown future, the lies, the guilt, the feelings of inadequacy and failure, the fear of letting others down ... most people are terrified by those late-night visits; they don’t want to deal with that kind of mental isolation.

[Winners know] a huge part of their success was the ability to be mentally alone.

WINNING Never Lies

You can’t fake winning. “Winning knows the truth. And it needs you to admit it. Because even if you can fool absolutely everyone else … you still know the truth.”

If you can’t summon the desire and energy to make I, someone else will.

Too many options = too many excuses, too many ways to get stuck.

Tweaking just means: Let me see how I can cheat a little here or there, make it easier, give myself an out. I already had the right answer, but let me see how I can screw things up.

WINNING Is Not a Marathon, It’s a Sprint with No Finish Line

Every step is important no matter the distance. You keep going until it gets done. But…

When you get to the finish, you should already see the next starting gate in front of you.

Kobe’s secret weapon: He had the unfaltering ability to focus on what he was doing, for as long as he needed to, until he got the result he wanted.

WINNING Is Everything

You have to put in the work now. Our opportunity to win is now. Each and every day, but time is limited.

The biggest mistake we make in life is thinking we have time.

Winners have one fear, and it isn’t about losing. They can come back from a loss, they can find another way to win. They fear not having enough time. Not enough days, weeks, months, and years to complete their life’s work. Not having everything in place. Not accomplishing everything they dreamed of. Not finishing.

Grover backs up each point with insights from his clients—especially Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Winning defines the road less taken.

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