Everyone has a desire to win, but do you have the will to prepare to win?

My list of hollow platitudes includes the idea that You Can Do Anything You Really Want to Do. The truth is you can’t. Chalk it up to God’s grand plan for making the whole world work because of interdependence, but the fact is each of us has more things that we cannot do well than we can. That’s why society has doctors and plumbers and electricians and mechanics and every other Craigslist specialist. Leadership also falls into that category because not everyone is a leader. Leader’s need followers. Those that are leaders usually lead rather well. Those that don’t know how to lead but lead anyway, usually get into trouble.

Let’s look for a moment at the sport of College Basketball. If you play with passion, you are also more likely to play with precision, because the more your players have invested in effort and energy in trying to win a game, the more effort and energy come out in a game. But I wince every time I hear an announcer say in the last seconds of a close game, “Now we’ll see which team wants it the most.”

Somebody will win, somebody will lose, but don’t ever tell me the difference every time is that the winner wanted to win more than the loser did. I remember a game Duke versus Butler in the 2010 NCAA men’s basketball championship. I can remember that there was a lot of hype behind Butler to beat the big name school Duke. For some reason, it seems that everyone hates Duke. I don’t know why, Duke wins a lot of games, I love Duke just for that reason. Oh and there is the coach. If you are a leader, do you lead with passion? In the last minutes of the game there was an opportunity for Butler to win. They missed both of the last 2 shots. Now you cannot tell me that the reason Duke won was because the kids on Duke wanted it more. I bet the kids on Butler actually wanted it more, but Duke won anyway.

A great Basketball Coach once said that he would rather look for the mistakes and attack the mistakes than to look at the highlight reels.

This same coach said “Wanting alone doesn’t get anything done. Doing does.” The difference between knowing what you should do and repeatedly trying to do it is the same as is point out in another phrase from this coach who said, “Having the will to win is not enough. Everyone has that. What matters is having the will to prepare to win.”

Using this in our life situations is and could be a little difficult if you don’t have a plan for your life. Planning for a catastrophe is as important as planning for your death. Do you realize that everyone is going to die. It is in God’s plan so that means you have to plan. Although you don’t know when or where, it will inevitably happen. What happens if you get in a serious car accident and haven’t prepared to win? What happens if you or a family member gets cancer and you have to spend a lot of time in the hospital or travelling back and forth from one. What have you done to prepare to win?

I will tell you how my wife and I prepared to win. Many years ago, I retired from the Army and got into the civilian federal service. Working as a civilian in the Department of Defense (DOD). In this service, you get 4 hours of vacation every pay period, so about 12 days a year. After a couple years, you could get to the max rollover of 360 hours. I have done that and have kept my balance at 360 for several years and only used the ‘use or lose’ portion. I knew at some point I would get sick beyond having the ability to work. When I was in Germany, I had trouble with my knee after a mountain biking accident. I had to stay off of my leg for 4 weeks. I had saved the vacation time and carried enough to cover that time to continue getting paid as normal.

Most recently, my wife contracted Cancer. Along with not knowing the future, we were stunned. The biggest thing though was that we didn’t have to worry about was vacation time and the ability for me to be with her during her toughest moments. I had enough vacation time to cover everything.

The other “having the will to prepare to win” moment that we had was that of have the right health insurance. Now you know there has been a lot of controversy over health insurance lately. Do you have enough or the right insurance? I will tell you that I took the advice of my Father In Law who told me that when I get into the Federal Service and they offer you insurance, take it and go with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I did that and you know I am so thankful for that bit of advice because along with BCBS I had my military retirement medical through Tricare and through more than half a million dollars of requested money from the doctors and over $11,000 in co-pays, I have not paid one red cent to anyone. Having the will to prepare to win gave me the ability to take care of my wife during this critical time.

I didn’t fully prepare though. I listen to a lot of Dave Ramsey and he says that you have to have an Emergency fund of $1000 for those “just in case” times. We didn’t have this emergency fund set up so we were not quite prepared win. Carol had to spend a lot of time in the hospital creating opportunities for me to stay in a hotel while she was there. We didn’t have the emergency fund and didn’t look for that in our preparing phase. We didn’t have the money to live in that environment. We did have an emergency fund drive though. We started a t-shirt campaign that gave us some monies. That helped cover the hotel bills.

I ask you this question, What happens if you get in a serious car accident and haven’t prepared to win? Will you be at a loss of money because you can’t work? Will you be at a loss of money because you didn’t prepare? Will you still receive a paycheck because you have enough vacation time? Having the will to win is not enough. Everyone has that.

In sporting events, it is inevitable that you will lose. No one in the sporting industry wants to lose but they do. When they lose, it is the coach’s responsibility to prepare the team to lose just as he has prepared the team for winning. In life, you don’t want to lose either, but you better prepare to lose and have a plan to battle back to the winning side. When you do lose, you lose a bit of your confidence. You lose your edge.

Lastly Tony La Russa, a great Baseball Coach once told his team after winning game six prior to going to 7th game of the World Series, “The first job that we have today is putting yesterday aside to be remembered later.” Great advice. Everyone has the desire to win, but not everyone wins every game. St. Louis went on to lose that 7th game. Do you have the will to prepare to win or do you just let life roll?


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