So much of we do at Altius is to improve performance with an eye toward increasing self-esteem, enjoyment of the pursuit of excellence, and enhanced self-knowledge. But, at the same time, we’d like one of the by-products of that work to be winning. Winning is a validation of the hard work logged, and indicator that we’re on the right track, often a vindication on many fronts, and finally, a great deal of fun. Often, when there is a prodigiously successful athlete, we call that person a “natural,” and we think that s/he wins often because of those innate qualities. But, it’s also useful to think of winning as almost a separate skill from all the others. It takes a great deal to get there, but it takes another set of skills to bring it across the line. I decided to dedicate a number of pieces to the topic of winners in the hopes that we could distill what it is that the seeming naturals have that we could learn too. Winning is not a magic, innate quality that winners have and losers don’t. The reason why so many post-victory interviews begin with the question, “So, what was going through your mind when….” is because if we know what a winner thinks in crucial moments, we could learn to think that way too. In the next few posts, I will feature insights from winners as they reflect on some of their more momentous victories so that we can distill the set of skills that separates doing the thing from winning the thing. Before we hear from them, I will say that, without doubt, winning requires at a minimum the kind of skills we’ve been writing about all along in Floating & Stinging: 1) hard work; 2) the ability to regulate the emotions during moments of high pressure; 3) self-belief; and finally 4) joy: the love of being in that moment doing that thing. But don’t take it from me, let’s hear what the winners have to say.