I’m an avid fan of competition and the art of winning. That being said, I watch all sorts of different sports to study elite athletes competing at the highest level.  I look for commonalities between winners in various sports and apply them to myself and my work.  This week I found myself watching the Australian Open.  I don’t even want discuss the heartbreak during the women’s tournament when the sure-victor Serena Williams was upset by… hold on let me google her name, Angelique Kerber.  The beauty of competition is that on any given day, anyone can beat anyone.

That’s the beauty of life as well.  You can be an underdog, the odds can be so stacked against you that no one gives you a chance, and you can come out victorious. 

After the match, Serena said, “Everyone expects me to win every time, I’m not a robot.”  As a champion, she understands everyone is beatable, which drives future legends like Serena to continue to work on improving their craft, day in and day out to stay on top.

However, the true testament of winner came in the men’s final when Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray.  You probably would assume That Djokovic’s 6th Australian open victory would make him the spotlight of this blog, and while his feat is incredible, it’s Murray’s post-match speech that exemplified what a winner is.

That’s right, the loser of the match, demonstrated what a true winner is.

First, the backstory of what Murray was going through.  Watching the finals, it would appear that he got dominated in straight sets.  Too often, people judge us by what they see not by what we’ve overcome to get there.  People saw Murray lose, but didn’t look at the fact that he made it to the championships of a tournament he almost didn’t enter.  While he was working his way to the championships, his father-in-law had collapsed and was hospitalized.  Meanwhile, his wife was pregnant and preparing to go in Labor any day now.  Needless to say, he had a lot going on outside of the sport.

But he never complained. He worked, he fought, he made it to the championship.  Though he came up short, he showed what a true winner is in his post-match remarks.

Winners Make No Excuses

Not once did Murray blame his personal life for the loss.  In a world of pointing fingers and passing the blame, Murray made no excuses.  Winners learn to focus on the task at hand, regardless of what’s going on in the background. He not only made no excuses, he congratulated Djokovic on his 6th victory and on his outstanding year.  Winner’s study their competition, but can humbly congratulate their competition when they get bested in a contest because they know that one loss doesn’t make them a permanent loser.

Winners show Gratitude

After congratulating Djokovic, Murray immediately turned to thank his team.  He thanked his staff, his trainers, the heads of the tournaments and others.  Still, he not once made any mention of himself.  Winners know that no one gets to the top alone.  Showing gratitude to those who help you is vital to lasting success. True winners have the humility to acknowledge others because they don’t live with the insecurity of needing the masses to believe they reached the top alone.  Winners share the spoils, even when they come up short.

Winners give others the Spotlight

Andy’s conclusion was what truly showed solidified him as a winner.  Though he reached the finals in a Grand Slam, though he battled insurmountable odds off the court, he identified the true winner – his wife.  His wife, who is back home in England about to give birth and therefore couldn’t travel, he said “is a legend.”  Winners recognize that there are far more important things in life than the field of competition and true champions are often those who get no credit.

In life, you will have wins and you will have losses.  However, your mentality determines if you are a winner or loser.  Remember, winning reveals class and losing reveals character.

Be a winner in all you do.

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