You Must Be Present To Win

As they say, “You must be present to win.” This goes for any county fair raffle drive, conversation with someone important, or any learning opportunity.

You need to be there.

And not just physically, but mentally too. Showing up to life is the hardest part. It’s incredibly easy to get locked down with struggles, routines, and distractions and completely miss something incredible that is placed right before you.

Why You Need More “What If” Moments

You are smart. How do I know this? For starters, you are reading this article. That shows a certain level of curiosity.

An awareness that something should or could change. That’s great!

Let’s take that same curiosity and spin it into a short two-word phrase, “What if?”

What if “you were present to win” in these circumstances?:

  • You went to your best customer and delivered their next order instead of shipping it? Show them that they are important. Personal relationships matter. Nobody does business with enemies.
  • Took a class. I’ll bet there are things you don’t know. Yet. That’s the point. It doesn’t matter what it is about, what matters is that you sate your thirst for knowledge about it.
  • You tried something where you know there will be an almost certain chance of failure. Failure isn’t forever. It’s data. What did you learn? Get better.
  • Start a new routine. Wake up a half-hour earlier. Maybe go for a walk during your lunch break. Read a book instead of watching tv.
  • Trained someone to do your job. Want career advancement? Maybe the reason why you are stuck where you are in your career is that you are really good at what you do. If you want to move up, train your replacement. Here’s a great article on this.

Where Creativity Lives

Think for a minute about where innovation and creativity happen. Where is that magic?

From my personal experience, I can tell you that it happens during a shared meal with different colleagues. Talking about ideas. Suggesting potential solutions to problems.

This happens at the bar of the hotel during a trade show. Or after I teach a class and someone comes up to me with a unique challenge or perspective.

Creativity happens when we can freely admit that we don’t know something and we go looking for answers. “What will happen if I do this?’

You have to be willing to experiment. To take the first step. “You must be present to win.” That’s not going to happen if you are simply shoving orders out the door like a fast-food restaurant.

All Aspiration is Dissatisfaction

Do you have the burning desire to get better at something? I know I do.

But the only way I’m going to improve is to knuckle down and do the work. For my new reality to take place, I have to be present in the creation, ideation, and daily grind of seeing it through.

Nobody cares as much for my successful future as I do.

The launchpad for that future that I seek is rooted in the past experiences, but successful and unsuccessful, in my life. I’m not afraid to try new things. Even if that attempt crashes and burns, I’m learning from that to help create the next new thing.

But I have to show up to make that happen. “You must be present to win” is absolutely, 100% true.

It Is Never Big Chunks

Improvement is cumulative. Tiny.

Small wins every day will add up.

Do you want to create better habits for yourself? Begin with trying to do something once. For five or ten minutes.

How many days in a row can you spend five or ten minutes on that new thing? Make a game out of it. Don’t break your streak! Chart it out on a calendar with a big red X for every day that you successfully do the new thing.

When that gets easy, make it fifteen or twenty minutes.

Showing up is the hardest part of this process. “You must be present to win.”

But let’s say that something happened and you broke that streak? What jumped in the way? Maybe you weren’t “up for it”, or had a bigger priority task that needed attention, or there was some other reason.

It is ok. Not the end of the world.

Start a new streak.

“You must be present to win.”


“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s what it is called the present.” – Bill Keane

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go, only where you start.” – Nido Qubein

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” – Eckhart Tolle


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Marshall