Words To Losy By
In 1982 I ran the Philadelphia marathon. It was a goal set for many reasons. Both reasons were a bit prideful, but not really all bad. First, none of my teammates on the x-country team had run one and since I was not the top runner, this would be my personal claim to fame! Also, and maybe more important…my dad had run more than 60 marathons, and I felt being qualified as a son required at least one marathon! I only boast about one marathon and that was 29 years ago. One attempt, one victory – and a lot of it had to do with choosing the right language.
Here is the key: When I started the race, I was not thinking “if” I finish; I was thinking “when” I finish. I did not set out to “try”; I set out to “do”. And I didn’t even consciously understand the difference in those words. Yoda did not cross my mind saying, “There is no try, only do!” John Maxwell says, “Losers focus on what they are going through; winners focus on what they are going to”. I believe he is referencing attitudes rather than people. I knew I had to complete one marathon and the best way to get that done without trying over and over (a painful proposition!) was to focus on what I was going to. This was best accomplished with the right language up front. By saying “when” I finish, I eliminated having to “try” again! Once and done. Goal accomplished!
Words mean things. When and do are words of commitment, action and confidence. If and try are words that lack commitment, intensity, and follow through. They leave a back door, a plan B – and when plan A is what you really want, having a plan B may be one too many options.
If says “I might”; when says “I will.” Try is about deciding; do is about executing. So, moving forward, and as much as possible, replace your “if” and “try” with “when” and “do”. When you do, life will pay out big time!