End On A Win

My son and I have played a lot of tennis.  At this time, he’s moved on to climbing, so tennis has taken a significant back seat.  

Yet, I remember teaching him a concept that I hope has had a strong effect on his mindset toward sports and life in general. It’s a simple concept that many of you likely know and live.

End on a win.

Every time we played, we made sure we both got to have a “winning shot” – usually, that meant playing it out for the shot; but if time was tight, we’d at least set it up.    Come to think of it, we actually started this in baseball.  Whenever we played catch, we made sure that each of us ended with a strong throw and strong catch.  When he was 6 years old, that would often take some time! But it was worth it. 

The goal was always to end on a win. To end with a mental feeling of victory – to come in next time, knowing that last time was a success.   

Let’s take it to business. Have you ever heard of the customer service concept that you are only as good as your last experience?

You have your favorite restaurant. You’ve been there many times experiencing great service, clean atmosphere, and hot food.  Except this last time, the food wasn’t hot. What do you remember? The last time. Even with all the equity built up over the years, that last experience puts a serious damper on things. And might influence where you go next time. Might, and that’s enough to get serious about ending on a win, every time.

Here are a few easy-to-do, yet easy-to-miss ways to end on a win:

  • Leave them smiling or, minimally, leave them seeing you smile

  • Use “Thank you” and “You’re welcome”

  • Walk away only after they do (that way they don’t see you “turn your back on them”)

  • Hang up the phone…after the other person does (you don’t want them hearing you “click” off)

Ultimately, I think Mitchell got it because he’d often be the one stopping us from leaving the court, saying, “Wait, Dad!  We need to end on a win.”  And by then it was usually me that needed the win!