Sydney Swans supporters at the 2006 AFL Grand ...

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On any given weekend, elite professional sporting teams will clash, with eager expectations from both sets of fans.

You can assume that both teams will be well coached, disciplined and possess a reasonably even spread of skill and athleticism.

As such, and as is the case in almost all big sporting contests, the game won’t be won with the body, but with the mind.

Mental strength is a huge factor in sports and is also applicable to success in business, parenting, church life or any other aspect of life.

I developed these three C’s of a winning mentality a couple of years ago when leading a large business team.  If you get them right, you will dramatically increase your chances of winning.

Competitiveness.  To quote Vince Lombardi, “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting to win is.”

If you want to be successful in any area of life, you need to really want it, be able to set ambitious goals and do the grunt work to get there.  To the truly competitive person, there’s no obstacle too big, no challenge that’s insurmountable, no pain that they can’t push through.

Sporting history is full of stories of individuals who played with pain and won because they wanted it more than their opponent.  The same is true with businesses and great entrepreneurs.

Do you care enough to be a winner in your chosen field of endeavour?

Confidence.  It was Henry Ford who once said, “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you’re right.”

Winners have a quiet confidence (occasionally bordering on arrogance) that gives them enormous self-belief, enabling them to perform at a high level.  Such confidence comes from disciplined practice that increases skill to an elite level, whilst quieting the voices of doubt in your head that tell you why you shouldn’t be able to win.

Confident teams never think that they’re beaten, but keep persisting in the belief that their best is good enough to prevail in the end.

Is there something that you should be working on to increase your skill level to the point where you have complete confidence in your abilities?

Composure.  When thinking about composure, I have the image of a penalty taker in football.  One of the best examples of this level of composure is from the Socceroos when they were involved in a penalty shoot-out against Uruguay, with the winner to go through to the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

After the Australian goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer made a spectacular save, striker John Aloisi had the opportunity to put the Aussies through.  If that wasn’t enough pressure there were thousands of fans at the game and millions watching on TV, hoping that the Socceroos would win and go through to the World Cup finals for the first time in 32 years.

In addition, at the time, Aloisi was playing in the Spanish top division with many of his opponents.  He was the chief penalty taker for his club side and always aimed for the same place when he took a penalty.  The Uruguayan goalkeeper knew this.  Aloisi knew that the goalkeeper knew this.

Before he stepped up to take his shot, with everything else that was going on, he had to decide whether or not to back his ability and shoot the same way as usual, hoping that he would still be good enough to beat the ‘keeper who would most likely dive that way, or should he go against his normal routine and shoot the other way.

In the end, he had the calmness and composure to slot the ball home as he normally would.  The ‘keeper guessed correctly, but the ball was struck with such precision and power that it still beat him and Australia went through to Germany!

When your moment comes, will you have the composure to take your time, control your emotions, make the right decision and execute with precision?

Do your emotions sometimes take over and negatively impact your ability to help your team be successful?

This weekend, if your team is playing, I won’t say may the best team win, but may the team with the most competitiveness, confidence and composure win.

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