The Winner’s Trap: How Winners Lose Their Edge

Winning can change things—sometimes not for the better.

To get to the top they were working day and night chasing a dream.

They didn’t just do what they needed to do, they over-did. They were relentless, they paid any price. Why? Because they knew they had to. There was no assurance they were good enough to actually break through to the top. They believed they could. They desperately wanted to, so they were willing to pay any price.

They didn’t just work, they sacrificed. 
They denied themselves the normal enjoyments of life so they would not be distracted. They went into a tunnel. They consciously decided to pay the price of greatness. They simplified and streamlined their life so they could maintain a manic focus on getting to the top as fast as possible. They knew that the faster they got there the longer they could enjoy it.

When they win their dream comes true!
They are flooded with emotion. Everyone who previously criticized them now sings their praises. They are so proud. This is all so new for them. Now they are super popular. Everyone wants some of their time.

And finally they get the goodies!
They get the money! They get the awards and recognition. They get the perks. They get the velvet glove treatment. They love the attention and new respect. They like being treated special.

They start to exhale and get comfortable. 
They relax a little. They start to enjoy the benefits. They start buying things they couldn’t afford for themselves and their family. They start going places they couldn’t afford to go before. The simple and focused monastic life they had been living slowly becomes a thing of the past. Once they start winning they start enjoying, they don’t drive themselves as hard.

Soon they can’t even remember living that way. They think they are continuing to work hard and pay the price for continued success, but in reality … they aren’t.

The trap is they become distracted. 
They have so many thoughts in their mind, things to do, people to see and enticing opportunities to deal with that weren’t there before. Their schedule gets cluttered. They have a lot more people in their lives. What they have worked so hard to achieve is suddenly right there and it gets overwhelming. They had spent so much time focusing on getting there that they never spent a minute thinking about what they would do once it happened. They failed to even consider how they would handle the new opportunities. The result? Before they realize it, the distractions get the best of them and soon they have lost their winning edge.

They know it’s gone, but they have no idea how they lost it and have no real assurance that they will ever get it back. Like so many before them, they fell into the Winner’s Trap.

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