Creating Winnable Games

by Brandon Steiner July 17, 2013 0 Comments

The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team we fight for that inch. On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when add up all those inches, that's gonna make the difference between winning and losing!

- Coach Tony D'amato

I've asked: What's winning for you?

The next step is to create winnable games.

Remember that speech from Any Given Sunday (excerpt above)? Al Pacino doesn't tell his team: "Go out there and outscore the other team!"

What he says is: "Go out there and take one step at a time. Inch by inch. But 'claw' for that inch."

Essentially, he's telling them to turn the whole game into a series of smaller, winnable games.

And it's the same when it comes to everything else we do.

You're probably seasoned at implementing this strategy when it comes to certain parts of your life. When you get a huge assignment at work, you instinctively break it down into "doable" chunks. When you move from one house to another, you don't try to cram all your belongings into one giant chest; you pack things into multiple, smaller boxes. Etc. etc.

But those cases are more ingrained, they come more innately.

For some reason, in other areas of our lives, we forget about this strategy.

Maybe we tend to do this when we're dealing with very "personal" goals that might affect how we feel about ourselves. Some kind of strategy of avoidance; we're so scared of failing, that we don't really try.

Say, for you, winning means losing 40 pounds.

Well, dropping that much weight, in its own right, is probably not a winnable game.

But what about reducing your daily carbohydrate intake by half per day?

What about working out at least twice a week?

What about losing four or five pounds? Then, once you've lost those, going for another four or five?

Those are winnable games, right?

And if you keep winning them, guess what? Before you know it, you're getting close to 40 pounds in total.

Or let's say you're gunning for a promotion at work.

Maybe you're not yet qualified for - or your boss is not yet ready to give you - your dream job.

Try to think of smaller, tangible ways you can help your company more from your current position.

Start acing those tasks, start fulfilling those responsibilities and - you guessed it - before you know it your manager will be discussing a new position with you.

There's no getting around it. You gotta have goals. For every area of your life.

But if they're not reachable - or "winnable" - goals, you might as well not have them at all. Because you're only setting yourself up for failure.

So - what are some larger, long-term goals you've had your eye on?

Can you break them down into winnable games?

Brandon Steiner
Brandon Steiner


Brandon Steiner is the founder and chairman of Steiner Sports Marketing and Memorabilia, the largest company of its kind in America. Considered a sports marketing guru, Brandon is a permanent fixture in the media as a regular on ESPN NY Radio 98.7 FM and as host of "The Hook-Up with Brandon Steiner" on YES Network. He has appeared frequently on CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, ESPN, and in newspapers including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The author of The Business Playbook: Leadership Lessons from the World of Sports and You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire, Brandon lives in Scarsdale, New York, with his wife, Mara and children Crosby and Nicole.

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