Why not losing is not the same as winning.

The alarm clock goes off, the professional athlete jumps out of bed, walks into the bathroom, looks in the mirror, and starts the day with this affirmation: “Today I will try not to lose.”

Huh? Who does that? Certainly not top achievers. People who succeed know that setting high goals elevates their perspective and helps them reach a personal best. It motivates them to push harder and go farther than the day before.

I suspect we all know this at some level.  Yet in business, I often see people who begin their day by assuming a self-defeating posture.  Rather than take a risk ­— consider a new solution, explore new technology, or seek input from different people — they simply try to not lose. Maybe it feels easier than the disappointment of a spectacular and public failure. Maybe it just feels easier – full stop.

Have you heard the expression, “only the mediocre are always at their best”? It’s attributed to a variety of people, but it really rings true for those who obsess about failure instead of trying to win. There’s no room for that in the world of live brand experiences. I’ve worked with many event planners in my day, and the difference between the good ones and the great ones is a willingness to break something that may not need fixing. Maintaining respect for tradition can be admirable but using it as a security blanket simply smothers innovation.

Complacency is never a good long-term strategy. When you wake up to win, even if you fall short of your goal, you’ll probably finish better than you started. That’s an important wake-up call we can all use.