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It was at a parents’ evening a few years ago when it became clear to me why our daughter has a fantastic knack of achieving.

Her teacher was impressed with her, speaking about her attitude to learning, her participation to classroom discussions, and her willingness to support her peers. As you can imagine, both Mel and I felt extremely proud!

As I sat listening, taking in what was being shared, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the teacher’s passion and commitment and the classroom displays that were colourful, descriptive and informative. “What a great teacher and learning environment,” I thought to myself, “it’s no surprise that she’s doing so well.”

But then another thought came to mind. “She hasn’t always been in well laid out classrooms,” and though there’d been some good ones, “she hasn’t always had enthusiastic teachers.” Yet, despite these being true, she’s managed to consistently do well over the years.

So, I asked her teacher the question: “What do you think sets Portia up for achieving as she does?” And with this, her teacher leaned forward with a colourful smile and said, “She always gives things a go, she always tries her best, and she always responds well to feedback.”

And that was it. In that moment, I was taught a valuable lesson that has stuck with me ever since. One that I’ve shared with people over and over again and that I want to share with you now.

What I learnt that afternoon has changed the way I approach everything. My relationships, my work, my health, my finances, my faith. My entire life! Let me share them with you:

#1. Don’t be afraid to show up and give things a go

To get better at anything in life you’ll need to show up, participate, and give things a go. Trying is the most common trait amongst winners. And though showing up can be scary, it’s the only way to grow, be better, do better, and see better results.

Winners know this. Winners see the power in acknowledging and working with fear rather than allowing him to keep them stuck. Instead of trying to fight against fear, winners embrace him and use him to their advantage.

And this is what separates the most successful people from others, their ability to recognise their fears, show up anyway, and be willing to fail. And they do this because they know that giving things a go opens the door to invaluable lessons that’ll help them to succeed.

So, embrace fear. Show up and try anyway. Fail. Take the lessons. Grow. Do better next time. Repeat.

#2. Work hard and give your best

To be better today than you were yesterday, and tomorrow than you are today, you’ll need to be willing to work hard and give your best. Giving your best takes hard work, effort and commitment, but true winners don’t shy away from what is hard.

Hard work and success go hand in hand. One does not happen without the other. Great art is the result of hard work. Great marriages are the result of hard work. Great businesses are the result of hard work.

Winners understand that to be successful they’ll need to work hard and so discipline themselves to persevere despite the daily challenges of life.

Working hard and giving your best is being willing to turn up everyday with an attitude that says, “No matter how I feel, I’m going all in!”

#3. Invite feedback and use it to grow

Being willing to invite feedback from others is important if you want to reach your potential. Asking people around you — family, friends, colleagues — for feedback will help you to become more self-aware, as they’ll spot things that you can’t see.

Your ability to ask for feedback is also an indicator of humility, as by asking others to point out where you could be making improvements, you’re demonstrating that you’ve still got some learning to do.

Although it can easily be overlooked, receiving feedback can help with your personal growth if you’re willing to ask for it.

I believe the reason why our daughter (and others like her) is capable of doing so well, so consistently, is because she applies these three principles to everything she does. You and I can learn to do the same.

Questions to consider

What lessons have you learnt about how to win? What would you add to the list? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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