word win and chessmen on the brown wooden background

Key to Success…Ready, Aim, Fire!


In response to a question posed, I recently heard a leader define winning as the key ingredient to high performance and success in business and in life. “Winning is everything…the only thing,” he proudly stated. The response made me cringe. While I love to compete and bring a strong desire to win, I never considered winning as the ingredient. Winning is an outcome.

If you or your organization defines winning as the means by which you will succeed, you risk becoming the individual or organization that pursues winning at any cost. The ends will justify the means.

  • The athlete who defines winning as the key ingredient to success may experiment with performance enhancing drugs to make it to the next level.
  • The student who defines winning as the key ingredient to success may cheat on the exam to get into the ideal school.
  • The business leader who defines winning as the key ingredient to success may lie, cheat, or steal to get the next deal.

Recognize winning as a worthwhile goal and outcome, not as the means to achieve an outcome. Instead, pursue honorable means to achieve success. In response to the question originally posed, I suggest a simple colloquial expression as a key ingredient to consider in your pursuit of high performance and success – Ready, Aim, Fire!

  1. Ready – Practice your craft. Build your expertise. Prepare to make it happen. As is the case with any athletic activity, balance is a critical component of preparedness.
  2. Aim – Set a target. Define a goal. Identify what you are shooting for. Keep your eye on the target and sustain proper focus in pursuit of your goal.
  3. Fire – Take initiative. Follow through. Identify and execute the steps required to achieve your goal.

There is no substitution for hard work, focus, and initiative in pursuit of victory and success. If you prepare to be exceptional at your craft, identify a target goal, and take initiative to achieve that goal, you greatly increase your odds of success. And, regardless of the outcome, if you do these things in an honorable manner that does not sacrifice your integrity, you will win. This simply requires all of us to embrace a new and more powerful definition of victory. Stay tuned and…CEEK a Better Way!