For many years I thought that is how success was measured. If you won the game you were successful. If you lost the game you weren't. Then I read several pieces by John Wooden. He had a different definition of success... He said,
First of all, they eliminated comparison based success. When we base our success in comparison to others we are going to find a lot of disappointment. We are going to find ourselves in a position where the ends justify the means. We will put a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves... pressure to achieve sometimes unrealistic results. We also tend to be apprehensive. We worry about the external factors over which we have no control.
Bill Walsh used to say the scoreboard takes care of itself. You can't control what the other guys are doing. You can't control whether you are undersized or slower than your opponent. You can't control whether their facilities are better than yours. But what you can control is much more vital. You can control your effort, your attitude, and your enthusiasm each day. You can control whether you put everything you have available into preparing to be the best you can be.
John Wooden got it. The first priority of his teams was self-improvement. He did not care about what other people were doing. He focused on the development of his own players. He couldn't control the players that USC recruited. He couldn't control how they ran their practices. What he could control, however, was who he recruited, and how he ran practices at UCLA.
You can't control what your opponents are doing each day. They should be the farthest thing from your mind. You can, however, control what you do each day. You control whether you wake up on time. You control whether you put ten more pounds on the bar. You control whether you take a set off, or you do extra reps. You control whether you allow your athletes to cut corners.
When you focus on your own team you are focusing on what you control. You are able to focus on a process. This is real power. Real power is being able to control what you can control. Winning, or external success is a byproduct of taking advantage of that power you have. And, if you focus on being the best that you can be, everything else will tend to fall into place.