Don’t let your best days be defined by the external validation you receive from others. It’s an unwinnable game.

Last week I spoke virtually for a group of small business owners on peak performance. We discussed three different things in the acronym, “MPR”.

No, none of it had to do with Minnesota Public Radio – we discussed Meaning, Progress and Routine.

To summarize:

Meaning: uncovering the real purpose of what you do and shifting focus outward by asking, “who needs me to Outperform?”

Progress: internalizing and allowing yourself to feel GREAT about accomplishing small wins, knowing they’re the precursor to big wins.

Routine: identifying habits that serve your success and contribute to you Outperforming.

We divided people into breakout groups with discussion questions, one of them being:

What makes you feel like you’re winning and making progress?

When the groups returned and reported back the findings, I was surprised to hear a lot of people define winning as something like:

“When I get great feedback from my customers.”

“When someone tells me I’ve done a great job.”

“When clients tell me how happy they are with the work I’ve done.”

Here’s the question – do any of these things matter?

Heck YES, they matter! It means you’re doing something and doing it well. It’s probably why you got into business in the first place.

But perhaps a better question – should any of these things define your winning?

No, they shouldn’t.

As I made my closing point, I explained it in terms of my world…

In almost every speech I give, I am evaluated and receive feedback. And in every speech I give, I want to receive as much positive feedback as possible. It means I’ve done good and my message resonated with the audience.

But I try very, VERY hard not to let the evaluations define whether I’ve had a great day and whether I’ve won.


Because I can’t control what other people think of me. In fact, I can give my absolute best performance and get the worst ratings.

Now, I hope I’ve had enough coffee to articulate myself correctly. If you consistently get bad ratings as a speaker, you’re not going to have a very long career.

(the same holds true for negative experiences in any profession, right?)

What you do is take that feedback, acknowledge it, apply it, and let it fuel your preparation and performance and messaging and motivation and actions and activities.

THAT is winning.

All controllables geared towards producing more of the “feedback” you want, but not defining your days by the “feedback” you get.

And while we’re at it, if this message could resonate with your company, team or organization, I’d love to have the conversation.

Keep Outperforming!