The GOAT, Purpose, and YOU!

  • Organizational Engagement
Den Bishop

Simone Biles is the gymnastics GOAT (Greatest of All Time); however, recent events are showing us all that winning is not ever guaranteed — even for the greatest. 

Roger Federer, who I also consider a GOAT, lost at Wimbledon in straight sets and lost the final set 6-0! This had never happened. It seems like even the best are losing in today’s world.

Winning or losing does not create character…it reveals it. This isn’t just in sports, but it applies to everything in life.

What do I know about winning and losing? I have done a lot of both. 

I grew up playing tennis, and I won a lot. I went over two years in high school tennis in Texas without losing — until I lost my last possible match at the state championship final my senior year, when I was trying to become the first three-time champion in Texas history. 

I won a lot in college. When I graduated, I was the all-time leader in victories at Southern Methodist University (SMU) and was voted senior player of the year by the NCAA coaches. Our team was ranked #1 in the country almost all of my sophomore and junior years. 

But, you know what I remember most? I remember sitting on center court with a towel over my head and tears streaming down my face at the University of Georgia after losing the final and deciding match against UCLA in the 1985 NCAA semifinals. For the first time in my career, I had lost both singles and doubles and felt personally responsible for my team not winning the NCAA championship. This is all small beans compared to intense spotlight and fame of Simone and Roger, but it meant the world to me.

We all feel pressure to win. We want to be the best parent, child, sibling, spouse, employee, manager, friend, volunteer, and the list goes on. In spite of our best intentions, we sometimes lose and aren’t that great on that particular day. When it happens, we feel like we let those who are counting on us down. 

You may have noticed I added “purpose” to the headline of this blog. What does purpose have to do with all this failure talk? Knowing and embracing your unique purpose gives you the freedom and resiliency to go all in and to dust yourself off and try again the next day when it doesn’t work. 

Without a well-defined sense of purpose, we can get crushed by someone else’s definition of our success. Your unique purpose defines your success!

My losing (and sometimes my winning) helped me to learn that I am not defined by any outcome. The only standard for me tomorrow is to be the best Den Bishop that I can possibly be…no more and no less. 

The only standard for you tomorrow is to be the absolute best you that you were uniquely created to be…and that’s a high standard!

The following poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling overhangs the door at the entry to center court at Wimbledon.

If you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.

It is the engagement, effort, and intensity that matters — not the outcome! It wasn’t my wins that taught me what this poem really meant, but it was my losses.

Finding Your Organizational Purpose

Do you individually have a purpose? Does your organization have one?

Through our partner, ethOs, and several members throughout our organization, we developed not only an organizational purpose (“Your Unique Potential is Our Soul Purpose”), but we also requested that all of our employees go through an individual purpose journey to find theirs. Boy, what a difference does it make to know what you’re working toward every day.

Regardless, here’s my advice, forgive yourself for the times you might not have “won.” You can’t fly if you are afraid to leave the ground…fully!

And if you’re interested in learning more about organizational purpose, I know our ethOs team would be happy to chat with you!

August 5, 2021