"Winners never make excuses," Lynn states. Photo © Impulse Photography

ICYMI – Five Things Winners Never Do with Stephanie Lynn

Editor’s Note – This article was first published on August 18, 2014. GoHorseShow writer Stephanie Lynn was an AQHA Judge at the time and provided these helpful tips on how to be a winner. It was one of our Top 10 articles in 2014. Lynn now works for NSBA, but her insight is still relevant in 2019. 

Every successful competitive rider spends their time in the saddle with the same goal in mind: to win.

They live and breathe horses and horse shows. They study the winners in an attempt to follow in the path to the winner’s circle.

But what separates the winners from the rest of the crowd?

Winners accept the challenge with confidence in themselves, believe their success is inevitable and take action to make their dreams come true. And there are a few things that winners never do.

#1–Winners never say “I can’t”

The words are not part of their vocabulary. No challenge is too demanding, no obstacle too large and no situation too overwhelming to overcome. Winners find a way to go through the challenges life throws their way and take the lessons that come with it. Eliminate thoughts leading that lead to you to say “I can’t.” When you feel yourself thinking that you can’t go one more step, you can’t deal with one more forgotten pattern or one more whatever – stop. Tell yourself you can – you-can-do-it. Repeat “I can do this” whatever this is. Your words tell the world what you think about you. And low and behold, they come back to define you.

#2–Winners never make excuses 

Winners never blame someone else or something else for lack of success. Losers make excuses, find someone or something to blame and avoid responsibility for their position. Winners, on the other hand, take responsibility, make commitments to themselves and follow through until they achieve the results they are looking for. Winners do not hide behind excuses when the road to the winner’s circle gets tough. Instead, they dig in deeper, confirm their commitments and work harder.

#3–Winners never doubt themselves 

Winners never participate in negative self-talk. They think positively about every step on their path to success. They do not allow conversations to be pessimistic; they do not buy into self-destructive patterns or allow damaging thought patterns. When faced with unfavorable feedback, winners do not take it personally. Instead, they find a way to change the outcome unwilling to accept the response as inevitable. Next time challenges undermine your thinking, and you start to doubt your own ability to accomplish the goal, establish a firm belief that the challenges are temporary and you have the talent and ability to overcome them. Contemplate then commit to conquering negative attitudes.

#4–Winners never miss an opportunity 

Winners take every occasion to practice, learn and enhance the skills they need to succeed. They do not hit the snooze button; they show up for practice, are early to appointments and commit to knocking on every door until the one they need is opened. They do not sit back and wait for someone to open the door for them. Instead, they take action – day in and day out – the action that propels them toward their envisioned end goal.

#5–Winners never quit

You have heard it a thousand times before – winners never quit and quitters never win – because it is true. Winning is about defining your wants and desires, envisioning your success and taking steps to make it happen. Winners use obstacles to build strength and resolve. They are not defeated by ordinary setbacks that often cause others to give up. Winners stay focused until long after they have crossed the finish line – never losing sight of their goal. Winners persist.

Winning is about committing to excel. It is not about blue ribbons, trophies or titles. Accolades are the result of a commitment to shine, to master and to go beyond the expected.

Winners compete with themselves because they believe in their ability to affect the change they want and create the desired outcome.

While you may not be able to change circumstances, you can change the way you respond. These actions will determine your ability to win. As always, good luck and enjoy the ride.