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Playing to Win

Mar 11, 2020


By, Gabriell Smith


When it comes to obstacles that you face in life, are you playing to win or playing to not lose? When I first heard that question, I laughed a little because I thought that they were the same. However, when I examined it on a deeper level, I learned that I was wrong! I discovered a red flag. I was living my life with a “playing not to lose” mindset.

What’s the difference between the two? Someone that is playing to win has their focus on doing their best. They work vigorously to achieve whatever goals they have placed in front of themselves. They come from a place of growth. They are constantly in search of ways that they can improve or better themselves. Challenges excite them. They are full of optimism, working to always find the silver lining of difficult situations. On the other hand, people that are playing to not lose have already taken themselves out of the game. They fear change. The idea of failing makes them freeze, unable to find a solution. They walk around feeling worried and anxious with their head hung low, waiting for a bad event to come their way. Thus, giving their doubts even more power over them. They are constantly overthinking every little thing. They expect themselves to be perfect at a new skill the first time they do it. No. Questions. Asked. If they are not, those imperfections add on even more weight to their already heavy shoulders. This was me. 

The “fear of not losing” was truly inhibiting my growth in life, not only professionally, but with my self-development, my relationships and my confidence. I would literally comfort myself with the thought, “Well, at least if you don’t try, you can’t fail.” NOOOOOO. If you don’t try, you can NOT succeed. If you take yourself out of the game, you completely eliminate your chances of winning. If you go in thinking that you are for sure going to lose, then you are for sure going to lose! I knew I had to change my mindset, in order to become the woman I wanted to be.

It is not easy. However, there are many great books that have helped me work on my perspective. The two that immediately come to mind are “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero and “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck. Both authors coach you through ways to consciously work on shifting your thinking. It will not be easy. It will take constant reminders to help get you there. I actually have a tattoo on my left wrist that symbolizes the evolution and change of Gabriell. It helps me remember where I have come from and to welcome change instead of fighting it. 

The most crucial time of my life that mindset played a key part in, was my decision to become a personal trainer. Fun fact, I have a degree in Drama with a focus in lighting design from UCI. I enjoyed that field at first, but I did not love it. Even though it was safe, comfortable, and familiar, it didn’t make me happy. I knew I wanted to help people be the best they could be. I wanted to help people do things that they thought were impossible. I knew it required a career shift. I didn’t want to be 50 years old, looking back at my life wishing that I followed my heart. So, I decided that I would rather try and potentially succeed, instead of holding on to the fear of failure. I succeeded! I went from being unemployed to an F45 instructor to a Kaia Fit instructor to a First Impression Specialist at Fitness on Fire (FOF) to a Personal Trainer at FOF and now the Director of Client Relations of FOF all because I decided to not fall victim to my circumstances and truly challenge them. I had to look at every day as a stepping stone towards success. Every day was an opportunity for me to live my life with that spark, that passion and that fire that would push me towards my dreams. I had to see every day as an opportunity for me to be the best Gabriell that I could be.

I could not have done this without the support from my family, friends and community I have at Fitness on Fire. Fitness on Fire has helped me in more ways than I could imagine. They have helped me become the strongest I have ever been, both mentally and physically. I am so happy that I have the ability to share and help people in the same way that all the people in my life helped me. So, if you are reading this, I challenge you to play to win. Take that negativity out of your language, out of your thoughts, out of your actions. Act out of love, enthusiasm and curiosity with openness to learn and grow with every opportunity thrown your way. You will be amazed at what you will accomplish.


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