How to flip on your winner switch

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Mr. Fiori  said “GO!” and four of us who were laying on our backs flipped over on our stomachs and dove for the two black training pads that were sitting in the center of the mat.

FIGHT FOR IT!” he yelled, as we wrestled each other for control.

I twisted and clutched a corner of the pad, trying to pull it away from my formidable opponent. She pinned me against the floor and I felt my forehead break into a sweat as I shifted my hips to try and knock her off balance so I could weaken her hold.

After one minute, we were getting tired, but we kept at it.

TIME!” he yelled.

My chest heaving, I gave my opponent a high-five.

“Some of you are holding back in your training,” said Mr. Fiori. “You need to realize that you are playing to win. When you are faced with a real-life situation when someone has your back on the ground, you will be fighting for your life. Are you going to fight halfway then?”

Then he said:

“You have to learn to flip on your winner switch.”

A light bulb went on in my head.

So many people in the early stages of business get racked with self-doubt about their ability to deliver the goods to a new client. This makes perfect sense — if you haven’t done something before, you cannot be certain that you will do it well. And if you are charging people money for this thing, it compounds your anxiety.

The only answer is to flip the winner switch.

The winner switch is:

  • Focusing your complete attention and energy on the task at hand
  • Recalling times when you have been successful in the past, and harnessing this positive state of mind
  • Setting the intention to deliver killer results
  • Doing your very best to complete the task, even when your face is being smashed in the ground, and you are clearly outmatched

Remember that you cannot skip steps in the conscious competence model. The only way to get better is to train like a winner, getting expert feedback along the way. The more you train, the better you get, and the more you have winning results.

Be in it to win it

I don’t care if you have never coached someone before — coach your first session to win.

I don’t care if you have never written a line of code before — code your first line to win.

I don’t care if you have never taken a picture before — take your first picture to win.

A winning mindset will prevail.

Mr Fiori teaches at East West Mixed Martial Arts in Mesa, Arizona. Come try to smash my face into the mat on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I promise to put up a good fight.

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18 Responses to “How to flip on your winner switch”

  1. For me, my greatest opponent is my internal resistance. I call it the lion. The lion roars and we thrash about as we fight for control. I like the idea of flipping my winner switch. I will remember that the next time the lion tries to intimidate me from being me.

    I also really liked the conscious competence model. I’ve been thrashing about stuck in stage two. Looks like I’ve some switch flipping to do.

  2. […] it wasn’t too surprising to find an article called, How to flip on your winner switch by Pamela over at Escape from Cubicle […]

  3. […] Some weeks ago, I came to the conclusion that even if ideas are unimportant from a business point, they still are important for yourself. The first point of an idea is to motivate you. Your idea is for you. You have to love it enough to keep working on it for a while. How could you flip on the winner switch otherwise ? […]

  4. Yvette says:

    Great reminder that in life, not just business, it’s no guts, no glory. If you want to love your kids, love them full out. If you want to follow you passion, do it all the way. It also applies to less action-packed activities. (e.g. If you want to relax more, then start ASAP.)

    I’m starting a business. Periodically, I feel overwhelmed with options and ideas and try to do several things at once. Then I’ll need to calm myself down and remember my core competence. I think, “Do this as best as possible. This, providing personal finance advice, is what you love to do. Do it, right now, and focus on nothing else.” In that moment, the stress is gone and I just deliver. 🙂

  5. […] it wasn’t too surprising to find an article called, How to flip on your winner switch by Pamela over at Escape from Cubicle […]

  6. […] Mr. Fiori  said “GO!” and four of us who were laying on our backs flipped over on our stomachs and dove for the two black training pads that were sitting in the center of the mat.“FIGHT FOR IT!” he yelled, as we wrestled each other for control.I twisted and clutched a corner of the pad, […] Original post […]

  7. Bernd says:

    This is so typical american. One can influence her success, but only to a limited extend. And don’t forget every win of yours is a hit in the face of somebody else (and you will be that somebody, too)


    • Phil Montero says:

      I have to respectfully say I don’t really agree with everything you are saying Bernd. Every win does not have to result as “a hit in the face of somebody else”. Especially in business today there is more of an attitude of collaboration rather than competition – I know that is the way I approach it. Winning equates to succeeding but that does not have to be done at the expense of someone else. I also believe with our thoughts and energy we can influence our success beyond limits.

  8. shāna says:

    great idea – great confidence booster. thanks pam – been reading & learning from your posts on twitter.
    kind regards from shāna

  9. What a great post, my friend. And timely, too! I was just looking at my business financials as we wrap up the 9th month of this year, and you know what? Not too shabby. (Of course, that’s because you’re my business partner)

    But another way to get your winner on is to look at the bottom line. Are you effectively bootstrapping, for instance? Spending less? Earning more? You might be surprised to see that you are doing better than you give yourself credit for.

    Your pal,

  10. Phil Montero says:


    Great Post! After we were chatting on Twitter earlier today and you mentioned you were writing this post I had to check it out. I study Kung Fu and I can definitely relate to what you are talking about. Sometimes it’s even a matter of jus putting everything into your training even when you are not competing against others but mastering yourself. I am training again after almost a 10 year hiatus and it has taken me some time to get back into the groove. Lately I’ve found I’m throwing myself much more into the training and really giving it my all and it feels great.

    As an entrepreneur I’ve also been facing similar situations where I was selling myself short at times and recently have “stepped into my expertise” as I have been thinking it. Realizing just how much I have to offer others and how much people love picking my brain. I’ve been thinking it’s time to “flip that switch”. Love the post and the analogy and so glad to hear you are back to training again – it has made a world of difference for me!


  11. Fred says:

    Boy, it is a great feeling when you do turn on that winner switch. I can’t really explain it, but it feels like you can’t lose. I remember having the winner switch flip on while playing football sometimes. It seems like I was running downhill. What a feeling!

  12. Deb Droz says:

    Thanks, Pam! Really like this…I’m trying to practice turning on my winner switch consistently, but sometimes it lacks the juice. However, the more I do it, the better the connection! Need a Winner Switch button!

  13. Fi says:

    Ah thankyou! That analogy works really well for me. A winning switch. I think it might be what I have been looking for.

  14. Sinclair says:

    Pam, I absolutely LOVE this. You’re a great storyteller, and this is such a simple way to articulate that necessary internal shift entrepreneurs. I’m sending this post to all of my current clients as required reading!

  15. Sometimes I think we do a disservice to our children by teaching them that “it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose the game, but how you play the game”. Teachers like to repeat this often in school. But once you leave the world of school, winning matters. Everyone wants to hire a someone with a winning track record. Everyone wants to know those who are successful because they win. No one wants to hire a doctor whose patients all die, or a lawyer who loses al his cases, or an accountant who clients all get audited and fined by the IRS.

  16. Lisa says:

    My Kenpo instructor always reminds us to ‘be our best’ and keep focusing on continuous improvement…great ideas for business not just karate. I think martial arts is good training for running a business!

  17. sally says:

    Wow! This so speaks to me. Great reminder. My business is in its beginning stages and I feel like I am constantly looking for external encouragements. When they don’t happen as I expect them to, I get discouraged : ( But you’re so right! A winning mindset will indeed prevail. Thank you, Pam.