To win you have to play


to-win-you-have-to-playThe Pressgram Photo Contest is Over

The contest I've been running for a few days just ended. If you didn't know about it, it was a simple photo contest to celebrate the launch of Pressgram – an iPhone app that lets you publish photos to your WordPress blog, as well as social channels like Facebook and Twitter.

In a few hours, the winner will be announced. But before that happens, I just want to highlight an interesting dynamic.

The prize was a free iPad mini. That's something. It's not huge. But it's also not nothing.

So you can imagine my surprise when I noticed that over 15% of the participants in the contest didn't take a single photo for the photo contest.

To win, you have to play.

To win you have to play.

I wonder if this isn't a metaphor for how we sometimes do life. We get excited about the potential prize at the end but then realize that there may be some work involved, and we stop and do nothing.

I've written before about it, but I thought I'd just put out a simple reminder to those who were willing to listen.

There are no shortcuts. You want a prize, that's great. But it won't walk up and jump into your lap. You're going to have to work for it.

To win, you have to play.

Anything worth winning is also worth the effort.

I joke with my wife that I loved her far before she loved me. It's only kind of a joke. She had some trust issues to work thru when we first started dating. But if you've met her, you know she's amazing.

Amazing enough that it was completely worth processing each of her fears. Talking thru all her worries.

One of them (because she'd grown up living in public housing and rental apartments) was that she'd never live in a home that she owned. This week we moved into the second home we've owned together and there's no question, it's her dream home.

It took some time. It required patience and work. It cost some money. But moving in was a big win.

To win, you have to play.

There are no do-overs or rewinds in life.

I don't have to tell you all this. You know it already. So do I. But that doesn't stop me from sometimes forgetting what's important in life. I have two little kids – one who's seven and the other who will turn six this week.

I get busy. I sit behind a computer and get focused on things and can easily miss hours that flow by. But my little buddy has a birthday in a couple of days. And if I miss it, if I'm too caught up to make a big deal over it, trust me – he'll remember it far longer than I'll ever think about it.

And that day will pass and I'll never get it back again. Ever.

So my priority is to be a better dad than an employee. A better dad than a consultant. A better dad than an advisor or board member.

When it comes to making a lasting impression on my children and teaching them about the values we have as a family (honesty, integrity, hard work, generosity) I want to win.

And to win, I have to play.