After a 3-0 record this weekend at the Black Swamp Curling Club in Bowling Green Ohio, we had arrived at the A Event Finals; now to fight the battle for 1st place! Did we win? I’ll leave that for the end of the article. The process of getting to this winners event and the outcome we achieved are the lessons leaders need to glean from my story.

But a little about the photo; when you arrive at the A, B, C event finals, you are piped in by a bag piper and at the end we make a toast to a good game, good sportsmanship and to the piper as a tradition in the sport of curling. I cried as we were walking onto the ice with my teammates Erin, Janet and Sue because I couldn’t believe we made it and I was thrilled at simply the opportunity. We had build a team, built trust and had amazing communication. We had only started curling together as full team a month ago, but we knew if we focused on the process, and what was most important, the results would come.

In our first two games, I was very nervous because both had beat me in the past and they were our toughest competition in the short term. They were close games where in the second game, we were tied after 8 ends and it came down to skips rocks (who can get our stone closest to the button / center). My stone with the help of the team sweeping and calling the angle helped my stone to get to 7 inches from the center. My opponent was a bit wider and with that we won the game. This was a testament to having confidence in myself to not blowing it under pressure and having the confidence in my capability. Moreso, it was trusting my team to take it to the place it needed to arrive.

After celebrating a bit to much after two wins and with the clocks moving ahead 1 hour this Saturday, our bodies made it on the ice one more time at 8:30 am Sunday. I was feeling a little ill, but I knew I had to be present for the team and fortunately, it was an easy game that got us into the finals. We kept our professional form despite our delight inside we were soon going to be in the A event finals and shared some good conversation with the opposing team while we rested up. The lesson here is even if you’re “crushing” the competition, keep your head focused on the process and sportsmanship. People will remember you for who you were as a person and not the result of the event that just transpired. Some leaders get so caught up in the win, they forget they’re interacting with humans.

Fast forward to our A-Event finals, the dynamic of the game changed. I had beaten and lost in the past to my opponent so it could go either way. The ice conditions changed and my teammates shots were not getting to where they needed to be; making it a tough match. One time, I had to make an incredible shot and my vice-skip was asking me to make a more conservative shot. I saw the harder shot and I was confident I could make it because I felt it was possible despite the odds. It’s amazing when you set your mind to something, because I made an amazing hit that enabled us to win the end. This was a moment of extreme confidence and desire to take the harder shot. In the past I would have blown it, but when I trusted myself and my team, anything is possible.

In the final end of the game, it was close and there was a chance to win it, but my last shot was just a bit off on an incredibly hard shot. We came away as the A event runner up; 2nd place out of 16 teams. While some may have been dismayed with the result, as a leader, I was more focused on the outcome and peace of mind. I now potentially have a team that wants to stick together and go to other events and get the same or even better results. The leadership lesson here is focus on the outcome and the results will come. I have a team that I enjoy their company. We communicate and trust each other and when that happens, we are A Event Runners up; a winning outcome!

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Good curling-Deb