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It's never too late to be a winner

Are you one?

Erin Gibbs //June 15, 2015//

It's never too late to be a winner

Are you one?

Erin Gibbs //June 15, 2015//

Last year, my company had the privilege of winning a coveted spot in the Colorado Companies To Watch program. In the year following, I attended all related events on behalf of the company I own (American Vein & Vascular Institute Practice Management) and the network of clinics my husband owns (American Vein & Vascular Institute), including the gala event and celebration that kicks it off.

On June 5, 2015, I again had the privilege of attending the gala – this time as a guest of my brother- and sister-in-law (my husband’s sister), who were 2015 winners for The Fat Bike Company – based out of Colorado Springs, like us.

Now, how often are two distinctly different companies in two distinctly different industries from the same small family and same small business community not just nominated – but awarded winners?  Not often, I’d bet. It’s kind of like a Triple Crown. We all now know that it’s rare but possible.

While attending the gala as a guest but knowing the pride of winning, I became reflective on some of the inspirational quotes I took away from my own CCTW 2014 class:

• “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” – Nelson Mandela
• Winners are not those who never fail, but those who never quit.
• Winners have definite purpose.
• Winners see obstacles as challenges.
• Winners accept responsibility for their lives.
• Winners see the goal.
• Winners see the possibility.
• Winners make it happen.

Do you identify with these points? Are you a winner? I asked myself these questions again as I watched this year’s crop of winners cross the stage. Without a doubt, all of those quotes define me – and my husband and business partner.

As much as the CCTW was motivation for “fueling the fire,” watching a different kind of winner make history the very next day in the 147th Belmont Stakes – when American Pharaoh became the first Triple Crown winning racehorse in 37 years – gave me shivers, tears, hope, faith and wonder in the spirit of what’s possible.

Before that day, most fans and people in the racing industry had long given up hope that such a feat was still possible. But this horse did it. He made everything possible in the minds of his team, horsemen around the world, fans, viewers – and even business people, entrepreneurs and people far from racing like me.

Why does a horse run like that? Why would he overcome such odds? Why would he dig in and accelerate at the end of not one or two races, but at the third and longest one? We know this winning horse wasn’t in it for the money or the glory. This horse ran for the sheer desire to win, for the love of going fast and for getting to do what he was designed to do: Run. Fast. Win. 

Getting him to that finish line took a dedicated team of experts, a strategic plan and all the elements of a successful business: training, leaders, “do-ers”, financial investment, meticulous timing, a skilled jockey and (of course) raw, innate talent in the form of a horse. American Pharaoh proved to the world that this intersection of factors brings home the big win – and in this case multiple wins, culminating in The Triple Crown.

Part of the team had already experienced repeated failures and “almost wins” at the Triple Crown. American Pharaoh’s trainer, Bob Baffert, is arguably the best in the sport’s history – but despite three previous Triple Crown hopefuls in his career, he had never won the title. He never gave up, and this brought him to a winner’s circle that only twelve before him had reached.

Likewise, jockey Victor Espinoza (from humble beginnings in Mexico to an international athlete) had experienced extremes in his career. He’s the first jockey in history to enter the Belmont Stakes with a third chance to win The Triple Crown. And at age 43, he won aboard American Pharaoh – becoming the oldest jockey to win the award.

It’s never too late to be a winner.

So how can you turn your life and your company into a Triple Crown winner? How can you be a Company To Watch? It’s no place for a one-hit-wonder. To be a winner is to find your passion and do what you were designed to do – then build the team, make the investment, and have perseverance, patience and the desire and ability to stick it out even when it burns.

When the finish line is in sight, and the competition is thundering up behind you and you wonder if you can make it? That’s when you dig in. Run. Fast. Win.