Winning takes courage
The Biggest Loser was the most competitive season of my life. Before I made it onto the cast of Season 8 Second Chances, my doctor painted me a grim outlook. “Danny, at your current weight, you’ll have beaten the odds if you live to see 50.” I was scared – I was 38. The 12-year timer of my life began ticking in my head. It was time for a response. They say desperate times call for desperate measures, so I wrote in my journal that I would win The Biggest Loser and then I signed and dated it July 19, 2008.
When I looked down at what I had written, thoughts bombarded me; there’s no way and even if you made it, you couldn’t win, just to name a few. So I did something even more daring. Without thinking, I stood in front of 60 people and claimed “I’m going to win The Biggest Loser! I’m going to get on that show and lose more weight than anyone in history!” For a moment, you could have heard a pin drop.
I’m sure they were thinking those same thoughts that I was at first, but then someone said, “Go for it!” and the class erupted in applause. Okay, I had 60 people who were willing to support me, now I just had to follow through and continue to support myself.
Winning doesn’t mean create casualties
In my past, winning usually came with someone else’s casualty. That was just a part of the game, right? What I’ve learned is that it isn’t my job to create casualties to get what I want, it’s just my job to win – and that usually means I am first competing with myself; my biggest obstacle was me.
To win, I had to focus on the one thing I could change: me. If I focused on the game play, then I would react and not respond to my circumstances. If I focused on others, I’d be comparing myself to them, perhaps becoming discouraged if I hit a plateau. The key was me.
Winning doesn’t mean beating others
I’ve heard it over and over: “Even if you lose The Biggest Loser, you’ve still won.” I used to cringe at that statement! You see, my personality is that of a Lion. I win – and usually at any cost. I’ve come a long way from that way of thinking.
A while back I heard something from a participant of a team in a multi-team competition. They had set a goal to beat another team’s score. Their entire focus was winning a single battle, and not the competition. Wouldn’t it have been better to set a goal to win the competition? After all, if you beat the team, you could still lose the competition. But if you win the competition, you’d accomplish what you wanted anyway – and the focus would not be on someone else’s demise, but on their success.
Healthy competition breeds greatness
When I got to The Biggest Loser Ranch, I set a goal to stay above the yellow line. If I stayed above the yellow line, I couldn’t be voted off. So my focus was just to not be in the bottom two. Usually, your win is consisted of many small battles. If you look too far ahead and take your eyes off the battle, chances are you may lose the opportunity to win.
In the middle of Season 8, we went to teams. Then I could stay above the lowest two and still be voted off! I had to change my strategy. Now I needed immunity, which meant losing more percentage of weight than anyone else. I achieved that goal and set a record that still stands today on The Biggest Loser.
Near the end, it became clear that Rudy was the only one who could possibly beat me. My goal still wasn’t to beat Rudy, but to hit my goal weight. I knew that no matter what Rudy did, if I hit my goal weight I would win the show. Instead of focusing on his loss, I focused on my win. It did help to imagine Rudy right behind me on the way to the finish line. It kept me running!
Rudy and I were like Tiger Woods and Ernie Els in PGA Golf. One year, Ernie Els took 2nd in every major in Golf. He took second because Tiger Woods won all of them! Some might look at Tiger’s year and miss how great Ernie’s was. My perspective is that Tiger and Ernie’s competition lifted both of them higher than they would have performed otherwise. Rudy set the record for pounds lost at 234 pounds. Five minutes later, I set the record for pounds lost and highest percentage lost in history. We both were able to achieve our very best because we ran together in healthy competition.
Winning with integrity makes a champion
Rudy and I had an agreement: we would never vote each other off the show. Near the end, Liz asked me, “Danny, what will you do if Rudy falls below now? We’re almost at the end and he’s the only one who can beat you. It’s $250,000 for your family at stake.” When she put it like that, I began to re-think my agreement and became conflicted.
The next morning I woke up and pulled out my bible and turned to Proverbs 28:6 (NLT) and read, “Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and rich.” This reinforced my promise. I won’t truly win if winning means breaking my word. Keeping your integrity is the key to winning with honor.
Choose to win the right way
To sum it up, remember that you are your biggest competitor, so keep your focus on changing you and not beating others. Winning and achieving your goals doesn’t have to create casualties on your way, and everyone can benefit from your win. Keep your integrity along the way, because the trophy will rust but the memory of your broken word will last a lifetime.
Each month in The Journey Training we teach people that winning in life can include everyone. Countless people come to our training believing that for them to win, others must lose. Also, an awareness of their own self-sabotaging decisions become clearer, causing them to navigate to their success much easier. I encourage you to enroll in the next Threshold class and begin your journey to your greatest win today!