This Is the Mindset You Need to Make 2017 a Success

by Alli Polin on December 13, 2016

Legs shaking, body tense and fighting through the pain; it’s an incredibly satisfying feeling to push yourself to your limit. In fact, it’s rare that people explore the edges of their capabilities. When was the last time you found your breaking point and celebrated it?

Each week at school, my daughter’s 7th-grade fitness class had a different challenge to test their endurance. One week, the twenty boys and girls in her class had to stand against a wall and hold a squat for as long as possible.

60 seconds – 5 kids dropped.

2 minutes – 7 more, done.

3 minutes – 4 gave up.

5 minutes – 2 bit the dust

7 minutes – One boy, one girl. Everyone gathered around.

7 minutes and 15 seconds – One remained, my daughter.

8 minutes and 38 seconds – My daughter sat down and celebrated her effort.

When she told me about her result, I asked her why she kept going when everyone else was done?

She said that at first, she wanted to be the winner and get the highest score.

Then when she was the best, why did she keep on going?

It was a no-brainer for her. She wanted to do her personal best and see how far she could push herself.

As leaders, parents and small business owners we’re often obsessed with one-upping the competition and ignore the inner game completely.

What if…

You consistently found your edges and pushed yourself to expand.
You made a commitment to your personal best instead of just enough to beat anyone else.
You competed against yourself and with each challenge you improved.

I’m not saying that you should ignore the competition or pretend that they don’t exist, but you should think twice about where you’re putting your focus and your energy.

Essentially, here’s the choice:

You can beat the competition or you can rock your world, create, challenge, imagine, hustle, and push yourself to swim in the uncharted waters and leave the competition behind. (By the way, if you’re interested in making the competition irrelevant, make sure that Blue Ocean Strategy is on your reading list.)

The Mindset You Need to Make 2017 a Success

It’s your personal best that matters more than keeping an eye on the competition. Feel your heart beating, your legs shaking, your brain telling you that it’s okay to stop and keep going anyway.

The comfort zone is important for rest and recovery, but the only person who can explore the edges of what’s possible and blow them away is you.

Make 2017 the year you be and do your personal best no matter the competition is doing. Leave behind the days of doing just enough and see how far you can go.

If you don’t know what your personal best looks like or it’s been a long time since you’ve flexed those muscles, now is the time. Put your back against the wall and discover what you can do.

If you want a loving push, let’s talk. 

What mindset do you have now and what are you committed to in 2017?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

John Thurlbeck December 13, 2016 at 6:13 am

Mindset – it is key! When I reviewed my year recently, the areas where I failed to meet my objectives were those couple I lost focus on and did not remedy my mindset!

When I examined the year from my favourite mentee for our final meeting tomorrow, he has had an extraordinary year! The key to his success, a massively positive mindset!

Loved the post and agree with you entirely Alli! My congratulations to your daughter too – loved her story!

Have a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful and Prosperous New year my friend!




Alli Polin December 13, 2016 at 6:20 am

I’ve had my fair share of missed marks over the years not only because my energy wandered but my mindset too. I do believe that success goes beyond the power of positive thinking but truly, how we see and experience the world is in our hands.

I’m proud that my daughter pushed herself over and over this year and every time she went all-in, she blew away what she thought was possible. There’s something to be said for no holding back.

Happy Holidays to you too and may 2017 be all you want it to be!!




Lori Gosselin December 13, 2016 at 7:40 am

Hi Alli,
I love this! What an amazing person your daughter is! (And how cool is it that your children can inspire your posts!)
I’m also impressed that you asked the question, rather than assuming you knew its answer.

“There’s something to be said for no holding back.” Yes, a great mantra for 2017!


Alli Polin December 13, 2016 at 8:43 pm


I’m constantly learning from my children. What I’ve discovered is that they’ve started to play back my questions to me too! It’s like living with little mini coaches!

I’m ready for a year of all-in no holding back. Here’s to 2017!!!




Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™ December 13, 2016 at 8:07 am

Great post — it’s gentle AND momentous. Quite a feat to achieve Alli yet I am not surprised that you did it. I have been reading your blog for quite a while and your special gift and talent is to create calls to action that rouse spirits without riling resistance.

Beautifully done,


Alli Polin December 13, 2016 at 8:43 pm

Your feedback means a ton to me, Kate. Out of the many blogs I try to follow yours is one I always make the time for each week.




Terri Klass December 13, 2016 at 8:28 am

Wonderful and inspiring post, Alli!

It is so true that we can get caught up in trying to “out-do” our competition, when we should be focusing on our own, amazing trajectory. I learned that I was most satisfied in my career when I pour my energy into what excites me. I love people rather than reflection. I need to pursue assignments that involve people to draw out my greatest strengths even if others are following a different journey.

Here’s to your incredible daughter who is being the young woman she wants to be!

Will definitely share!!


Alli Polin December 13, 2016 at 8:46 pm

I totally hear you – do what excites you and lights you up. When we do work we hate because we think that’s the only choice it’s beyond draining. I know that you’re an exceptional trainer and leadership developer because you’re aware of your gifts and tap into them consistently.

Years ago, I had the aha that I love training and training design brings out my creativity and delivery is where I get to make a human connection but development? Not my fave (but I’ve learned to keep with it because it connects the two pieces I love).

Thanks, Terri!



Sam December 13, 2016 at 10:57 am

Hi Alli,

What a great story! There are no boundaries when we are in competition with ourselves. Competing with others can be good, but it will only get you so far. Having the mindset to push yourself will give you endless possibilities.


Alli Polin December 13, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Thanks so much, Sam. Here’s to endless possibilities! So much more inspiring than feeling stuck 🙂



Karin hurt December 13, 2016 at 11:24 am

I love it! In Winning Well terms we say “your competition is mediocrity.” It’s so easy to focus on beating others… so much more fulfilling to rise to your own personal best.


Alli Polin December 13, 2016 at 9:05 pm

Love that, Karin! Mediocrity is crappy competition. 😉

You, my friend, are a role model for personal best.



Jon Mertz December 13, 2016 at 4:50 pm


An empowering combination – growth mindset with personal best mission. A great way to engage 2017 and more!



Alli Polin December 13, 2016 at 9:07 pm

That’s my plan for 2017. Life and leadership are more robust when we rise to our best and discover new heights.




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