Winning in business lacks the clarity of winning in sports. Fastest, highest, longest, most points — with sports, it’s black and white. I long for that kind of clarity in how we stand versus our competition, and in what defines a win.

Oscar Pistorius has no such problem. You may have heard about him from coverage of the latest Olympics. He runs the 400 in 45.5 seconds and the 200 in 22 seconds. He’s faster than you and I put together, and he does it with no legs — he’s a double amputee since he was 11 months old.

Some wonder if his prosthetic “blades” give him an unfair advantage. I wonder how someone with no legs even considers running in the Olympics.

Rather than going through life feeling disabled, Oscar never waivers from his core focus: the abilities he has. As a teenager, Oscar played water polo, tennis, rugby, and wrestled, all against “able-bodied” competitors. He won numerous gold medals at the Paralympics, setting records along the way. Today, Oscar is thinking not about being the fastest at the Paralympics, but about being the fastest. Period.

Defining a Win

Your turn. Did you win today? It’s a simple yet powerful question that distills your day. What does it mean to win in remodeling? Selling more? Earning more? Having the happiest team or the most satisfied clients?

It’s fun to win. And it’s critical. We all need something to steer us through the countless decisions we make every day, and our definition of winning fills the need. Maybe winning means achieving excellence. You might focus on different things — sales, net profit, client experience — but it is all in the name of excellence. If growth defines winning for you, you might focus on hiring or increasing sales or new markets, but it is all in the name of growth.

First, we need to define winning. Second, we need a report card with quantifiable measurements of our progress. Third, we need to keep evaluating the report card and recalibrating as circumstances change.

Once you decide on your path, stick to it. You’ll find that you get closer to winning every day. But it’s easy to get distracted. Even if growth is not your focus, there are days when you will go home dejected because you heard that a competitor is growing more quickly than you. Or maybe he invented some new mouse trap. On those days — and every day — be like Oscar: Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t have.

Bruce Case is president of Case Design/Remodeling, in Bethesda, Md.

More REMODELING articles about achieving business success:

Find Your Focus for Business Success

Making Changes to Your Business to Ensure Success by Retaining Great Staff & Attracting New Clients

Finding Success: Two Steps to Make Your Business Thrive