The Winning Helix – Coach yourself to win!

The art of learning and manifesting your true potential

  • A Guidebook that helps you to learn and to win!

    “The purpose of the Winning Helix is to help people, individuals, teams and organizations, who have the willingness to learn and develop, constantly improve their skills and strive towards higher achievements.”
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  • “'Tis so much joy! 'Tis so much joy! If I should fail, what poverty! And yet, as poor as I Have ventured all upon a throw; Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so this side the victory!”
    - Emily Dickinson
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The Birth Of A Book

Posted by Cristina Andersson on September 4, 2012

“But do you know the real reason why it feels so good to stand at the top of yourself – why nothing else seems so right for us as when we accomplish what we will?

The answer is surprisingly simple:

Just as it is our natural need to drink water, to sleep and to breathe – so are we created to “win”. This idea is much, much more than positive thinking. You see, victory (in life) isn’t just an outcome, it’s actually a special part of us – something celestial sown deep into the core of our very being. And just as there can be no real substitute for a drink of water on a sweltering summer day, the same holds true for that part of our heart that would explore and celebrate its own native excellence: there is no substitute for its victory over life. – Guy Finley”

On the threshold of the new millennia I felt exhausted. I had a great job as a business consultant where I was able to fulfill my professional ambitions. I felt that I was blessed with a chance to work with issues I felt passion for; learning and strategic business development. I met wonderful and interesting people to share ideas with, not only about business, but about the mysteries of the human life as well; often on a very personal level, which made my work even more exiting and fulfilling. Besides my professional ambitions, I felt most of the time that I was able to fulfill my life’s purpose; to bring joy to people’s lives.

Nevertheless I felt exhausted, and worse; indifferent and uninterested about people around my work. Discovering my impassivity was a shock; I had lost my interest to the part of my job I loved the most. I also felt that my work did not serve my customers needs as well as I wanted..

One of the darkest moments of my professional life was a morning when I woke up with an awful feeling of indifference. With empty eyes I opened my calendar to check the tasks for the day, knowing perfectly well that I was invited to give a lecture about learning, but hoping that it would have disappeared in some mysterious way. Unwillingly I packed myself into the car and drove to the Fair Center. There they were; hundreds of people waiting for me to take the floor and elevate their minds up to the heaven of learning.

Glancing at the audience before me I panicked; I was sure that everybody had already heard my lectures and they pitied me thinking: “poor woman, is she ever going to have anything new to say, she has been playing that same record over and over again for years now”. The truth is that I knew no one from the audience. During the entire lecture I felt a peculiar feeling of “couldn’t care less” hanging around me. After the lecture many people came to thank me. They were to my surprise seemingly interested and asked further questions about me and my topic. “They didn’t notice” I quietly sighed, but didn’t feel very proud about myself either.

That day was an important milestone of my working life. A few months later I decided to take a year off and concentrate on my big love; singing and arts.

Ice-hockey is a national sport in Finland and among many others I am a devoted hockey-fan. During my busy years I however did not have a chance to watch the games. Therefore the first thing I did when my year off began, was to buy season tickets for me and my family to our favorite hockey-team Jokerit’s games.  Gradually I was more and more involved with Jokerit, ending up as a chief-editor of the fan-magazine and developing the fan-activities for two seasons.

Apart from ice-hockey I spent my year studying. I took lessons in singing and courses in acting, history of arts and poetry. I also gave some concerts and sang whenever I had a chance. I immersed into the world of my favorite composer Richard Wagner, watching his operas when ever I had a chance, reading his books and books about him and spending hours after hours listening to the recordings of his operas, and naturally singing his works.

I tried to give up thinking about my work. I couldn’t however stop the disturbing images emerge in my mind, and I had to start analyzing “what went wrong, where did the enthusiasm disappear?”

Finally I crystallized the problem into a phrase that sounds like a paradox: “the learning processes did not result in necessary organizational change, although they did bring about the desired learning results and people felt good about the process.” The real change required eventually an intervention from the management, which usually did not make the people very happy.

“the learning processes did not result in necessary organizational change although they did bring about the desired learning results and the people felt good about the process.”

 With great difficulty and anxiety I began to study what this phrase, my own thought, meant. The problem was complex and learning to understand it required hard thinking, but I knew it was right, the phrase was true.

During the period of analyzing my professional past I used to blame myself for lack of understanding, lack of experience, lack of knowledge – for lack of everything possible.  My customers had however always been satisfied with my services, a fact that must have meant that I was not a total failure.

“Two basic rules of life are: 1) Change is inevitable. 2) Everybody resists change.” W. Edwards Deming

 W. Edwards Deming is my “guru” in learning and quality issues and reading his book “Out of the crisis” is a neverending adventure into the realm of knowledge and wisdom of a man who knew how to think. Although I agree with point number one of the quotation above, I am not so sure about the second one. I have met people with true willingness to learn and change.

Some other reasons I figured out to be obstacles for change:

  • The learning process did not meet with the real needs of change needed in the organization.
  • People were resisting change or ignoring the need to change.
  • There was not enough support from the management for the change to really happen.
  • The training programs provided a lot of knowledge, but didn’t prepare to execute the change and confront its consequences.
  • Learning was assumed complete when the training-programs were concluded.

And finally my naïve and simple statement:

  • People and companies are not prepared to win – they don’t want to win, they rather focus on surviving.

 People are not prepared to win. It is more important to feel safe and protected.

When I for the first time spoke out this idea, naively, with a childish voice, I felt funny. I thought that “the people don’t want to win” cannot be a real issue. At the same time an inner voice whispered that there is something in it, something deserving more thought.

Beginning the study

Discovering these obstacles I embarked upon studying what winning is. I tried to find out whether winning is the missing thought I had been looking for. I found some literature to study, but those books didn’t treat the subject from a viewpoint of learning, at least not enough nor in a way that I would have had my questions answered. Many books also presented the ideas of winning and learning by listing different ‘commandments’, which were as such useful, but I assumed that following ‘commandments’ doesn’t necessarily lead into a process that would combine the key elements of any true success, namely action and learning.

To find further knowledge about winning I sent an email inquiry to 70 persons with different professional backgrounds and asked them to answer three questions:

  • What do you consider winning? Under what conditions would you call an experience a “winning” experience.
  • What kind of experiences do you personally have about winning?
  • What kinds of qualities do those people or groups you consider winners, have?

I received an answer from 35 persons. It was amazing to find out how vast the world of winning is. People had experienced winning in sports, in work, family relationships, school etc. Maybe the most surprising winning experience was the story of a middle aged man. This man said that he had felt a peculiar feeling of winning while standing at his fathers open grave in the funeral. His emotion was so strong that he burst in tears. Never before had he shown his emotions so openly. The sad situation forced him to open up and in the middle of all grief and sadness he felt like winning because he had crossed a huge life-restricting limit in him.

 “I don’t like the idea of winning, it means that you have to beat someone else. That is not very nice, is it? However it would be great if team Finland could beat the Swedes in the ice-hockey world championship tournament…” email comment

The response was encouraging. Controversial attitudes towards winning and the way people communicated their desire to experience winning allowed me to think that I certainly must be on the right track. I figured that winning is the key to success and by studying winning I would find the recipe for successful learning and performing. The next step was to meet and discuss with people who have experienced peak-performance and winning in challenging situations.

My activities with Jokerit hockey-team gave me a good chance to discuss winning, learning and coaching with professional athletes and coaches. As a contribution for my study Jokerit won the championship 2002 after losing their six last games of the regular season. I had the chance to follow the team rising from the deepest pit to the highest top in just a few weeks time.

Right after the victorious finals I met the captain of the team to discuss winning. My first question for him was: “You have won so many times, tell me what is winning and how does one win?” The captain answered that winning is something that just happens; one just has to let it happen.

You just have to let winning happen.

Great! There was my idea of framing winning into a reasonable theory and practice. I realized though that what the captain said was right, and

— I had to change the viewpoint of my study.  —

I understood that winning happens in a state where we don’t concentrate on winning, but rather immerse ourselves into the performance, letting our skills work automatically for the goal.

My new question was: “What kind of process is needed to lead us to the edge of winning, where we can just give in to the action and let winning happen for us”? I also understood that the attitude of winning is a mental model, which should be cultivated along the process preparing for the peak-performance.

“What kind of process is needed to lead us to the edge of winning, where we can just give in to action and let winning happen for us”

This was the beginning of a learning journey into the wonderful world of successful learning.

Later on I embarked upon observing my own singing process in order to find personal experience and meaning to the development of a skill. I carried out an introspective study which ended up with a recital with a very demanding repertoire in a concert hall with over a hundred listeners and a board of experts giving me feed-back.

The study has given me an opportunity to meet and discuss with interesting and wise people. It has also brought into my life a person who has helped me to change and make important shifts, not only as a singer but also as a human being.  This wonderful person, great musician, pianist and teacher, Collin Hansen, is following us throughout the book sharing his wisdom and valuable ideas about learning and coaching.

The Winning Helix @ Amazon


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The Winning Helix Trailer

Posted by Cristina Andersson on July 11, 2010

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Do you know how it feels to win?

Posted by Cristina Andersson on September 15, 2009

Vince Lombardi said: “Winning is not everything; it is the only thing”; a statement that he regretted later in his life and explained that actually what he meant was “Winning is not everything – but making the effort to win is.”

If I think about “Winning is not everything; it is the only thing” as a life-guiding phrase I would definitely not agree with it, but the standpoint for this article is winning as an experience and as a mental space – winning as a unique experience as a consequence of an optimal performance. During that enrapturing moment in a flow of winning it really feels that “winning is the only thing”.

During the time I wrote the book  “The Winning Helix – the art of learning and manifesting your true potential” I had a mentor with whom I could discuss everything the writing process brought into existence. We had very interesting discussions about my choices for terminology. Especially the words “winning” and “fighting spirit” irritated my mentor tremendously. She said that those words lead into bulldozing and harming other people. Though I explained my point of view and she hers, we never found an accord.

My mentor was absolutely of the opinion that the word “winning” could and should be replaced with “success”. I did not agree then and don’t agree now. In a race there can be many who succeed, but only one winner.

As a part of the research for the book I made an email inquiry which revealed that many people say they are not interested in winning and that they hate competition. It is hard to say whether this is true for everybody – someone might for fear of disappointment avoid situations where winning is an option.

The email inquiry revealed, however, that there are people who love to win and take part in events where they have a chance to win. The pursuit, the preparation and excitement culminating in a winning feeling, the “YES”, were the main reasons why these people wanted to experience winning. These people were also disappointed if they didn’t win, but many of them had learned how to deal with losing – better luck next time!

Some answers to the question “what is winning”:

  • To be the first
  • To be the best
  • To reach a measurable goal
  • To achieve a goal, be it state of mind, battle, competition
  • To win oneself
  • To win others
  • To make things click
  • To see connections between different things
  • To learn
  • To confront courageously a conflict and sort it out
  • To negotiate a good deal
  • To succeed with a challenge
  • To exceed the own limits
  • To conquer something that is difficult
  • To grow as a human being

Many of these can be signs of success too, but I believe that the winning feeling is more than success, it is the feeling when a person can for a moment feel like a king and let the vanishing thought: “I am the only one in the world who did this” hover in his/her mind.

Winning is confronting ones own uniqueness and power and, for a moment, to feel really special. Those moments are the rosebuds of life which sweeten our memories with overpowering scent.

Vincent Lombardi also said:

The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel, are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur.”

I believe he did not  regret this statement. I believe that we all have the capacity to win and feel the uniqueness of our true beings.

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Female leadership

Posted by Cristina Andersson on September 13, 2009

Can a woman become a powerful leader without becoming “one of the guys”?

One of the many topics in the Globeforum in Stockholm two years ago was the question of Female Leadership in the Emerging Markets. In the roundtable seminars the topic was widely discussed with Nordic women as facilitators. One of my comments was “What do we Finnish and Swedish women really have to give to the women in the emerging markets when we are quite accustomed to hold leading positions and when many of us have become ‘one of the guys’ abandoning our natural female way of making things click. How can we help if we have alienated from the problem?”

Law of attraction is a very popular term nowadays when the movie “The Secret” has conquered the world with it’s message of hope and positive thinking. Attraction is, to my understanding, a female force. Women are not by nature used to push things forward but rather to use different means to attract things to happen. For example when we communicate we don’t go straight forward saying: “I want a cup of coffee” but rather “Oh, how tired I am, I could really use a cup of coffee” or “what a nice coffee shop there is….”. In order to achieve higher positions in the organization women are taught to become more straightforward in their communication, they are taught to say “bring me a cup of coffee, please”.  This kind of communication is of course timesaving and efficient, that by the way everyone must be able to use in situations of emergency, but the price is that the woman loses her natural female attractiveness and gains the attraction of power instead, and eventually become one of the guys.

Law of gravity might be used as a metaphor for male leadership. Men tend to send things forward with such kick and force that the one selected target is reached without deviations and attuning operations. The people around are seen more as pawns that can be ordered and moved in the “name of the task” than individuals that could be attracted to participate an inspirational challenge. Offering a big sum of money and bonuses is a male way to gain commitment when on the other hand offering initial participation, inspiration, growth and learning is a female way to attain commitment.

Unfortunately when the number of female leaders increases in the companies the systems are not developed to support, empower and promote female leadership. The systems remain “male” and women have learned that the true appreciation and acceptance comes from reconciling oneself into the “male” system. Therefore the real change for female values, we might call those values here as “soft human values” do not take place in the companies. I worked as a business consultant for a decade and saw many ‘womanly women’ give up their womanliness and become one of the guys, for the sake of survival and success in the company. The question is: “does this kind of mental castration bring true happiness and fullness of life and does it really create better workplaces and more successful companies?”

One more question: “If we are to learn tolerance and true appreciation of diversity, are we really doing it by making everybody to fit the system? Are we really incapable of creating systems that allow people be themselves and give their best talent, true self-expression and natural creative force to serve the common good?”

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You can become an attractive winner!

Posted by Cristina Andersson on September 6, 2009

It is all about attention. Everyday there are more and more competent people who continuously create more and better products, contents and services. We simply cannot compete with mere skills and degrees any longer. We need to learn how to attract people’s attention towards us. Michael Goldhaber says:

“In the attention economy, you obtain wealth, that is attention by expressing yourself, putting your real self forward as much as possible. Your property, what is proper to you, is what you can get attention for, and that you must put out in public. The more you gain attention for what you do, the more witnesses you have that what you want to say comes from you, that you have priority, and so by getting attention at the earliest possible moment for what you want to express, you retain attention and ownership of that attention. Any one who copies you is turning their audience over to you, and thereby doing you a favor. Even anyone who tries to malign you or distort what you are saying calls attention to you in the process.”

The Law of the attraction guru’s say that the power to attract is a capability you create for you and inside you. Like attract like! Do you want to attract winning results into your career and life. Here is a list from Thomas J. Leonard in The Portable Coach: 28 Sure Fire Strategies For Business And Personal Success . Thomas gives us 28 great tips how to become more attractive:

  1. Become Incredibly Selfish.  Without You, there is nothing and attraction isn’t possible.
  2. Unhook Yourself from the Future.  Attraction works in the present, not in the future.
  3. Overrespond to Every Event.  By overresponding rather than overreacting, you evolve, which is very attractive.
  4. Build a Superreserve in Every Area.  Having enough is not nearly enough for You to be irresistibly attractive.
  5. Add Value Just for the Joy of It.  When you add value because you enjoy it, people are naturally attracted to You.
  6. Affect Others Profoundly.  The more you touch others, the more attractive you’ll become.
  7. Market Your Talents Shamelessly.  If you’re embarrassed about what you do, you won’t be very attractive.
  8. Become Irresistibly Attractive to Yourself.  How can you attract others if you don’t feel irresistibly attracted to yourself?
  9. Get a Fulfilling Life, not just an Impressive Lifestyle.  A great life is attractive;  a lifestyle is usually seductive.
  10. Promise Little, Deliver Everything.  When you consistently deliver more than was expected, new customers are drawn to you.
  11. Create a Vacuum that Pulls You Forward.  Being pulled forward is attractive;  pushing yourself forward isn’t.
  12. Eliminate Delay.  Time is expensive;  using too much is very unattractive.
  13. Get Your Personal Needs Met, Once and for All.  If you have unmet needs, you’ll attract others in the same position.
  14. Thrive on the Details.  Subtleties, details, and nuances are more attractive than the obvious.
  15. Tolerate Nothing.  When you put up with something, it costs you;  unnecessary costs are unattractive.
  16. Show Others How to Please You.  Don’t make them guess.
  17. Endorse Your Worst Weakness.  When you can accept and honor the worst part of yourself, you’re more accepting of others.
  18. Sensitize Yourself.  The more you feel, the more you’ll notice and respond to the many opportunities in the present.
  19. Perfect Your Environment.  The Attraction operating system is a sophisticated system and it requires a first-class environment.
  20. Develop More Character than You Need.  Integrity is not enough to become irresistibly attractive.
  21. See How Perfect the Present Really Is.  Especially when clearly it is not.
  22. Become an Unconditionally Constructive Person.  High levels of respect are very attractive.
  23. Orient Yourself Around Your Values.  When you spend your days doing what fulfills you, You are attractive.
  24. Simplify Everything.  Abandoning nonessentials leaves more room for Attraction.
  25. Master Your Craft.  The easiest way to become successful?  Become the best at what you do.
  26. Recognize and Tell the Truth.  The truth is the most attractive thing of all, but it requires skills and awareness.
  27. Have a Vision.  When you can see what’s coming, you don’t need to create a future.
  28. Be Real, Be Human.  When you are human, You are attractive

Cristina’s additions:

  • Learn and win and help others to win too, progress is attractive!
  • Care and be interested of other people, listening and caring is attractive!
  • Mobilize your energy, enthusiasm and power is attractive!

The Winning Helix says about attraction:

“To survive the jungle of attention demanding attractions the winner needs to focus, to choose the mental magnets that are beneficial and contribute the most to his process.”

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Fans – customers of a winning company

Posted by Cristina Andersson on September 2, 2009

Here are some thoughts about fans and loyal customers. I fact I believe that the era of loyal customers will be soon over. A company that strives beyond excellence, a winning company, needs to have fans who are devoted and willing to help the company to succeed. This applies already to artists, athletes and other free-lance actors.

Some years ago I had a chance to develop the fan activities for a professional sports team, the ice-hockey team Jokerit in Helsinki. The experience was very educating and gave me many ideas how the companies can enhance their customer operations in the era of attention economy.

Loyal customers are loyal — to some extent. When better service, product or lower price is offered the loyal customer transports his loyalty to the competitor. A fan doesn’t act like this — the fan tries to find solutions so that the company can do better. The fan is devoted – a fan doesn’t leave the company when the times are bad. Loyal customers require detailed information (which they don’t read after all) – the fans are ready to see the trouble to find out for themselves.

Co-operation with fans provide true opportunities to make business fun and to flourish with innovation and new ideas. The fans want the company to succeed. The loyal customer takes what is offered without giving so much back nor intelligence – or emotion-wise.

The fan dynamics are fascinating and interesting. People do things for the benefit of the team and enjoy doing it. Why wouldn’t this be true to any company? After all a professional hockey-team is a company like any other company.

I developed the fan-activities at the time I was writing my book “The Winning Helix – the art of learning and manifesting your true potential”. The hockey players and coaches provided me valuable information about preparing to win. I had the great chance to follow both the team and their fans and understand how the interaction works and what makes the fan tick.

We are already wittnessing the development where the fans form the core-customer group of the companies that aim to win. A Winning Company needs individuals, ideas and actions that can attract the attention of the customers and that enables to cultivate the relationship from loyal customers to devoted fans.

(The article was first published in the Nostringsattached magazine in 2007)

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Winning + Excellence + Learning = Great Victories!

Posted by Cristina Andersson on July 14, 2009

Great victories are gained by those who have a winning mind, excellence in their actions and practice and who learn constantly to persistently develop themselves.

Action-learning is a concept that many of us are familiar with. When we bestow our action-learning loop with a virtue of winning we will create a process that not only helps us to achieve results that we want but also to turn the stages of transition to procreative periods of growth.

The Winning Helix – the thriving confluence of action and learning

During my years working as a business consultant I often cerebrated the question why the learning processes did not result in necessary organizational change, although they did bring about the desired learning results and people felt good about the process. The real change required eventually an intervention from the management. What was learned did not seem to be adequate with the real strategic and operational needs of the company.

Among several other reasons that I found hindering the effective unison between action and learning I discovered one that caught my interest enough to embark upon a study:

”People and companies are not prepared to win – they don’t want to win, they rather focus on surviving.”

What I thought was that the people would benefit from a system for learning that would help them to turn the random steps of development into a purposeful movement towards the direction of their goals.

My research that included, apart from the traditional methods, an introspective study of my own development as a singer, a co-operation with a coach and the activities with a hockey-team and its fan-club resulted in a process model that combines the winning attitude with an intensive action-learning process. As a metaphor for the process I found the Dna-doublehelix that appeared to be genius and illustrating exactly all those different aspects of learning that I had in mind.

The action-learning doublehelix is intended to serve two main purposes of learning and growth:

  • To reach the peak-performance and develop it qualitatively
  • To make shifts to higher levels of skill through transition

The study also helped me to understand the varying emotional frequencies during the process. The recognition of these frequencies helps the learner to get attuned into the mood that is most beneficial in order to accomplish a learning task or a performance task.

Five elements that turn the action-learning loop to a Winning Doublehelix

  1. Willpower furnished with the power of volition and the authority of intention
  2. Mental Virtues that invest the action-learning process with winning, optimal experience and fighting spirit – the powers of vision, trust and mental demand.
  3. Coachability Skills that enhance learning making it effective, courageous and intense – and fun too.
  4. The Learning Wheel – a theory combining the different aspects of learning that focuses on developing and improving the performance.
  5. The Mobilization of Energy to create a match between the mood of the learner/performer and the task at hand.

The key result of the study is “you will get what you order”. If in the very beginning of the learning endeavor you start to encode your process with winning learngrams. If you continuously strive for excellence in everything that you learn and do; that is exactly what you will get – great victories!

Adopting the action-learning doublehelix as a personal learning environment you will gain understanding how everything is related, and which learning steps and moves benefit the most to the development of your skill as well as to your personal growth.

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