Success Stories – How To Win Without Winning

Josh Ripley - picture by Jeff McKeefy

Jeff McKeefy – ABC News

If you know me, you know I love hearing a good success story! And as a speaker, I get to hear of and speak of many success stories. Here's just one of those stories that I love to share. This one really connects with me because I also love running.

Success Stories — When Winning Involves Losing

Josh Ripley ran the race of his life, yet placed 211th out of 261 runners.

Even more amazing, the coach and team members from a rival team greeted him at the finish line with clapping and cheers, yet they were not mocking his near dead-last finish. Instead, they were thanking him.

I'll let Josh explain what happened during this high school cross-country race in suburban Minnesota:

“I had heard this scream, and as I rounded a corner, he came into view. He was against a fence holding his ankle, and it was bleeding pretty badly.

“I picked him up and ran with him in my arms. I asked if I could say a prayer for him, and he said that was fine. And I just tried to reassure him that everything would be OK.”

As reported:

It was quite a sight when the two runners finally rounded into the view of their coaches. There was the 6-foot-5, 185-pound Josh, from Andover High School, cradling the 5-foot-5, 100-pound Mark, a freshman at Lakeville South H.S., in his arms.

In fact, Scott Clark, Josh's coach said: “I am waiting for all my kids to go running by, and there is no Josh, no Josh. I was wondering, ‘What was going on? Why was he so far back?' Then I see Josh. … He's got the kid in his arms, like you would carry a youngster.”

After carrying Mark a quarter-mile back to the starting line, Josh returned to the race and passed 50 runners to place 211th. Mark, who was taken to the hospital and received 20 stitches in his ankle, said, “I'm just incredibly grateful for what Josh did.” As for his part, Josh deflected any talk of heroism. “I just did the right thing.”

Can you see why I'm adding this to my list of success stories?

In my book, Josh is a winner even though he came in 211th place. He's a winner because he knows that one of the keys to success is learning to “serve” and “add value.”

Yet, let me be clear…there are many ways to “serve” and “add value.”

Winning a race equals success because it “serves” and “adds value” to your team. But in this case, helping a fellow runner in need also equals success because it is “serving” and “adding value” to that person's life and “serving” and “adding value” to the opposing team (not to mention your own team, the crowd, the community, and more!)

Bottom line…there were many people who experienced true success during that race.

  • The winner of the race.
  • The runner who played a specific role during the race that he was asked to play by his coach.
  • Josh, who helped out a fellow runner in need.
  • The parents and role models who invested in a runner like Josh.
  • And the list could go on and on and on…

One of the things that all these people who experienced true success during this race have in common is that they each know one of the keys to success is “serving” and “adding value.”

Go to to read all of Josh's story.

Photography Copyright: StockUnlimited

Want More? 7 Traits of People Who Make a Positive Difference

“Success” is a word that is thrown around quite a bit. Is real success making it to the top, earning a bunch of money, becoming famous, winning awards, or something else?

Success can include all the things listed above and more, but one major ingredient to real success is making a positive difference in the lives of others. As my friend Joe Martin once said, “I want to do well for myself in my career and finances while doing good for others.” That sounds like a winning strategy to me!

So how can you do well for yourself while making a positive difference in the lives of others? This FREE RESOURCE shares seven characteristics of people who make a difference.