The Good and Bad of Competition

Competition...A Part of Life

Competition is a part of our life, both personally and professionally, but sometimes it gets a bad rap. Personally we tend to compete with ourselves or base our present performance on past results. Professionally, there are endless areas to compare our work, personality and results with with, especially on social media. We get stuck on the term because there are areas of competition that can bring fear, conflict and reveal a lack of preparedness. Some who are reading this article love to compete as it’s what drives them. However, others resist the word competition, along with anything that feels like a challenge. In restarting or building a business, an unhealthy competition mindset can take over, especially if comparison to others is added to the equation. We will approach both the benefits of competition and the unhealthy mindsets and results of competition in this article.

8-27-19
Women at Halftime by Deborah Johnson The Good and Bad of Competition 8-27-19
00:00:00 00:00:00

Advantages of Competition

I feel there are definitely some great advantages to the spirit of competition. This is especially true if you hit a plateau. (See: What to Do When You Hit a Plateau) In my training as a concert pianist, competition acted as a goal-setting device. I didn’t start studying the classics seriously until I entered high school, then my instructor entered me into most every competition available in our area. Competing was actually a requirement to study in her studio. In retrospect, I did not take this as seriously as I should have when I began studying with this particular instructor. I discovered the shame and embarrassment when showing up unprepared. In one of my first competitions, I had focused more on getting my hair done at the beauty school and purchasing a new dress at the Los Angeles fashion mart than preparing my composition. It was fortunate my instructor didn’t drop me flat, then and there.

Cookie Cutter Clone-Competition

I feel there are definitely some great advantages to the spirit of competition. This is especially true if you hit a plateau. (See: What to Do When You Hit a Plateau) In my training as a concert pianist, competition acted as a goal-setting device. I didn’t start studying the classics seriously until I entered high school, then my instructor entered me into most every competition available in our area. Competing was actually a requirement to study in her studio. In retrospect, I did not take this as seriously as I should have when I began studying with this particular instructor. I discovered the shame and embarrassment when showing up unprepared. In one of my first competitions, I had focused more on getting my hair done at the beauty school and purchasing a new dress at the Los Angeles fashion mart than preparing my composition. It was fortunate my instructor didn’t drop me flat, then and there.

The swimmer Michael Phelps, with 28 medals to date, competes with himself more than anyone else. I think this is a great mindset. He says, If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do. I take this a little further as I see many who are just copy-cats, taking short-cuts to achieving a short-term success. You will quickly come to a dead end if you’re a cookie-cutter clone. Phelps also said, You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get. (See: How to be Proactive not Reactive) There’s a lot of philosophical debate around that phrase, but I choose to focus on removing our self-limiting beliefs. Also, the fact that Phelps has a selected listening list when he switches to deep concentration mode confirms the importance of choosing our intake wisely. What goes in will eventually work its way out.

Even when listening to a band, watch when each member takes a solo. Believe it or not, they are either competing with themselves or playing catch back and forth with another member as they trade off playing with a bit more virtuosity with each pass. It is tremendous fun, both to watch and to participate!

The Straw Person

Something I have to personally remind myself of is that I don’t need to compete with others at this stage of my life. There is plenty of room for everyone with multiple gifts and abilities. I can so easily create a straw person as my competition that is so very perfect in many ways, already running a huge business and having an impact I can only imagine. That is a totally unrealistic thought, but it still creeps in my mindset now and then! If I stay within my lane, using my unique gifts and focus on the mission I feel I’m personally called to, that is where I will be most successful, and thus, most fulfilled as a bonus! To empower women at the halftime of their life to use their transferable skills, resources and talent for impact, enjoyment and significance to make their second half even better than their first absolutely drives me. (See: The Market Value of Your Strengths at Halftime)

Five main principles about competition to remember.

Principle One: There is value in true healthy competition. Don’t discount competition completely as it can help you, especially in pushing you to set and complete goals.

Principle Two: Set achievable and measurable goals to create healthy competition, whether you will be competing against yourself or others. Keep track of your personal wins, no matter how small—it will spur you on!

Principle Three: Create positive intake, even down to your listening list as Michael Phelps does before every competition. Remember: garbage in, garbage out is not just an old-fashioned saying your mom told you!

Principle Four: You will never live up to a straw person, so don’t try. In fact, don’t create one to begin with! You are unique and have valuable transferrable skills that are uniquely yours. Find them, then own them!

Principle Five: Stay in your lane of expertise. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to learn and grow. But you don’t need to try to be someone else to be successful. This is especially dangerous as we play the comparison game on social-media. Be you—wonderful you!

Get your FREE Side Business Template here: https://GoalsForYourLife.com/sidebusinesstemplate

876 words

About the Author:

DEBORAH JOHNSON, M.A., creator of Hero Mountain™® and President of Los Angeles National Speakers Association, is an international award-winning music artist, author, speaker and National Media Commentator. Deborah provides principles to produce a successful second half, creating momentum and getting unstuck, reaching expansive goals and a desired lifestyle. Up for multiple GRAMMY Awards and spending over 20 years in the entertainment industry, she's an expert on how to constantly reinvent yourself in a gig-economy. She is also the recipient of the 2018 Women's Economic Forum Exceptional Women of Excellence Award. Deborah is the author of Stuck is Not a Four Letter Word, Bad Code and Women at Halftime. She speaks and performs in both live and virtual events.