Hey On, the Scene Readers – I must thank you for following On the Scene and engaging! Your feedback via mail, e-mail and social media keeps us going and inspired. We also understand that inspiration can quickly turn to competition. Yet, in our talks around the office and on the scene, we have yet to decide if competition is a good or bad thing. Do you remember playing UNO at lunchtime? Those Draw 4’s and Reverses could quickly ruin a friendship on the playground for the afternoon. In comparison, today, we see overly competitive spirits ruining businesses, relationships and communities.
In this dog-eat-dog world, especially in Black and brown communities, it seems like too many of us are competing aggressively and tirelessly without reason. Here is an opportunity for us to understand the positive impact of friendly competition. We know that Rome was not built in a day, but we should also be reminded that Rome was not built by one person or clique either. It took the entire community working together on one accord with a common interest. Yet, there is a place for healthy competition.
A Competitive Spirit Gives You an Edge – Having a competition spirit gives you an edge in the marketplace and in your personal life. Competitive people tend to be more fun, adventurous, and ready to conquer the world. This is an asset that makes you valuable on important projects and in mastermind groups. However, in many regards, the “Participation Trophy” killed the concept of competition and gives an entire generation a sense of entitlement. We must stop giving out awards for showing up because as we must always endeavor to show up, be present and win! Winning can include giving great answers, providing insight, and showing others how to master their craft. When cultivated properly, winning is a tool for inspiration not a weapon for destruction.
A Competitive Spirit Increases Your Confidence – When you compete and you win, your confidence is increased. As a youth, I suffered from low self-esteem, but I masked it well. I hid my insecurities in a variety of ways, like being outspoken and hanging with large amounts of people so I could blend, but inside I lacked confidence. I eventually learned how exercising my competitive spirit and winning led to increased confidence. And when you are confident, you can say less and stand alone when needed, and the right people will be attracted to your self-assurance.
A Competitive Spirit Motivates Your Development – We have all heard the phrase “I am my biggest competition.” This may be true but when you compete beyond your circle of influence, you are forced to develop. The concept of competing with yourself, your best self, the version you were yesterday is fine and dandy, but at the end of the day, recognizing your competition in the marketplace could very well be the push you need to take you to the next level. I have heard people say they ignore trends in their industry because they want to do things differently, but you can’t claim to innovate if you don’t know what’s out there.
Success requires that we dedicate energy to working on being the best in our field. This is competition not comparison. Competition is about putting in the work to succeed and bringing your authenticity to it. We must be mindful of this difference. When others in our field are winning, it should be motivation as to what is possible allowing us to learn and implement new tactics, better asses feedback and develop strategies for success. On the other hand, or extreme, being hyper competitive can breed frustration and an obsession with someone else’s work can block your own creativity and originality, causing you to crack under the pressure. There must be a balance.
Competition is great to stay motivated in other aspects of your life. Sports can be a wonderful outlet for expressing that competitive spirit with the extra benefit of improved physical health. Games are a fun way to spend time with loved ones and laugh while expressing our competitiveness in a healthy way. And if you are looking for some complete fun On the Scene, I recommend Gigi’s Music Cafe Spades Tournament. The tournament is this Saturday, May 5, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit The Autism Foundation. Grand Prize is $500, so the stakes are a little higher than UNO at recess. This is an opportunity to be a part of watch the competitive spirit at work. There will be tons of trash talking to go around. The kitchen and bar are open and it’s a good time for all. I will be there with my spades partner, so join us for good food, drinks and lots of healthy competition amongst friends.
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