“I can’t seem to cope with this competition”, said my coachee in a very sad and anxious tone. I asked her what she would have liked instead?
She went into a deep thought and said she has been very competitive since childhood and has won many awards, got some of the best job offers, and even silently wished that her kids be the toppers in their class…. With a hint of a smile, she said, competing and doing good makes me feel good about myself; it was always about personal excellence, but now it seems to drain my energies.
With the ongoing Olympics as a backdrop, I asked her if she was competing in the right category…. there was something about this analogy that struck a chord in her and made her leap with the joy of sudden realization!
Her response became a source of inspiration for today’s musings, since it got me thinking how one perceives competition, its upside & downside, and the impact of one’s competitive nature on others.
Here are 3 self-reflective themes to help us understand our love-hate relation with ‘competition’…
- What is your key motivator?
It’s important to understand why we are drawn to competition. Are our drivers intrinsic or extrinsic in nature?
Extrinsic motivators such as free tickets, free trips, more money, etc. are short lived and give short term happiness… Intrinsic motivators like personal growth to be a better leader, competing for a cause, representing your company/country/community, are purpose driven and would generally help in choosing the ‘right category’ to compete, just like my coachee…
- What is your emotional response?
How does competition make us feel? Does it make us anxious & scared or excited & energized?
Not everyone thrives in a competitive environment, so it’s super critical to understand one’s temperament and choose the right environment, rather than falling prey to peer pressure, parent’s expectations or societal norms.
- What is the impact of your competitive nature?
Competitive nature is a good parameter in building perceptions about individuals.
I have generally found that people driven by extrinsic motivation are self-oriented and those energized by intrinsic motivation are team-oriented.
Do share with me, your love-hate experiences with competition…
Competition at its base is what has driven us as a species to survive. It drives biological and psychological evolution — a clinical psychology study report.
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Stay safe & Keep growing!