“My greatest competition is, well, me.”
~ R Kelly
Who are you in competition with?
I have found that I am probably my biggest competitor. I am always looking to beat my personal best. When I went back to college a few years ago, I had to get straight “A”s to prove to myself that I am smarter than who I thought I was. When I was going to my workout classes at a local gym, I had to beat my own time when it came to my endurance in the plank position. More recently, I ran four miles for the first time in my life. It was a goal I had set a few weeks ago and have now been able to run a four mile course on three separate occasions which is absolutely incredible to me (considering I just took up running less than two years ago). Running those four miles that first time about killed me but I was not going to lose to myself!
I have never pictured myself as a competitive person… I never played formal sports… I never played chess (or even checkers for that matter). I never was interested in being better than someone else but as I look back, I always wanted to be better than my current self… to push myself to greater endurance… greater strength…greater skill… greater intelligence. I forced myself to learn how to play more complex songs when I was taking organ lessons as a young girl… I wanted more badges and pins on my Girl Scout sash… I wanted to master advanced jump roping skills on the playground at recess.
I set my goal to run four miles when my three mile run started to feel easy. When I am not in demand of myself, I get lazy. When I am not stretching myself mentally or physically or when things feel status quo, I become a bit complacent and my natural enthusiastic personality begins t0 wane.
I do not need to compete in races with others because my race is within…
I believe it is my competition with myself that has served me well in my career. I did not have to compete with others for more responsibilities or leadership roles… it occurred naturally as I honed new skills and deepened my knowledge and business acumen…always seeking to improve my personal best.
There are times that I stumbled in my race over the course of my career. Sometimes my competitive training had to slow down or halt due to varying transitions in my life – family, personal injury/illness or changing job responsibilities. When looking back over my career (and life), this is what I have learned:
- When I stumble, I need to stand up, brush myself off, find secure footing and move forward one step at a time.
- Sometimes if I fall hard, I need to find the tools and support to get myself upright again. Those tools and support can be friends, family, co-workers, coaches, mentors, classes and books.
- When the track I am on is full of potholes and I am constantly slipping and sliding through the muck, I need to decide if that is the best route I want to be running on or if a new track is a better solution.
What have you learned when competing with yourself?