There is a show currently running where the main character is a believer against all odds (even the worst ones). He can be an eternal optimist, which sounds a bit teeth-grinding to me, but can be such a breath of fresh air after a day full of challenges. The more I reflect on my own life and some of what keeps me going, I can conclude that it’s hope that makes optimism attractive. We have faith that a change will come, so we keep up an attitude to match our thought.
This character has some memorable quotes, and the one that stuck with me was something like:
“We might not have won but we have succeeded.”
What an amazing perspective about the race of life. Society today prizes speed, total independence, voracity, and material signs of prosperity. The winner takes it all. I don’t support consolation trophies for those who don’t win, but I do believe that we should always take time to celebrate the worth of those that didn’t have the competitive edge. Someone did that for me and it definitely made a difference.
Long story short, I was in a competition for a promotion and they gave it to someone else. It didn’t feel too good. Yet this leader initiated a meeting to tell me that I was valued and noticed. I was extremely impressed that this person took time from their day to reach out and tell me that I was supported. Not only did this impact my thoughts about myself but about the commitment to leadership and their people from this boss.
In that occasion I didn’t win, but as time passed and other opportunities for learning and growing came up, I was able to see that I had still succeeded. I had been a valuable competitor and still was performing above my paygrade. I had also realized certain areas where I needed to invest more time in, without punishing myself. The perspective helped me have a good attitude about possible growth and learn to leverage the strengths of our team for my own development and our team goals.
In our life, we will always see someone doing a lot more than we are doing. (I just heard of an executive who has two sets of school-aged twins and just got a PhD!) We won’t be able to get all the things we go after, and because of this, we should always remember where we did succeed. The competition will always be there so the most important thing is outdoing ourselves. Our strengths might need some fine-tuning, but they still bring us great value and help us to win in different areas at different moments.
Healthy competition is about bringing our best foot forward to the platform and perform. Most competitions are about getting our opponent to their knees. While it is true that understanding our opponents’ weaknesses can give us an upper hand, our potential should not be limited by what others can do better than us. We shouldn’t live constantly vigilant of what others are doing: then are you living your life or a modification of theirs? Our focus needs to be to do the best we can do. That is the true win. You are your greatest competition.