This morning I woke up early and hit the gym. While on the treadmill I decided to push myself to start training for our half marathon later this spring. As I was logging my miles I decided to really push myself hard and see how well I could do an interval workout and see just how high I could push my ticker. Even though it hurt like hell by the end I was able to log a new high which made me smile to myself. I’d just been competitive with myself and used it in a very positive way – to push myself further than I would have normally pushed myself.
Not more than four hours later I was sitting in a room with a few thousand of my Express cohorts. During the presentation there were several awards handed out and much recognition given and I caught myself letting my competitive tendencies start to pull me in the wrong direction. Instead of taking time to be happy for the winners and celebrate with them I started thinking of what I needed to change to win the awards in the future. I started coming up with all types of goals and strategies to help me win next year… and then I caught myself. I was letting myself get into a competition just for the sake of competition. Even though in some cases it would be very counter productive to what I want out of life. I was letting competition bring out my worst and pull me away from what I want most.
Throughout the day I kept coming back to these two experiences and several others. It’s interesting to start to see where being competitive has served me so well. So many things I’ve accomplished that I would not have. On the flip side, so many times when I’ve failed at something it’s because I was competitive in a direction or manner that was so counter productive to my long term goals and dreams.
In analyzing those situations, good and bad, it was interesting to see what the big difference is between positive and negative experiences related to competition. If I take the time to pause when I feel the competitive juices start flowing I can measure out the potential task and win against what I want for the long term. If it is a match (like a crazy hard run) I can run with it. If it isn’t on my radar or pulls me away from my dreams and goals (changing strategy merely to win an award that in of itself has no bearing on the accomplishment of my dreams) I need to smile at myself and bow out. In some ways I could even say that I was just competing against myself and winning is sometimes in saying no 😉 Hmmm….
By taking the time to really think more deeply about this today I’m hopeful to save myself from future mistakes and failures while pushing myself harder in the right directions. I know I won’t be perfect at it, but after today I know I’m learning and will do better than I have in the past… and that’s something I’m very grateful for.