Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Healthy Versus Unhealthy Competition. The Key Differences.

I do not consider myself a competitive person. However, like many people, I enjoy succeeding and knowing I did well. In talking with a client the other day – someone who categorized herself as extremely competitive – I began thinking about how a competitive spirit can be detrimental to both your career and your personal life.

To some, healthy competition is a bit of an oxymoron. We have moved toward raising our children in an “everyone’s a winner” society. However, I believe competition and ultimately failure – when taken in healthy doses – can actually be good for you. This is why my husband and I play our best when playing games with our children. Everyone needs to know how it feels to lose, lose gracefully, learn from mistakes, and get back in the game.

Here are some ways that you can help yourself distinguish between healthy and unhealthy competition.

Healthy Competition:
- encourages the people involved to strive further and push themselves harder than they would have without competition.

- drives you to achieve more growth and success – not because you are driven to win or lose – but because you are doing your best at something that you care about.

- changes the boundaries of what you believe you are capable of and stretches the limits of what you believe is possible.

- requires the courage to take risks, requires the willingness to fail, and necessitates a vulnerability to admit you are ambitious to succeed.

- makes you feel proud of yourself for trying – no matter the outcome.

Unhealthy Competition:
- causes you to feel negatively about other peoples’ successes as opposed to motivated or inspired.

- happens when you wish for others to have obstacles or limitations so that they are held back.

- causes you to feel shame when you lose or fail.

- motivates you to seek competitors who are naturally weaker than you, so that you will feel the advantage.

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