Please Stop Looking At Everything As A Competition

I’m tired.

I’m tired of wanting… no needing… to be the best.

Why does everything have to be a competition?

Why do I always make a mental note of who did better and worst?

Why do I allow my heart to race and my palms to get sweaty at things most people wouldn’t?

Why can’t I just have fun?

Will you allow me to get a few things off my chest today?

And yes, we’re going to get personal.

You see, I’ve been open about my competitive drive. I am not the kind of person who pretends not to care.

I care… about everything.

I can’t tell you when it first started, I feel as if I have always been competitive.

Which makes me wonder if competition is a hereditary trait or learned? <– I am currently researching!

I can remember running around on the playground and wanting to be the fastest girl. I can remember working really hard to be awarded the Presidential Fitness Award when I was in 5th grade… 1 of only 2 girls at my school.

When I was a cheerleader in high school, I was in a jumping competition at camp… I was in the bathroom just minutes before from nerves.

I can remember feeling anxious about getting tests back, wanting to have a better grade than my friends. Report cards… it was all A’s. Not sure what I would have done if it hadn’t been.

Okay, yes I do.

Is My Life Ruined?

When I got my first (and only) C in college, I had a break down. I thought my life was over and there was no way I would be accepted to med school with a C in Organic Chemistry.

Anxiety, depression… yea, sick. Luckily, my mom has always been one to bring me back down to earth during these “Earth Shattering Events”,

Each time I had a performance attack, she would ask… “is my life going to be ruined?” Of course it wasn’t.

But here’s the thing… no matter how competitive I was/am… I’m not the best.

I never have been. I didn’t graduate #1 in my class, I wasn’t a stand out athlete, and today I am not the top trainer in the country.

I’m me.

So then, why do I let competition be a huge driving force in my life?

I’m not in the least bit narcissistic or ego driven. To me, my competition is purely internalized…

I am at competition with myself.


Here’s another story… a more recent one.

Dan and I have a trail race coming up in just 2 weeks. And he’s actually been training.

Dan is competitive, but I think we would agree that his competitive blood doesn’t run as deep as mine. He chooses his competitive battles, while I for some reason, see EVERYTHING as a competition.

He thinks I’m crazy and hilarious, so he’s made it his goal to beat me for this race.


Just typing that makes me sick to my stomach. My competitive OCD mind is already going into overdrive as I can’t help but have thoughts like…

  • “Can he beat me?”
  • “What will I do if he does?” (I won’t be mad at him, but at myself)
  • “I have to make sure to get out in front first!”

You see when I race, I’m like one of those race horses that has to be in the front. If my competition gets in front of me a part of me gives up… but if I start out in front I’ll give my all to stay in front.

Told you… I’m crazy.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Confession…  I don’t do fun runs because I simply don’t want to. I want to race, I want to feel my feet push off the ground as hard as they can, I want to have an epic race.

Competition Is A Good Thing

Having a competitive spirit is a good thing, right?

After all, being competitive…

  • Means never settling.
  • I am always working to get better.
  • Helps me to be a business owner (a non competitive business owner won’t make it far, right?)
  • It shows that something matters.
  • Indicates goals.

But it can also be exhausting. And while it helps push me forward, it can also hold me back.

But Not Always…

  • I don’t often take the time to learn new skills, because I hate feeling like a newbie or having to start at ground zero. Something I am reminded of from Dan frequently. Luckily, he is the opposite so watching him have passion to learn new things all the time is extremely motivating and useful!
  • When something doesn’t go as well as planned, it can hurt my personal confidence. Multiple disappointments can really do a number on a competitive person’s view of themselves.
  • Others can get hurt and/or frustrated. Being on a team with an overly competitive person is a lot on a “just for fun” friend. I can zap the fun right out. Yes, I have done this before.
  • Others don’t always realize that competitive people aren’t directing their battle against them but at ourselves, making us come off as rude or bitchy or ego-driven. It’s not though.

It’s frustrating to be “that girl” that just can’t chill out and do things “just for fun”.


Heck, even at FitBloggin, I was trying my best to make sure I was doing the workouts perfectly and better than those around.

Learning Just For Fun

Because this has been something on my mind for a while, I’ve been working at the “just for fun” part.

There is so much going on right now in my life (and I am sure yours) that making everything a competition is too much.

It’s tiring and zaps away far too much energy that I could be putting in other areas of life.

So, I’ve been working on it.

  • Running without my GPS
  • Taking deep breaths (for some reason the power of a deep breath is mind blowing)
  • Not doing things I know I would compete with (I have only run 1 race so far this year!)

It’s about choosing battles.

Being competitive is a blessing in so many aspects, yet it can be damaging if used in the wrong areas of life.

It’s important for me to choose which areas it’s okay to bring that drive out and when I should leave it tucked away.

So let me ask you…

Are you a competitive person? How do you handle competition?

While I am a competitive person, I get over things quickly. If I have a bad race, I will be upset for an hour or so but then I “suck it up buttercup” and move on. Just motivated to do better the next go around.


  • I think the running without GPS is a great way to start! I haven’t been running with mine all that often either. I am competitive, but I don’t think super competitive. I just like to feel like I gave it my all (when the time encourages/requires it).

    • Yea, that is how I am too.. I just want to know I did my best! Run date next Thursday?

  • Thanks for sharing so honestly with this post, you never beat around the bush with your posts and I really appreciate that! I agree that the competitive side can be both helpful and hurtful. I am also the self-competitive type, I like how it pushes me to work hard but I do have to remind myself not to go overboard.

    • One of these days my honesty will get me in trouble! lol. You can always rely on my to be blunt and straight forward 🙂

  • I’m competitive, but not to that extent. I have learned that it is too stressful!

    • Haha, I love it… “not to THAT extent”. it’s way to stressful!

  • Sheena

    I’m pretty competitive… My boyfriend runs faster than me so we run at the same time but separate and secretly I’m working on my speed. Competition drives us to do better but being able turn it off so you can have a good time necessary! Except at things like work, I don’t want to turn it off there, I just wanna kick butt!

    • Yes… keep working at it and you will kick is butt! My husband and I don’t run together either. We will sometimes run at the same time but we never worry about sticking with each other, just lay out the path.

  • I have issues with this, my husband tells me all the time life isn’t a competition but yet I still want to be the best. I’m not the best at really anything but there is a part of me that just wants to be soooo badly it’s sometimes hard to contain. I know very well what you are talking about and I do need to let it go things can be for fun.

    • Cheers to competition freaks! lol. I am making it a goal to do something active just for fun. no competition allowed

  • I look at NO ONE as competition! Everyone is motivation for me! 🙂 And I hope that I am only motivation for them too! In the line of work I am in, if you see others as competition, well, you’re NOT going to make it out alive!

  • I’m a super competitive person when it comes to my career, but the least competitive person when it comes to my fitness. I only race/ workout against myself. I think I’m like your husband and pick and choose my battles. That being said, I think it’s great you recognize where competition is healthy and where it’s not. I’m continually learning that with stress!

    • Sounds like you’ve got a healthy balance! With stress, just take it one day at a time, right?

  • I could definitely tell you were competitive during the Palmetto 200 – not in trying to make us the fastest team, but with your own time and distances in comparison to the rest of the team. I can see how it would be exhausting!

    I’m really not a competitive person unless it’s something silly like a scavenger hunt, haha. I used to be much more competitive, although not in sports since I’ve always been awful at them, but I guess as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned I’m a lot happier if I don’t care so much about what others think of me. It’s really very freeing. And maybe I just didn’t get that gene? Haha, I’m one of those annoying people who’s genuinely happy for others when they win even if it means I’m losing.

    • Oh goodness, not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing you could pick up on it so quickly without even being in my van! lol. Hope all is well!

  • This is a great post. I have this same personality and admit it gets me into trouble. This is part if the reason being pregnant and competing in races is so hard. I have to accept that I will lose to people I wouldn’t have if I wasn’t prego. It’s been a struggle

    • Thanks Bryanna! I can’t imagine how I will be pregnant! Much the same I suppose!

  • i’m the girl who doesn’t care if we win or lose.. is that bad? i think it’s because i put all my energy in being competitive for my husband, that when it comes down to being competitive for myself, i just go with the flow. Although envy can creep in, which is when i need a reality slap.

    • You’re the best wife ever.

  • I can be a very competitive person and extremely hard on myself when I don’t meet my own expectations. I think being competitive in nature makes us successful, because at least it shows we really care about it and put the time and effort in (not everyone out there does…). But it’s also our downfall.

    Since being injured, I’ve realized just how important it is to be proud of the little things. I went on my first run back. It was 30 minutes. 10 of it was running. But hey, I ran 10 more minutes in that time than I ran all last month. Not far, fast, or pretty, but you gotta start somewhere. I did not beat myself up over any of it. It just… is. And I moved on :).

    You are so right though. We will never be “the best”. All we can hope for is to be our best and strive for excellence, not perfection.

    BTW, I’m really enjoying the podcasts during my stair climbing and also my run/walk. Just wanted to let ya know I’m listening!

    • I am so glad that you’re enjoying the podcast! Congrats on the run, you’re right 10 minutes is better than the past month. each workout will get stronger!

  • Kim

    I’m ultra competitive – that is the biggest reason I had to stop racing. I didn’t enter races just for fun – I entered them to win and I trained that way. My body couldn’t handle that intense training. I have run a race with each of my boys and as much as I loved the experience, it was hard. Watching people pass and beat me that I know I can beat – not easy. However, I think it was also good for me – I ran to help my son(s) and that is so much better!!!

    • I had a feeling you would similar 🙂 Don’t let us race or do a workout together! haha

  • I’m super competitive when it comes to racing. I tell myself I’m going to just have fun, but once I cross the start line it’s on. Honestly, I wish I could just let that go once in awhile and do a race for fun, and not be so hard on myself when I come up short of my expectations. Work in progress, I guess.

  • Great post! I’m actually behind you in the white tank in your photo from Fitbloggin-sad we didn’t meet! I think taking a break and learning to do things for fun is great. I always think how food and fitness shouldn’t be stressful! Fitness should be stress-relieving.

    • Oh man! I am so sorry we didn’t meet! At least I have a picture of us together! 🙂 Yes, I say that all that time that fitness should be a stress reliever, not a stress causer! Right on!

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  • I am not competitive in work, sports or keeping up with the Jones, although I am ambitious. Doesn’t seem like the two go together, but they do.

  • Marie

    You ARE the best! Believe me, you are such a positive impact and speak true to so many relevant topics. I am grateful for the day I came across your article on pull ups. You are an amazing inspiration! I know for your competitive personality you might rationalize all the compliment away but I sincerely thank you for existing. 🙂 That weighted pull up photo left me awestruck! I am so motivated. I am still working on one in good form. I can hold my chin above the bar and that was only fantasy before. You are the best you and it’s necessary to pause and let that soak in for a bit before we strive for better. Thank you. 🙂

    • That is so kind Marie, thank you! That’s awesome you can hold your chin above the bar, keep holding it and then try to go down as slowly as possible! You’ll soon be killing those pull ups 🙂 Thanks again for the kind words! Happy Sunday!

  • Laura Wilson

    I’m used to being around competitive people… nowadays, everything is a competition. Even things that doesn’t matter is.
    A little competition is normal in the workplace, but making everything a competition is just irksome.
    I deal with it by ignoring it because the person won’t stop unless you refuse to feed into it.

  • Katherine Ogden

    I’m kind of like that. Once I got a C (my first and only as well) because I didn’t get something in right on time and I was mad for a couple of hours but you just have to ignore things like that and keep moving.

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