Please Stop Looking At Everything As A Competition
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.
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.
- Has been shown to increase productivity
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…
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.