It’s a chief tenet of the Olympian spirit – taking part is more important than winning. But how do you play in a game where everyone is actually out to win?
In this post we turn to career consultant Simon North who looks at ways in which those of us who are not naturally competitive can still take part in the competition for the greater good of those around us…
“There is something about the word and concept of competitiveness in our language and culture that has deeply ingrained in us the message that to be the winner is very important. This has caused our society quite a lot of angst over the years. There can only be one winner in a race, yet you don’t want to let the losers feel they are not successful. Competiveness is therefore a complex matter.
Bradley Wiggins has just become the first ever Briton to win the Tour de France. Just before that, Roger Federer won Wimbledon for a record-equalling seventh time. These two great competitors are now back in business at a global competition where the Olympian spirit will be co-existing with the collective competitive spirit of the participant athletes, as it does at every Games. The issue of competitiveness not only rears its head on the sporting stage but also in less obvious arenas such as the political one. Aung San Suu Kyi is an example of a political figure currently scoring victories that puts sporting achievements in the shade. What do the very different worlds that these three figures occupy tell us about competing when we’re not natural competitors?
1. Share the Load
Although Wiggins was the one to stand on the podium in the yellow jersey, he couldn’t have won the Tour without the rest of his team. His fellow Team Sky riders supported their team leader by forming a peloton around him and sharing the workload. Their reward was being part of the winning team. If you’re not the main competitor in your team at work, you can still help your team stay competitive by doing your share of the workload. Ask those co-workers who are going for glory what you can do today to help.
2. Contribute Your Skills
Like all top tennis players, Federer travels to tournaments not by himself but with a whole support network in tow. Although a tennis professional is the one competing hard on the court, their coach, physiotherapist, masseur and manager all contribute to his ability to win tennis matches by deploying their different skills. You may not have any desire to compete as, say, a salesperson, but the skills you are comfortable using can benefit your colleagues in the sales department by making their job easier to do. If you’ve ever used your organizational skills to manage someone else’s diary, for instance, you’ve contributed to the optimization of their working environment. Continue reading “8 Ways to Compete When You’re Not Naturally Competitive” »