Since the turn of the year I’ve been going to the Gym most days. It’s a bit of a cliché but it has noticeably made me feel more energetic and affords time for reflection.
Anyway, this weekend my friends invited me to go on a trip up Snowdon. Having never really done anything like this before it was a good opportunity to get outdoors.
Armed with a new(ish) pair of boots and a new coat, off I went.
It was always going to be a gamble climbing a mountain in Wales in early March, and we did succumb to the conditions in the end. There was still snow at the peak, having passed a sign stating that Crampons and an Ice Axe were “essential”, we went as far as we could without the necessary Adventure Gadgetry, which according to the more prepared climbers coming back the other way was around another half an hour battling through the snow to the summit.
Though we didn’t make it to the top it was still a great challenge, and certainly pushed us. I’m hoping to come back and conquer it some time.
When have you pushed yourself, in work or otherwise? What targets have you set yourself?
There is a thin line between healthy and unhealthy competition. Competition can lead to self-improvement, which is great, but it can also be detrimental. Slow down, ask yourself a few questions:
Who are you competing against?
Competition in the Animal Kingdom is a natural instinct, see tongue in cheek Lion King example. Competition to be King helped no one in this instance. As humans we may feel pushed to tackle those ahead of us in whatever hierarchy situation we may find ourselves in, but we’ve also been blessed with the presence of mind to make a more informed decision about how this will impact those around us. In a team situation Collaboration normally trumps Competition.
What are you competing for and how?
It’s worth getting clear what it is you are competing for, this will be clear in a race where you have defined parameters and a clear understanding of the rules. The same is not true of the workplace where you may be competing (silently) against other people for a promotion. It’s easy for this situation to become unhealthy competition. An unhealthy way to approach this is to belittle others achievements in order to make your own more pronounced. Best case here is that you get the promotion, but your new “team” will know what you did to get there. Impressing through your own abilities, and respect for others is a more noble route to the same thing, there’s no real shortcuts here. It’s good to point out your own successes, but don’t try to tread on others, again, see Lion King.
Does anyone win in your Competition?
Competition can be a catalyst for self improvement, if you’ve picked the what and the how well.
Who can write the most lines of code in a sprint?
Imagine this competition, what are you really achieving? No one wins in a headbutt!
Motivation is really closely linked to Competition in many ways, but it can also be a bit of a minefield when it comes to competition within teams. Everyone has their own goals, but it’s great if these personal goals can align with the goals of the wider team. I’ve previously mentioned the idea of letting go. Losing the mental baggage that unhealthy competition carries will let you focus on bettering yourself. I’ve recently been doing this exercise myself.