Are you a good competitor?

In the last two weeks, many of us have watched, listened or read about both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Now for each of the chosen nominees for president, the real contest; the real competition begins. Then next week, more than 10.500 athletes from more than 200 nations will compete on the world stage in almost 30 different Olympic sports. So in a matter of three weeks, the opportunity to see competition at its best – and its worst – will have crossed our paths.

As I thought about these three major events, it made me really take a good look at competition – the good, the bad and the ugly. When it’s good, competition can take things to new levels, foster creativity and teamwork; it gives rise to innovation and pushes people past the comfort zone to achieve greater things. Pride When it’s bad, it’s divisive; creates hostility and anger; increases stress and deflates team spirit and morale. And when it really gets ugly – when it takes on that “win at all costs” and “whatever it takes” – it creates dissension, suspicion and lack of trust; negative energy, name calling, finger pointing; and it can lead to unethical practices and maybe worse.

Winning is great whether it’s in politics, sports, our businesses or daily life. But how you win, in my opinion, is even more important. Do you work hard? Do you overcome the obstacles put in your way? Do you follow the rules? Respect your competition? Are you honest? Do you focus on the good in yourself and your team? Or do you try to make your team look good by constantly berating your competition? Do you acknowledge the people who helped you get there? Or is it all about you?

As the 2016 Summer Olympics unfold and the Presidential Campaign moves forward – all on the international stage – we will see examples of every kind of competitive behavior just mentioned. It will all be memorable; some of it for the wrong reasons.

Think about it. What kind of competitor are you; in your business and in your personal life? What memories are you creating for your audiences? No matter what others may say, I believe it matters – big time.

To quote an Italian proverb, “After the game, the King and pawn go into the same box.”

Food for thought.

Posted by MJ Thomas

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