I grew up in a family of four girls. I didn’t play team sports, but I’m extremely competitive. If there is a challenge on the table, a dare no one else will take, sign me up!
We spent a lot of time swimming. As kids do, we had competitions to see who could hold their breath the longest under water. I would do almost anything to be the last one up. I couldn’t quit until I knew I’d won. Sometimes that meant I came up out of the water blue in the face, almost dead. Sounds crazy, I know, but it’s true.
All our lives we’re taught that competition is good. And it is.
We work hard to win the game, get the highest grade, get the guy, the job, or the promotion. It’s good when we are competing to give our very best, to give life all we have.
But if we’re striving to be first, only to ensure that we are never second, we’re missing the point.
Our striving shouldn’t be for our position in line. It should be for reaching goals, achieving our own greatness, and inspiring greatness in others.
Life isn’t a solo competition, it’s a team sport.
Teams inspire greatness in each other. They push each other to do better, they encourage each other when the pressure is on. They never compete against each other for the win, they push each other to work harder, to do better.
They always remember they are on the same team.
Teams celebrate individual achievement, because when one team member is playing to their highest potential, it creates success for the entire team.
When I was little, my sisters and I played tickle-monster with my dad. He would lay in the living room floor pretending to be a growling, scary monster. In order to be safe, we’d have to run across to the couch (base) without getting caught and tickled. It wasn’t a team sport, most of the time. It was usually each girl for herself.
Sometimes we got smart and decided to collaborate.
We used a distraction strategy where one of us would dance close to danger, just beyond the reach of Dad’s fingers, so the others could run across to safety. Inevitably that person ended up getting caught and tickled to death. But it was always worth it because it meant Dad only got one of us, so we won!
We all won together.
Little kids aren’t caught up in comparing.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how women relate to each other. In general, women are instinctively relational. We are connectors.
That’s why I’m puzzled when I see women climbing over each other, even our wounded, to get where we think we want to go. Marsha Clark says, Relationships are both a woman’s currency and her weapon. She’s right.
When we are at our best, we’re supportive and encouraging. We would fight to the death for a sister we love.
At our worst we have a scarcity mindset. We push to the front of the line and tear each other down as we go by. We seem to buy into the lie that if we encourage and support each other, we’ll somehow lose out on something for ourselves.
We compete through comparison. We look to see if she is more successful, more beautiful, or happier. If she is, we fight her for it. It’s a losing battle.
We forget that we’re on the same team.
When competition is based in comparison instead of being our personal best, it sucks the life out of us. Just like me trying to hold my breath under the water, to make sure I won.
Compete with others, you get bitter. Compete with yourself, you get better. The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday.
If you can’t win, help the gal ahead of you beat the record.
Let’s compete to get better, to give more to others and to live our lives with more love.
Let’s support each other in this game called life.
And by all means sister, take a breath.
To More Love!