What do you think of, or what emotion stirs up when you think of the word competition? I asked this question to my MembHership community last week on our live coaching call. The basic reaction was a facial expression similar to a cringe - not surprising, considering we know that women shy away from competition based on the research in and out of the workplace. But the question is would men think the same way, and why? I think we know the answer is No. And ultimately, does competition serve us?!?! The answer is YES. We know that it helps drive us to stay consistent and reach our goals.
It’s interesting since I have been chatting with many women on this topic recently in gathering my data, women take the perspective to shy away from competition until they actually decide to meet themselves where they’re at and acknowledge that they want to be the best at whatever the task or matter is. After all, why can competition not be about you being the best version of and for yourself versus being competitive over another person or thing? It comes down to intrinsic motivation, knowing how you are hardwired and what drives you. This is why I love to facilitate workshops and assessments with my clients, so they truly understand themselves. For example, I always love a challenge and know that when someone holds me accountable, I always reach for more. This topic of competition is something we need to overcome to reduce the wage and title gap in the job force. This can also be done by guiding your children to be leaders and embrace challenges instead of shying away from them.
I often think about how sometimes our biggest competitors in life are ourselves. After all, we tend to be harsher on our own selves and actions rather than those who surround us. Simone Biles, a famous gymnast, and Olympian, once stated, “I always say my biggest competitor is myself because, whenever I step out there on the mat, I'm competing against myself to prove that I can do this and that I am very well trained, prepared for it.”
Today, I am explicitly addressing healthy competition. I firmly believe that competition can serve us by helping us manage our fears. It also allows us to move past those fears and face our obstacles head-on. I know that this can sound a little intimidating, because it is! However, I want to stress that we can improve our minds, bodies, and spirits through healthy competition with ourselves. To be honest, competition and courage go hand and hand, having the ability to address our fears and how we choose to move forward with courageous leadership.
Look at some of the most famous female athletes like Simone Biles mentioned above. I’m sure that many of them would say that when they’re training for an event, they’re looking to beat their last best score/output. It’s the same for us! We should want to improve our habits, skills, and, therefore, our lives based on our previous greatest accomplishments. I was raised in a family of athletes, and being an athlete was always something my parents instilled in me. It always allowed me to gain confidence in trying something new and take risks for the gain of improvement and learning. Of course, learning to work within a team and grow together was an amazing gift as well.
When one does well, we all do well. I love this concept, and it has spilled over into my work life later as I love to lead teams toward a collective goal. I’m not sure if you saw my Insta post from last week, but FUN FACT - did you know I used to have a women’s running group called WITI Run? Prior to children I used to run Marathons and ½ Marathons. Once I became a mother, I could not find friends or women to run with, so I hired a running coach in typical Michelle fashion and started a women’s running group. We set out on a path to run a ½ marathon over the course of 6 months. This wasn’t an easy feat.
As you can imagine, many of these women had never run before and were learning to listen to their bodies and challenge their minds. To reduce the chatter of the “can’t do it” and reframe using a growth mindset to “I can and will do it.” It was a beautiful growth process, unfolding and confidence toward crushing their goals. It was inspiring to see these women set their goals high, rise to the challenge and flow through each milestone to complete their goals. I loved seeing each of them run to the finish line with a smile. This is how we gain confidence and courage by trying something new and achieving our goals as we set up to commit and be consistent to get there! No one wakes up to their success without experiencing the journey. If they did, that is called a good dream!
Competition with ourselves goes hand-in-hand with holding ourselves to a high standard and enacting our values. I’m sure most of us try to keep ourselves to a high standard, whether in how we interact with our family/loved ones or how we conduct ourselves in the workplace.
Another key component of healthy competition that I want to touch on today is balance. Balance is so important in having a well-rounded lifestyle. We talk a lot about treating ourselves with a holistic mindset. We cannot be our best selves without taking the time to recover. Even the best athletes need rest days, and so do you! Think about ways that you can balance your time and energy. For example, if there’s an event coming up that is SUPER stressful for you, take time before the event (or after) to meditate. When we clear our minds of our stressors, it makes our bodies more elastic, meaning we can bounce back better than ever!
THE FOUR P'S THAT CAN DRIVE YOU TO SUCCEED
Passion - Passion is the starting point of becoming your best self. Think about what makes you the person that you are today. What aspects of yourself can you display to the world, showing the best version of yourself? Once you have your passions solidified, use them as another form of healthy competition for yourself. It’s okay to not know your passions, as this is one of the reasons why I began coaching – to help people understand who they are. You can also view my “What’s Your Why?” workshop to gain a deeper understanding of who YOU are.
Persistence - Perhaps one of the most important elements of being a well-rounded person is being persistent. This means taking the time to reach for your goals consistently. Going back to being an athlete, they have to train day after day to get to the positions that they’re in. Success doesn’t happen overnight. To be successful you have to be committed and surround yourself with a like-minded support system. The EmpowHer Purpose MembHership is a great way to start as it is a community full of goal driven individuals who are looking for persistence in their routine!
Patience - We spoke about balance earlier, but I wanted to reiterate the importance of finding your inner peace. The outside world can be filled with so much noise, and it can be difficult to discern between what is true and what is fake. When striving for success, don’t forget to take into account your mental health. Breathe, recharge, and get back out there!
Purpose- Know all things are possible if you choose to live your life on purpose and value YOU. Have a team of people or a community that surrounds you to get to your goals and meet you where you are at. A community that supports your goals is so important which is why I decided to create the MembHership – a community by women, for women, solely available to encourage one another to succeed in all areas of their lives.
Remember one thing, beautiful women of EmpowHer. YOU ARE POWERFUL. You were brought into this earth naturally creative, resourceful, and whole without flaw, poised for success. You have heard me say this before, be an active participant in your life. Step In, not out of your life. Embrace the inner competitor we all have and know she is. Don’t be afraid of her embrace the fear. When we experience fear, we know we are experiencing growth. Allow yourself grace in your pace. Life is not a sprint; it is truly a marathon, and with each mile, we learn something new about ourselves. There’s a cliche that people often say: “You’re your own worst enemy.” I think that we should flip this on its head to say, “You’re your greatest competitor.” How can you win and achieve over your past self? How can you make each day better than the day before?