Posts tagged competition
As some of you know, I run. I am a fairly average recreational runner. I am a fairly average recreational runner who is strong in the Gallup StrengthsFinder strength of “Competition.”
From the Gallup Definition of Competition:
Competition is rooted in comparison. When you look at the world, you are instinctively aware of other people’s performance. Their performance is the ultimate yardstick. No matter how hard you tried, no matter how worthy your intentions, if you reached your goal but did not outperform your peers, the achievement feels hollow. Like all competitors, you need other people. You need to compare. If you can compare, you can compete, and if you can compete, you can win. And when you win, there is no feeling quite like it. You like measurement because it facilitates comparisons. You like other competitors because they invigorate you. You like contests because they must produce a winner. You particularly like contests where you know you have the inside track to be the winner. Although you are gracious to your fellow competitors and even stoic in defeat, you don’t compete for the fun of competing. You compete to win. Over time you will come to avoid contests where winning seems unlikely.
This definition has helped me understand how I think and what motivates me. I think this strength has mellowed out a bit over time, but it is still there. Back to my running story:
One day after work I went for a run around the campus of Bethel University and did one of my usual running routes. I headed out of campus and started down the road towards Lake Johanna and about a half mile in I notice a pack of female runners who were catching up with me. Something in my brain (Competition) kicked in and I started running faster. The ladies kept catching up to me to where I could see they were not far behind. In my brain it sounded something like this, “I don’t care what I have to do, they will not pass me.”
So, I speed up again and realize I am probably going to burn out at some point, but if I can just do a good half mile, I will have a water stop to stop at and let them pass me. So I keep going, and by now, the ladies realize that I am trying to keep ahead of them. At some other point I realize these are probably collegiate runners who are in tip top shape - that only fuels me even more.
I push and push and do another half mile and keep ahead of their pace. Stopping at the water stop I see them blow by me and I notice a face:
That would be Marie Borner, three time All-American runner, who used to run for Bethel University. Marie is someone who has won three national championships in the 1500 meters and is a legend in DIII track and field.
What did I learn from this?
1. The person running behind you may be an All-American
2. If the person running behind you is an All-American and you are high in Competition, you may run your fastest time in whatever distance you can keep ahead of them
3. Marie Borner is really fast
Competition fuels me to perform. If you say I cannot, I say, why not? Now that I understand this strength I can leverage it to help me stay motivated. I understand that contexts that I do best in have measurable outcomes. This is important information for me to know when looking at any opportunity.
Do you know what contexts help you perform at your best? Do you know what makes you tick? Do you understand how you are wired? I think if you have trouble answering these questions, you may have trouble finding a great spot to perform at a high level in life. For those of you who can answer these questions, I bet you are already in a good fit.