Monday, May 11, 2009

How much money are you losing by being TOO competitive?

I play intramural kickball on Sundays.

The name of our team is Balls of Steel.

The gi-normous aluminum balls are compliments of yours truly.

It’s totally cool. About fifteen of us show up each week - guys AND gals from all walks of life – anywhere between 22-40 years old.

We bring lounge chairs; dogs, radios, snacks, coolers, and we hang out in the park all afternoon and just PLAY.

Great way to spend a Sunday.

During most of our games, we usually end up laughing hysterically at each other. Mainly because we’re ADULTS attempting to play a childhood sport that, for some reason, we were a LOT better at twenty years ago.

Either way, it’s a blast, even though we’re not that good. I think our record last year was like, 5-9. We didn’t event make the playoffs. Oh well.

Anyway, I’ll never forget the first time we played the Blue Team, “The Ball Busters.”

These dudes were monsters.

Not only was their team ALL guys – which seems a little unfair, but whatever – but these macho, super athletic, side-of-beef jocks were unnecessarily competitive.

Like, that had actual PLAYS. Written out. And I’m pretty sure during the third inning; their captain held a team meeting to implement a defensive strategy for minimizing base-runner advancement.

Keep in mind, this is KICKBALL.

As you can imagine, playing a team like this wasn’t much fun. Not just because they beat us 21-4, but also because the unnecessary competitiveness tainted the purity of an otherwise enjoyable game.

And that got me thinking.

I started asking myself questions like:

1. I wonder what other activities are tainted by people’s overly competitive nature?
2. In business, I wonder what our desire to win is preventing us from learning?
3. Where in my own life am I unnecessarily competing with people?

A few answers came to mind:

First, with LISTENING: Ever seen two people who are clearly “competing” to see who can be the funniest, cleverest or smartest in the conversation?

Stee-rike one!

Second, with INDUSTRIES: Ever seen a company so focused on “beating the competition” that they forgot to make a great product and serve their customers?

Stee-rike two!

Third, with COLLEAGUES: Ever get frustrated at another person’s success, then try to “outdo” their accomplishment instead of just being happy for them?

Stee-rike three!

What about you? What would you do differently if you weren’t always trying to WIN? How would you treat people if you weren’t working so hard to BEAT them?

THE POINT IS: Competition has its place. And it’s definitely not on the kickball field.

Healthy competition is good for us. It brings out the best in (most) people.

The danger is when we allow our need for competition to blind us to what’s really important:

Drinking beer on Sunday afternoon in the park looking like a complete idiot.

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
How much money are you losing by being TOO competitive?

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For the list called, "25 Questions to Uncover Your BEST," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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