To a lot of people, the word competition is ugly and holds a negative connotation. When we think of the word competition, we often think of professional sports, athletes, Survivor the reality show, “others” on the dating scene, or the younger generation entering the workforce who may just beat us out for the next big promotion. But in reality, competition can be what empowers us to be more than just a survivor and the reason we flourish and succeed. We can amp up the level we achieve by embracing compassion within our actions during times of competition.
Compassion isn’t just for the strong, educated or well read; it’s for everyone. And our success can be easier when it’s not built on the shoulders of those we pass over, but rather on our supportive interactions with our competitors. By encouraging them to do more, be better, and go for the gold, we in turn become stronger. When you look toward wanting a more successful professional life, you normally envision yourself climbing the Corporate Ladder—which means you need to put up with certain elements in the work environment to get to the next rung. And as I’ve mentioned in past articles such as, “What’s Your Edge?”, there are many things you can do to ensure you have an edge. But we encounter competition in many different areas of our lives, and it’s important to understand that how you embrace your competitor in one sector will reinforce how you interact in another.
Being compassionate is important on a human level because how we treat others provides an opportunity to empower both sides to live better. But how does being compassionate with your competitors really support your success? Compassion turns your competitors into your advocates. Period. End of story. Good-bye. Si Nada.
When you have advocates supporting you along the way, you’re encouraged to take that leap of faith, move out of your comfort zone, and believe in yourself even more. We all need supporters, sponsors, and activists. When we’re compassionate with our competitors, they begin to view us differently and thus become part of our support network. Competition is good. We all need competition in our lives, but when we’re seeking to advance in our careers, we also need as many supporters and believers to keep us accountable and in action as possible.
Now obviously not all “competitors” will become advocates, but you still want to be compassionate with them during your interactions. The reason for this is if they “beat” you for that next promotion, gig or client, you want to set the example for others. Following and knowing how to lose gracefully is a skill not everyone possesses, and it gives you an edge later. You also need to consider that those who do win will become your promoter the next time there’s an opportunity for movement and advancement. They begin to refer to you as a “fair” individual and a team player, which results in serious bonus points for management and leadership when considering candidates.
When your reputation in business is a positive one, it can only positively impact your personal life. People talk, people share, and—well—people love a good story. When you’re compassionate in the work place (even as an entrepreneur), people get to know you as “one of the good people” and that carries weight with your peers. Your peers are who you potentially hang out with outside of work and who begin to refer to you as a friend instead of a work associate. As a friend, the level of trust people have with you improves, and you begin to see an increase in their respect. Is all this beginning to sound familiar? I hope so.
What happens in our personal lives impacts our professional lives and vice versa. Being a compassionate competitor empowers you not only to “survive” reality but to thrive. When we’re thriving, we’re easily able to stay in action and move quickly toward the goals we set for ourselves while leaving a positive impact on society. And yes, all this adds up to climbing the ladder of success and reaching our aspirations that much sooner.
The next time you view a person as a competitor in life— whether it be personal or professional— ask yourself how you can support that person to be successful without the expectation of return. Initially you will fight this approach, but eventually when you quiet your ego enough to let your heart lead, you will notice how more doors of opportunity begin appearing for you. It will be at this point, at this shift of perspective, that you are no longer “surviving reality” but “creatively thriving.”
Until next time, embrace your inner wisdom.