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Two short stories you’ll probably relate to:

#1  When I was in seventh grade I ran for class president.dreamstime_xs_20611827

Not only did I lose but I was decimated, completely wiped out, and humiliated beyond words. Why didn’t an adult advise me that it’s not wise to move to a new city and run for election six weeks into the very first term at your new school.

Ultimately, I decided I would never compete for anything again. Which means I opted out of all competitive situations unless I was guaranteed to win; which was exactly never.

#2  Several years ago I was invited to submit an application for a one-of-a kind, life-changing organization, Count Me In. Their M3 Awards (Make Mine a Million) provide all sorts of amazing support and resources for women-owned businesses committed to growing their revenues to the million dollar mark.

There were twenty of us competing for 15 slots and I was sure this was a slam-dunk.

It wasn’t.

That day I apparently forgot who I was, what I stood for, the purpose of my business and the goals I’d set for myself, my family and my business. I might mention that I even forgot how to speak; quite the feat for a professional speaker and trainer.

I was devastated even more than I was in seventh grade. Once again, I decided I would never compete for anything again.

Here’s where it gets very interesting….

I stayed true to those words until, very recently, I received an email from Amber Ludwig, web designer and online marketer extraordinaire, and a key player on Team Solomon. Amber is the brains behind The Authentic Business Success Summit in 2014, which features some of the best minds in online marketing and business strategy. Amber wants to feature one ‘People’s Choice’ speaker who is relatively unknown, and who would make a huge contribution to the Summit. She wanted to know if I had  considered putting myself in the nomination process.

Let me say that, n the name of transparency, when I first heard about this event, I had two distinct thoughts: 1. “I will never compete for anything again.” 2. GO FOR IT!!

What did I do? I moved my doubt aside, and enthusiastically set about asking my friends, colleagues and clients to nominate me to speak. Really. And I’ve had so much fun!

A week or two into the ‘competition’ I was chugging along racking up my nominations, well ahead of the other nominees when, lo and behold, EVERYTHING dramatically changed. And, intuitively, I had known  it would.

From out of nowhere another nominee flew ahead of me and left me in second place. It ‘ouched’ for a minute, and then a miracle happened.  I had the most blindingly brilliant insight; the most delicious kind of wisdom regarding

THE TRUTH about COMPETITION. There is none!

THERE IS NO COMPETITION, except for the perception we hold in our heads!! Yes, it’s time to rethink what we think about competition.

Here’s how I got there….. I allowed myself to forget about the so-called ‘competition’ for a moment, and to focus solely on myself in relation to myself;

  • my best and highest contribution
  • the difference I was born to make
  • my life purpose
  • my gifts and talents
  • my path and my passion.

The instant I moved from ego to… heart, from competition to… contribution, from my ‘winning’ to… wanting what would be the best and highest good for ALL concerned, I was able to see that none of us truly have any competitive advantage over another.

Indeed, each and every one of us has a unique and divine path in life. To the extent that we focus on that path, is the extent to which we make a big difference in the world and have a positive impact. To the extent that we focus on others- who they are, what they’re doing, what they’re not doing, etc. – is the extent to which we take the focus off OUR PURPOSE, and diminish and dis-empower ourselves.

A conscious life, a powerful life, an authentic life, a meaningful life is about us staying true to ourselves; it’s about maximizing our potential, and using everything we’re made of to live our purpose. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYONE ELSE.

This doesn’t mean that we should just ‘let things happen’. I’m not implying that we don’t exercise desire or effort. Quite the opposite.

This is an invitation for all of us to “be the best ‘me’ we can be.” The  only problem with being on ‘top’ means that there’s someone left on the ‘bottom.’ If they’re on the bottom because that will serve them, then that’s terrific. If, however, we deliberately put them on the bottom, then we need to rethink who we are.

When we focus on giving every situation the best of ourselves, then no one is truly in second or third place because we’re all exactly where we need to be.

Here are a few crucial questions to ask yourself about YOUR life every time you find yourself in a situation where you feel as though you’re in a competition with someone; a lover, a job, a business, money, relationship, etc. If you’re feeling ‘not as good as’, or ‘not enough’, or ‘left behind’ or _______ then you’re competing with other people, which means you’re not focused on making a contribution, you’re focused on ‘looking good.’

  1. Would it serve my best and highest good to _____________?
  2. Am I  seeking this ________________because I want to make a contribution, or because I merely want to win?
  3. Did I want to ________________or did I want to prevent someone else from doing the same thing?
  4. Did I want to ‘win’ this ______________or did I want to ‘not lose?’
  5. If I weren’t focusing on how the outcome of this situation would look to others, what would I do?

I’d love to hear from you! How do you feel about competition? What’s your take on this blog? Please leave your comments below and I promise to personally reply.

BTW–  I needed to get this blog out BEFORE the People’s Choice Speaker was chosen, so that you’d be assured my response was clean :). You can bet that next week’s newsletter, post-election, will include a blog about the results and the wisdom gleaned from the outcome.

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  1. Nancy, I love reading your blogs because you so authentically share your thoughts, ideas and experiences that are universal to all of us, as human beings. I love this topic because I too used to be competitive. I don’t know where it started but I do know it was in full bloom for the 20+ years I was in real estate. When I had a total change of my life’s direction, over 11 years ago, I realized that competition didn’t work in the world I was creating for myself. It became clear that it is a choice. It took some energy to choose differently and what I replaced competition with was collaboration. Today I got another “C” word I like even better: contribution. So now, thanks to you, I have replaced being competitive with collaboration AND contribution. WOW! Two for the price of one! Thank you, Nancy!

  2. Dyann- Thanks for you heartfelt comments! I’m very excited about the possibilities for our culture; the face of leadership is changing and more and more of us are ‘getting it’ about incorporating our heart and soul into everything we do. You and Wild are certainly two people who appear to have mastered this. Best and warmest! Nancy

  3. Hi Nancy

    Wow. I am the exact opposite. I have steered away from competition my whole life. I have told myself that in the world of ‘go big or go home’ I would much rather stay home. Small and inconspicious, under the radar. That’s me – And, if I really spend some time thinking about it (which I don’t like to do) the reason is probably the same. I don’t want to lose, so I won’t even try! But here is what I like about what you said. I can take the competition off the table and replace it with contribution and collaboration. Yes, I think I will try those on and see how they feel. Thanks so much Nancy – your blog is so thought provoking.

  4. Fran- Thanks so much for your comment! Do you know the expression, “You have nothing to lose”? That’s totally true when you stay true to yourself, your heart, your path, your mission and your best and highest contribution. The only time we “lose” is when we give up who we are so we can mimic someone else. With passion and purpose! Nancy

  5. Pingback: Six Things We Lose When We Win | Nancy D. Solomon

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