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The humanKIND Blog

Dumbed Down by Competition

You may be naturally competitive. Or perhaps you aren’t. Either way, ENVY did make it onto the list of the 7 deadly sins. Don’t worry, it’s also considered a “strength” – something to be leveraged! – by Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessment. Either way you view it, the likelihood that you’ve experienced feeling competitive at work – the place you spend the majority of your waking hours – is pretty high.

Learn how to leverage your feelings to help maximize your impact and become a high performer with three helpful tips.

Why bother? It’s proven that you’ll do better if and when your competition does better. And the reverse is true…when their performance worsens, yours may too!


Name your feelings

“Why him?”

“How did she land that account?”

“Of course they closed the account, they had a team of 20!”

Sound familiar? These feelings are natural and if ignored, can fester into something less positive. Naming your feelings is a step towards freedom from the emotion.

Are you jealous? Angry? Disappointed? Sit with each emotion until you find one that most resonates. Now, say out loud, “I am feeling __________.” It’s important that you don’t say “I’m _______.” YOU aren’t that emotion. You are feeling that emotion.


Assess needs that aren't being met

If you’re feeling competitive towards someone, there is most likely more to the story. It’s common to find that one or more of your basic needs aren’t being fully met. There are four areas of human need to look at:

  1. Trust: With the team is great, but it’s a must with your leader.

  2. Sense of self-worth: Are you proud of what you’re working on? Are you being recognized or rewarded as you would like?

  3. Feeling competent: Are you good at what you do? Is it aligned with your strengths? Are you stretched in a healthy way that keeps you challenged?

  4. Hope for the future: Do you have hope that you are growing? In the teams’ performance? In the organization’s success?

Any of those hit a nerve? Sit with them for awhile and see what comes up for you. Then use it to shift things.


Flip the script to collaboration

In order to move your sense of competition with someone to a partnership of collaboration, I suggest making a “Respect List.”

Write down all the actions, outcomes or behaviors that you respect about them. This list is all about earned respect – observable behaviors that you can see. Push yourself to write it all down, even if you can think of reasons to leave it off.

Revisit the list the following day and highlight the things on the list that make you feel the most respect for them. Hold those examples close to you and let them fuel your interactions with them.

Once you’ve shifted your attitude of respect towards them, now initiate connection with them:

  • Ask them to coffee

  • Propose that you work together on a project or a task

  • Ask for advice on a project

  • Compliment something from your “Respect List”

  • Ask a co-worker to hold you accountable for your efforts


Put it to work

You can start today! If you don’t, it’ll be harder to keep pushing. Keep me updated on your progress by emailing me or connecting with me on social media. I’m wishing you #peaceandprogress on your journey to collaboration!

Peace and Progress,



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