Don’t be afraid to compete

As a child, I was pretty shy when it came to competition even though I played on sports teams my entire life.  My parents have always taught me to be polite and not be competitive.  It was almost as if they viewed competition as something bad.  After college, I finally realized competition is not bad and is actually healthy.  I realized I was letting others take what I wanted and this was not getting me anywhere.  One day I decided it was time for me to start taking what I wanted.  This realization came to me later in life while I was in my first real job.  I was getting paid significantly less than what I should have been getting paid for the job I was doing.  I quickly realized nobody was just going to give me my dream job with a matching salary.

I knew I needed to change my passive style to active and assertive to achieve my goals.  If you watch Shark Tank, you will know the names Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, and Barbara Corcoran.  These sharks did not end up getting to where they are by sitting back and letting people step on them.  It was obvious that I needed to become more assertive.

First, I started playing hockey again to truly get into the spirit of competition.  This time around I was more vocal and competitive on and off the ice.  I know health is important and will bring me more confidence in other parts of my life.

Second, I started educating myself further in areas I lacked expertise in.  Again, this helps me build confidence, so I can speak more intelligibly to others on certain topics.  Being a competitor in business, sports, school, or whatever requires you to be smart enough in that area.

Third, I started practicing being competitive in my career.  If there was an opportunity I wanted, I did not wait for anyone else to take it first.  I immediately started discussions with the right people to make sure I had a chance to obtain the opportunity.

I started this competitive journey over 8 years ago and continually pushed to improve myself since in the world of competition.  Nobody is just going to give you something for the sake of giving.  It is up to each one of us to get out there and get what we want.  It requires time, work, effort, and so on.  It won’t be easy, but if you want to achieve your goals you need to do it.

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