Competition is not a bad thing. Its very existence proves that there is always room for bigger and better. So where is the conundrum when it comes to other women? I believe that when it comes to our success, the answer lies in who we are competing against.
I am certain we’ve all read the following quote somewhere:
I am in competition with no one. I have no desire to play the game of being better than anyone. I am simply trying to be better than the person I was yesterday.
That sounds all warm and fuzzy and awesome. As someone who is around diverse groups of women often – and from the multiple conversations I’ve had over the years- I know this is not the reality amongst us.
There is a tendency to compare and to look outside of ourselves for so many things. We measure and compare our success to that of other women who we feel are doing what they are doing -or are riding our coattails.
So I asked some of the women in my community to chime in: When it comes to your success, who are you competing against? These are their responses:
- “As a former executive in the Pharmaceutical industry, and just because I am a scientist, I have competed against men my entire professional life. I am accustomed to being the only woman, or perhaps one of two women, in the room. Perhaps this is why working hard comes naturally to me. I love a good challenge.” Laura Rokosz, Egglrock Nutrition
- “I compete against myself. I feel that, in order to move forward, I need to consciously step outside of my comfort zone. Without that drive, I get too comfortable and my business becomes stagnant. It is a constant challenge to move past my self-perceived limitations. I compete against who I was yesterday.” Judy Banks, Balance Your Life
- “I would have to say I compete with myself. I mean, there are days I struggle with the fear of doing activities that will further our business due to rejection, (I think). The positive side of me tells myself, ‘just do it!’ and then I will psyche myself to pick up the phone or reach out to a few people. I also sometimes feel a twinge of ‘why couldn’t that be us’ whenever we hear of others advancing and succeeding in our business. I remember that I am the one who said fear is Face Everything And Roar!” Christine Whitmore, 4 Paths To Wellness
- “I compete against the ticking clock. It always feels like I should be able to fit in just one more task but thw clock usually wins. Learning to be more honest with myself and my expectations had helped me at least make this battle more fair.” Dr. Julie Davelman
- ” I am my own competition. In order to stay relevant, I study what’s new and upcoming in my field and learn as much about it as possible. Then I look at the people I serve and cater to their specific needs. I measure their results and then tweak and modify and start again.” Cee Strickland, Cee and Learn
- “Myself. I get great ideas and then tell myself all the reasons why it won’t work. I need to remember that I really don’t know what I think I know.” Cassandra Maguire, Efrancé Beauty
- “Many years ago I read a book called The Ditchdigger’s Daughters about a family from Long Branch and there was one quote from their father that stuck with me, “Choose your rabbits and chase after them, see what others have done to be successful – my experience with chasing a rabbit.” Yvonne S. Thornton. I compete with myself but, I always look for the best rabbits to chase just as the greyhounds referred to by Mr. Thornton when they want to win the race they go after the best rabbit.” Lynn Osborne, Tyra Beauty
- “Time, other people’s agendas, saying no to commitments, self doubt, over commitment, exhaustion.” Tera Kinzel
- “Myself, my imposter syndrome, my not ‘keeping my eyes on my own paper’ and not worrying about what others in my field are doing.” Sabina Hitchen
So if our competition is truly ourselves, what’s the problem?
A recent study done by Psychology Today says that competitiveness, aggression and violence are often directed primarily at other males: on the battlefield, on the playing field, in the office, at the bar, or on the street. Charles Darwin long ago noticed the existence of intra-sexual competition between males; he also understood that the basic aim of all this male mayhem was to gain the attention and reproductive favor of females.
If that’s the case, why are we women trying to out-girl, out-mom, out-CEO each other out?
In my 9 years of hustling for myself, here’s what I know to be true:
- When one of us wins, we all do. Why? We subconsciously give other women permission and courage to pursue their own dreams.
- It’s almost always true that every woman we meet is fighting a battle we know nothing about.
- Admiring other women’s strengths and being there for each other in times of weakness actually helps us all come out as stronger individuals.
As Bad Feminist says,”I no longer want to believe that these problems are too complex for us to make sense of them.”
I personally no longer want to believe that we can’t truly work together, support each other and step up and out for each other. Sometimes all another woman needs to hear from another woman is, “Hey, you’re not alone.”
When we begin to believe the lies we tell ourselves about others, we will never thrive.
Want to shift your world and that of another women? Find 1 girl in your community today to simply reconnect with and ask how you can support her.
Doing something together creates momentum, it’s not as lonely, and it’s actually really fun!
Want to connect with some fabulous women?