I’ll be deeply, vulnerably, horribly honest for a second: I don’t always want other people to succeed.
There, I said it! Isn’t that terrible? I’m competitive. SUPER competitive. So sometimes I get caught up in the comparison game. I look at other athletes’ success and think, “If they’re doing well, that means I’m NOT.” Or I think, “If I help that person, they’ll get better than me and then I’m going to fail.”
That’s the ugly, ugly truth. But the thing is, all of us think that way sometimes (validate me here, I’m hoping I’m not the only jerk in the room). Comparison is natural. Fear and insecurity are natural--we’re only human.
But we have a choice, whether to act on those thoughts or to change them. I had to get some help to change mine.
I got real with my friend/mentor/hero, Kesha, about this and she put it so perfectly: “Your opponent is not your competition. Even in a fight, YOU are your competition. And these people here are your teammates, we’re here to make each other better.”
Per usual, she’s always right. By letting my competitive nature get the best of me, I’m not only preventing my teammates from improving, I’m letting fear stifle my own growth and progress. We must seek out and learn from those that are better than us and bring others up with us in order to reach our full potential. As they say, iron sharpens iron. I don’t want to be afraid of someone else’s success. It doesn’t negate mine or make me less of an athlete.
In a seemingly solo sport, it’s hard to remember that sometimes. I just wanna be the best. But at what costs? And am I really willing to put myself in a position that could potentially make someone else better than me? Am I confident enough in my own abilities to invest in someone else’s growth the same way that I invest in mine?
I think back to the women that helped, and are still helping, me when I first joined. What kind of environment would that have been to ask them for guidance, only to be ignored? I may have looked for another gym, who knows. But I certainly wouldn’t have progressed at the rate that I have and have such strong relationships with fellow female athletes.
I say it all the time and try to emulate other women that live it out: “Empowered women empower women.” It is so, so, SO easy to forget that and to fall into the pit of comparison and let fear drive your behavior.
Part of my fight is letting go of my insecurity and desire to dominate in order to make other people better. I am not naturally altruistic; I am selfish. I want to be the best, always, at everything. But having a self-centric mindset will never make you better. I'm realizing that the only way to improve ourselves is by investing in others.
In order to become empowered, inspired, improved--we must empower, inspire, and improve those around us.
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