How do you not compete in a competitive sport?
It's a counter intuitive thought. Many people, even trainers and athletes, are firm believers that you need to think about your opponent and train harder than them. Be better than them. Fuel your fire with the thought of them winning out.
But for me, at the end of the day, that fire will die. It's easy to get caught up in the notion that everyone is our competition, especially as a female athlete. Women are already taught to see other women as a threat, add in literal competition in sports and you have a complex web of potentially inhibiting thought patterns.
I am easily intimidated by other women. I have a very fragile sense of self and when I think another woman is going to be better at me than something, I snap. And I'm very confident that I'm not the only female who has those thoughts. We could feel them about different things, but the notion of comparison and the need to prove yourself are still there.
Instead of seeing other female athletes as my competition, what if I saw only myself? Even when I step into the ring, I'm not trying to be better than the other person. I'm trying to be better than I've been before.
If I'm wrapped up in what my opponent is doing, I'm not thinking about my own game. My strategy. My strengths. The same can be applied in life.
If you're focused on someone else's growth or talent, how can you maximize yours?
When you only compete with yourself, you get better. When you only compete with others, you stall. You never reach your full potential because your potential is being limited by someone else.
Set measurable goals
This is a surefire way to truly become better than you've ever been. Set measurable goals and track your growth over a period of time. Don't leave improvement of any kind up to chance or someone else's timeline or numbers.
See other women as a source of inspiration, not a threat
It happens. You see a woman on IG or IRL and you feel that pang of comparison; she has something you feel that you lack. Let that inspire you, not threaten you. I used to (and occasionally still do) feel so intimidated by women that were better at certain sports or stronger than me. Now I try to gravitate towards them; I want to learn from them, be inspired by them and become better in my own way. Collaboration and inspiration take you further than comparison and intimidation.
Surround yourself with likeminded people
We all have to live a life that's true for us; if comparing yourself to others truly gets you the results you want, do that! But if it doesn't, try something new. And if this is an entirely new way of thinking for you, seek out individuals, whether online or in real life, that share those values. It will be much easier to change your mindset when you have a community of support.
Empowered women empower women; find what ways of thinking truly empower you and pursue them fully!
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