The engine rev’d and lurched the vehicle just a bit. The car next to me, a Cadillac Escalade, was polished and chromed with expensive wheels and tires. Its anxious driver could barely contain himself while waiting for the light to change. Apparently, it was very important to him that he be the first out of the gate, the first to cross the line at the intersection.
He raced down the busy street, weaving in and out of traffic, glassy-eyed and seemingly oblivious to all other cars. While he wanted to be first and must have been in a very big hurry, he arrived no more quickly than I, still having to wait at the next light, and the next. His eagerness only garnered dividends in pride. And while I have always admired a competitive nature, after all it is the basis for capitalism, I do not approve of this particular Escaladier’s lack of respect for other drivers or pedestrians that might get in the way of his silly quest: to be first to the next light.
His raucous music blared and yes, his ride was sweet, but what did it prove? That he had wealth? That he knew how to drive well? That he was a winner? That the guy with the biggest toys wins? What was really proven was more along the lines that he was bossy, unruly, selfish, and not so bright…, like I said, we arrived at the same destination at almost the same time. His behavior did not get him there any faster or esteem him in the eyes of those who witnessed said behavior.
What does a competitive nature say about the business you ? If you make wise choices, driving the closure of deals which create long-standing relationships, than it says you are smart. But if you base decisions on selfish needs or wants and then ignore the desires and requirements of those around you, your sense of competition has not improved your business acumen or endeared you to clients or associates. You have indeed separated yourself from the crowd, but from which crowd?
How do you measure your achievements in work? If you are competitive, if that is what drives better performance, then be prepared to measure “your performance”, not just beat those around you or your direct competition. If a victory does fall your way, study why you were victorious, not just simply that you were, that you beat everyone else. But most of all, make sure you understand what a victory would truly look like to you and those around you.
Simply arriving at the next stoplight first is not a prize – it isn’t even an honest day’s work.